Competitive Replacement Campaigns: Enlisting Help From Vendors
As you know, one of the distinctive features of SMP is the ability to track competitive information. (See our related posts on gathering competitive information and competitive trigger events.) While you’re tracking that information, don’t forget about the value that your competitive information can provide to your vendors. Imagine the power of creating a targeted list of companies using competitive products. Your vendors are often too many steps away from a relationship with your customers or the actual end users of their products. But they would be more than happy to visit you on calls to help position their substitutes and complementary products.
Vendors typically don’t have the capabilities to create target lists. They have very little end-use information in their own systems. So when a change happens in the marketplace—one of the trigger events we discussed above—they have no way of getting the word out. You can work directly with your vendor to profile lists and get carefully crafted messages out to the right contacts.
In addition to customer visits and emails, your vendors are often sources for comarketing funds. Justifying a comarketing campaign with a vendor is a lot easier when you have detailed competitive profiles and specific plays you want to run. In return, you will endear your company to those vendors for future campaigns, cooperative volume targets and opportunities for new territories, expansions and product launches.
You probably want to start small by choosing a handful of your top vendors or vendors for which you’ve identified a recent trigger event or target list of replacement opportunities. Then simply invite your vendors to the table to share your plans. As the relationship develops, your vendor may reciprocate with additional target lists, incentive and promotions.