Your Unique Marketing Advantage: Part 2

Asking the right questions

By John Hall - November 15, 2018

Our last entry was about market intelligence, and where you can find it.

Now, we will look at some of the questions that you should be asking.

When you gather information, remember that you have a goal in mind, so the information that you acquire should serve to help you with that goal. In this case, your goal is to identify strategies that will set you apart within your market. So, there are two basic questions you need to ask:

1- What is your market?
2- What is currently being offered to your market?

This is the information you need before you can ask the most important question, which is: What can you offer that will give you an advantage in your market?

Here is the thing: You sort of need to avoid asking that question at this stage. You need to tailor your questions to learning about possible differentiators, but you need to do so without specific differentiators in mind.

Let’s simplify that:

As much as possible, you want to be neutral with your solutions, so that you don’t just automatically turn what you find into support for your idea.

Whoa! What??!! Let’s simplify that one more time:

Don’t put the cart before the horse!

Is that simple enough?

Your goal is to gather data, but you don't want to attach too much meaning to that data. Not yet. 

Let’s take a look at some of the information you should be trying to acquire:

-Are there newer communities than yours?
-What are their amenities?
-What are their rents?
-What are they advertising?
-Where are they advertising?
-What is the quality of their advertising? (Web design, photography, etc.)
-What is their social media presence?
-Which ones are you competing directly against? (Similar rent land amenity offerings. Hint: your applicants will typically also look at your most direct competitors. Non-direct competitors will compete at much different reant levels than yours.)

-What are they looking for?
-Do they have pets?
-Where do they work?
-How do they get there?
-Do they have cars?

-Where are people eating? Going out? Hanging out?
-Are there attractions (such as parks and pedestrian areas) near you?
-What are your neighborhood demographics? (Pro tip: In most cities, there are neighborhood organizations. Not only are these a good source of data, but they can also be an ally to you if you show a willingness to help out.)
-Are there changes on the horizon? (Employers moving in? Attractions being built?)

That’s a lot, and this list is just to get you started. The good thing is that this information is always available to you. You just need to be in the habit of seeking it out.

In other words, interactions with any applicant should be approached as an opportunity for you to collect information. Your interactions with your own neighborhood should include observation as to what is going on out there. Looking at what your competitors are doing should be a regular part of your routine. If you approach your days that way, you will soon have a plethora of useful information at your disposal.

And then, you will be able to start using that information!

Next, we will look at how to apply information to create your own unique marketing advantage! 

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