Hallmarks of a Successful Switch Campaign
The best of these switch campaigns and even the not-quite-as-good ones manage to garner a fair amount of press. After all, we Americans are entertained by the aggressiveness and even under-handedness of it. Press coverage might be a good thing on its own, but how do these campaigns really drive sales?
If you're thinking about initiating a switch campaign against one of your competitors, you need to start with a situation analysis. This analysis could be organized along the lines of the “three C’s” of marketing:
- Competitor: Why do you think your competitor is vulnerable at this time? What about them makes you think that their customers will listen to you?
- Customer: By their very nature, switch campaigns usually take on a very aggressive tone. Is this the image that you want to project? Are your buyers and influencers the kind of people who are comfortable with aggressive tactics? And what would your customers perceive as the barriers to switching?
- Company: How strong is your overall competitive situation? If you go too far on the offensive, could you yourself be vulnerable to attack?
This analysis should lead you to a go/no go decision: does a switch campaign make sense in this situation? Also, it should help you to define your real goals for the campaign. Do you really want to win deals from your competitor’s installed base? Undermine their ability to compete in new business opportunities? Or is more PR all you’re really after?
If your ultimate goal is to capture part of your competitors installed base, you need a very compelling value proposition for switching. Do the benefits of your solution really exceed the costs of switching? Think total costs, including infrastructure, services, end user training and more. Can you identify a specific segment of your competitor’s customers who have a higher benefit-cost ratio than others? How does the picture change over time?
In addition, you need to document the full value proposition, with tools and information such as:
- References and/or case studies from customers who've made the switch
- ROI calculators
- Targeted information about product features that address major shortcomings in your competitor's products
- As much comparative product data/ feature mappings as you can produce
- If possible, packaged and/ or fixed-price services offerings that make the switch as inexpensive and predictable as possible
- Usually, special pricing incentives to tip the benefit-cost balance in your favor
How do you communicate your offer? The goals that you define up-front will determine the balance you set between mass communication and targeted telesales. In either case, your plan should include your assessment of your competitor’s best options for counterattack and how to respond.
So I’ll come back to the question I asked at the beginning of the piece: Do switch campaigns really drive sales? My best guess is that not many do – but I believe that the most effective switch campaigns are the ones that are executed silently.
Posted on Tue, September 29, 2009
by Linda Sonne