The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten on Smash Notes

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten podcast.

December 31, 2019

Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life. The show hosts, Steli Efti and Hiten Shah, are both serial entrepreneurs who have founded multi-million dollar SaaS startups. Being busy CEOs of fast-growing companies, they know the value of your time and make sure you get the most out of each 22 minute episode. Tune in for new episodes every Tuesday and Friday.



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In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten discuss some tips and tricks for competitive marketing you can use right away. In today’s market, no product is unique—therefore, it’s important to highlight how your product is superior and different from the rest. Knowing which alternative products are being used by your client can also help you specify the ways in which you compete. Tune-in to discover if you should consider setting up an “us versus them” page and why being on review sites helps you influence those potential prospects.

Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:04 – Today’s Startup Chat is about doing marketing against your competition

00:50 – A SEO-optimized landing page with a spreadsheet or matrix that shows your tool’s strengths and/or adopting counter PR strategies are some examples of competitive marketing

02:00 – Since there are no unique products in this intensely competitive market, it is imperative to explain to the customer why your product is better

02:23 – Any alternative to your product is competition; so, a SAAS tool can have competing products such as a spreadsheet or business intelligence product

03:08 – A spreadsheet is a generic tool that is competing with many different products


03:38 – Providing a FREE downloadable spreadsheet template enables companies to market products like accounting software

04:33 – The objective of a CRM is to have organized customer data, something that is still being done with spreadsheets on a basic level


05:20 – Understand which alternative products your client was using to determine your product’s DIFFERENTIATION and VALUE PROPOSITION


06:18 – Not uncommon to have a bigger SAAS company as your competitor

06:38 – Not unheard of to mention your competitors in your marketing material, especially if you know your customer loves you for a specific reason

07:30 – Knowing early on in the sales process which product your customer is using right now gives you a framework of what they are used to

08:02 – Knowing your client’s current preference will affect how you speak to them, the copy you use and the features that you suggest

08:11 – Common practice to customize chats depending on search terms; companies like Intercom, Drift and Zendesk customize their chat and landing pages to people looking for a product comparison

09:00 – Using customer ratings from a third party site is a powerful tool to convince prospects; Hubspot uses this strategy to convince visitors that they are better than Marketo


10:34 – Drive people to your site either through SEO strategies or paid ads

11:28 – Market your solution on social media; target fans of your product on Facebook, or look for product mentions on Twitter to zero in on your target audience

12:05 – Being over aggressive in a competitive market might upset your prospects


13:05 – If your competitor is bad mouthing your product, you can consider retorting back; however, it is better to take the high ground


14:54 – Study and determine your market before setting up an “us versus them” page


14:54 – If there are not a lot of versus pages AND your customer is using them, an “us versus them” page will be advantageous to you

15:07 – If you are in a market with a lot of alternatives but no competition, highlight your strategy around the alternatives and how your product is better

16:02 – Do it if the market is newer and there are not a lot of competitors out there


16:30 – Steli lays out two contrasting experiences where he used competitive marketing


16:35 – Ran a SUCCESSFUL campaign when a competitor decided to close shop in North America; contacted the client of the competitor on social media, sympathized with them, and a lot of them switched to Steli’s product

17:36 – Was UNSUCCESSFUL in having people switch over when a competitor was facing an uncertain ...

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