In a saturated industry (like the wedding industry), are you struggling to separate yourself from the competition? Are you getting lost in the sea of sameness? If so, you’re in the right place because in this article, I’m going to share exactly what you need to do to build a wedding business brand that doesn’t compete on price. In other words, we are going to uncover your secret sauce (what makes you different) or, in big business terms, your competitive advantage.
Competing on Price or Service
Most businesses compete on two things: price and service.
Let's dive into price first, because it's the most common starting point. When a new business steps into the marketplace, all too often they will carefully analyze their competitors' pricing and set their own prices just a little lower. Why? They're eager to attract and gain as many customers as possible!
But that doesn’t mean it’s the best (or only) business strategy. Instead, some businesses choose to compete on service. They don't just focus on price. Instead, they go above and beyond by offering extra products and services to their customers. They want to stand out from the crowd, and they're ready to do whatever it takes, which means offering more VALUE to their ideal customers.
Maybe you are thinking: OK Candice, obviously the answer is to focus on service, right? WRONG.
When you attempt to compete based on the number of services you offer (or include), you often end up doing more and making less. While some businesses believe the more they offer, the more “valuable” their product or service is, that’s not always the case. In fact, I say that the more you offer, the more you confuse people and the less customers will be willing to buy.
The Cycle Most Businesses Find Themselves In
This is the cycle that most businesses go through. A new business enters the market, offering lower prices (or more services) and causing competitors to lower their prices as well. This ultimately ends up creating confusion for customers and reduces everyone's profit margin. Then, once the dust has settled, another new business enters the market, offering more attractive prices and further devaluing the market. This process repeats over and over again.
And listen, this isn’t just theory. I have witnessed this firsthand in my marketplaces in Connecticut and Barbados, where businesses have had to continually lower their prices to stay competitive. Unfortunately, this means working for less and constantly stretching ourselves to provide more services. Does that sound attractive to you? NO!
How Do We Build a Wedding Business Brand That Doesn’t Compete?
So how do we design a business that doesn't compete on pricing and services? It's by understanding your competitive advantage. What sets you apart, what makes you unique, what makes you the obvious and compelling choice for your ideal clients? That's your competitive advantage. It's what makes you the must-have choice for your ideal clients. And here's a spoiler: it's not your pricing or services.
Finding Your Competitive Advantage for Your Wedding Business Brand
When building your wedding business brand, it's important to find your competitive advantage. But I know that it can be harder than it sounds. Here are 7 prompts to help you get started thinking about what makes YOU different.
- What sticks out to you about your M.V.P. (that’s your mission, vision, and PURPOSE) that is different from your competitors?
- What unique services/products do you offer that your competition does not?
- What’s different about your creative approach, or the creative work you do? What’s your signature process?
- How does your company get your ideal clients results quicker, better, and/or faster?
- Describe the quality of the work you do and the reputation you’ve built–how is it different?
- What’s different about your company culture and values?
- As the owner of this business, you bring a unique perspective and worldview. What is it about YOU that separates this business from the competition?
Let’s talk about that last one for a second longer: you alone isn't enough of a competitive advantage in the wedding industry today. Yes, you are special, you are smart, you have a unique worldview, etc and you’ve probably heard over and over again about how people want to buy from you, and while that’s true, it can’t be the ONLY competitive advantage your business has.
Your Competitive Advantage Should Be About Your Customer
Businesses today revolve around their customer, shifting away from the traditional focus on the business itself. Your competitive advantage should primarily stem from understanding your customer's needs and delivering the desired results. Additionally, the uniqueness or scarcity of the products you offer, coupled with your creative approach and signature customer experience, all contribute to your competitive edge. But it really is important to remember that while you play a special role in your business's competitive advantage, there are other factors that set your business apart from the competition (and those should be of benefit to your customers!).
Outlining Your Competitive Advantage
Hopefully, the competitive advantage that is going to help you build a wedding business brand that doesn’t compete on price is becoming clear to you now! In case you need a little more guidance, I have one more step to walk you through to make sure you’ve gone deep enough (trust me – the effort you are putting in now is going to make a world of difference in the future).
Do some market research
You may have heard the advice to “stop obsessing over what your competition is up to,” but let's dig deeper into this idea. While it's important to avoid blindly copying our competitors (because like I’ve said over and over again in this post, this will make you end up competing on price), it can be quite beneficial to intentionally explore what they're offering and discover ways to set ourselves apart. By examining their strategies, we can gain invaluable insights that will shape our own unique approach. So go ahead, take a sneak peek, and let it ignite your inspiration rather than fuel imitation.
Putting It All Together as Your Secret Sauce
Now that you've done the research and have a better idea of what makes your wedding business stand out from the competition, it's time to put all the pieces together and create what will be your very own secret sauce. This means taking all the components that make your wedding business unique: its values, mission, vision, competitive advantage, client focus, and services–and combining them into something greater than the sum of its parts.
This is such an important step in getting ready to market your business in a way that will nurture both existing customers as well as attract potential new clients. It's about showing people what makes you so special and why they should consider choosing you over anyone else. The goal here is to express yourself authentically and honestly while staying focused on how you can help solve real problems for real people. The wedding industry is saturated, but there is still SO MUCH ROOM for you to stand out.
Final Words About Your Secret Sauce Behind Building a Wedding Business Brand That Doesn’t Compete
Your secret sauce shouldn't be stagnant either; it should be constantly evolving as you grow and gain experience. As technology advances or customer expectations change, update your secret sauce accordingly to keep up with those changes. As your business becomes more established, maybe your reputation will play a bigger role in attracting your ideal customers than it did when you were new. Coming back to this exercise every year will ensure that your wedding business stands out from the crowd and remains relevant in a competitive market. You’ve got this!
Ready to Elevate Your Wedding Planning Business?
We would love to welcome you inside The Planners' Playbook, the membership for wedding planners who want to elevate the wedding industry and feel confident AF in their wedding planning business. From masterclasses and workshops to a deep-dive playbook being released every month, The Planner’s Playbook has everything you need to streamline your processes and save time. Plus – you’ll even get a discount on the CC shop!
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