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Challenger Series: Work Your Advantages

Published: June 7, 2018

Author: Madeline Fitzgerald

During this 3Q Accelerate Week, we’re sharing our top tips and best practices for Challenger companies: the new competitor on the scene going up against competitors who are already established (and may have greater resources).

To close the series, we’re diving into some of the advantages that challenger brands have over their competitors – and how to use them to be more effective marketers.
We’ve focused most of this week on tips and tricks for overcoming the disadvantages of being a Challenger who goes up against major players. However, let’s not forget that there are benefits that come with being the underdog as well!
Here are a few examples:

    1. You’re nimble. Being a Challenger means that you are living that scrappy startup mentality. While major companies (especially older ones) need to work through a lot of red tape just get things done, you can move quickly and keep things flexible. Is there a major trending topic that cropped up in your space? Churn out new copy and creative to show your audiences you’re on it. Seeing a recent shift in user behavior? Quickly re-allocate budget to different channels or audiences to follow the data trend. Keep your ear to the ground and take advantage of the fact that you’re able to pivot on a moment’s notice.
    2. You can get playful. As a newer entrant on the scene, you may not have a lot of name recognition yet, but that means that you aren’t held to a historical standard. As a Challenger, you’re more free to play around with the tone of your creative, your branding, your website experience – without worrying about confusing users or muddying your brand. So go ahead, test everything: try out those new brand colors or that tongue-in-cheek copy; change up your landing pages and conversion funnel experience. It’s all new to your audiences anyway, so take this time to gather as much data as you can and build a data-proven foundation.
    3. You can fly under the radar. When you enter a vertical for the first time or are the first person to bring a certain idea to market, it may feel like an uphill battle — but there’s an upside: no one else will encroach on you directly. Smaller companies are less likely to have to deal with copycats (in the product or branding), resellers, etc., trying to cannibalize their traffic. We’ve all seen the hundreds of copycats for those trendy water bottles, right? As a Challenger company, that’s one worry you can check off of the list (for now).
    4. You’re coming in with fresh eyes. Unlike the established giants, you aren’t approaching the market and your product/service from a standpoint of “this is how we’ve always done it.” You’re able to view things more objectively, bring a fresh perspective to the space, and fill in the gaps that the legacy companies have not identified or bothered to fix. Relish this outsider approach, as it gives you an opportunity to think like your customer, figuring out what they’d notice or need when shopping in this space for the first time (or the hundredth).

Thanks for reading! We’re always happy to chat in detail if you have questions on these topics. And feel free to drop a comment if you’ve got anything to add.

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