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Photo Credit: Andrea Vascellari

Small Business Marketing:  Pay attention to your competitors and stand out from the crowd!

Have you seen the most recent  Office Depot commercials on TV? You know, the one with the $6.00 chain hair salon opening up shop across the street from a local hair barber shop?

What I like about it is that rather than trying to compete with the price of $6.00, this very smart salon owner focused his marketing on what his competitors didn’t —by making a sign up in very big letters—WE FIX $6.00 HAIRCUTS.

By focusing on his own strengths and marketing that, he not only survived the competition but thrived.  The competitor, a large chain location, closed, and left the barber still in business.

Here are some examples of using this same practice to market your business:

  • You are a Virtual Administrative Assistant and are forced to compete with overseas companies from India and the Philippines with rates that are ¼ of yours.  Rather than lower your rate, you focus on your special skills that most of your competitors don’t have and market that skill.
  • You own a printing company and your competitors are mostly internet-based cut-rate printers.  Rather than lower your rates, you market your personalized and error free service.
  • You own a landscaping company and have to compete with numerous other companies who have cut their rates to something you cannot profit from.  Rather than try to have the lowest rate, offer the better service.  Think about what services you could add to your customer’s experiences to make it more valuable than a cut rate service, such as performing a written walk-through evaluation of their current landscaping with tips on how to maintain or improve what they already have.
  • You own a painting company and have to compete with chains that are offering $99/room paint jobs.  You send a postcard out saying, “We fix $99 paint jobs.”

So, focus on your strengths and the positive experiences that you can offer your customers and you will always have the last laugh with your competitors.

Your customers will always remember bad service longer than outstanding service, unfortunately, so pay attention to your competition and you will stand out from the crowd!

Wendy Kenney is the Founder of 23 Kazoos, a business marketing company located in Phoenix, Arizona, that helps business owners build the buzz for their  business through organic (word of mouth) marketing. As an entrepreneur for over 17 years, she has become an expert in small business marketing.

Wendy is the author of the book “Buzz:  Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed,” and has won numerous awards including the “Entrepreneurial Mother of the Year.” Wendy has also been a featured contributor to East Valley Women Magazine, and Doctor of Dentistry Magazine.

She frequently speaks at workshops and conferences about business marketing and social media.  For more information go to or you may email Wendy at