Modern Monopolies: What It Takes to Dominate Business in the 21st Century

12 ways to out-think, out-maneuver and out-sell your competition in any economic climate

Welcome fellow entrepreneur, my promise to you is that by the end of this article, you will think more strategically about your business and have actionable strategies you can use to profit.

In this article I’m going to show you eleven simple yet extremely effective ways to substantially improve your marketing strategy to produce impressive results in any economy.

We will also cover three case studies so you can put it into context, ready? Lets go!

Most companies are fairly adept at developing marketing tactics but they’re not as skilled at creating effective marketing strategies. This producesunpredictable and less than optimal results. Remember even an average marketing strategy carried out properly will always outperform the best tactic driven strategy.

So what is a marketing strategy? To be clear, a marketing strategy is not your business strategy. Business strategy is analytical, it’s logical and it’s linear and it has to be. But marketing strategy is a combination of emotional and logical elements. It’s creative rather than analytical and it’s the result of coupling analysis and innovation together, rather than just analysis alone. Marketing strategy is the overriding game plan that gives your business a substantial advantage over all your competition. It is the big picture.

Case Study: McDonalds, Create your Taste

To put things into context, let’s launch with an example to demonstrate my case. If you walk into a McDonalds you will see they have their “Create your taste” menu (est 2014). You can now come in and order your meal anyway you wanted rather than a predefined selection. This is a brilliant tactic to out think, outmaneuver and outsell their competitors.

Their marketing strategy with this campaign however was much bigger and verysignificant. You see McDonald’s is about owning the best real-estate in any location, they open up store’s near their successful competitor’s and then offer their clientele a superior offering (choice and convenience). Taking up market share from established businesses.

Now with a good foundational understanding of a marketing strategy, let’s proceed to the main points.

1. It all begins with Research:

Research is critically important if you want to have a superior marketing strategy because in order to craft a breakthrough marketing strategy you have to combine elements of your business vision, a deep understanding of customer needs, a command of the opportunities available in your industry, and an in-depth knowledge of what your competition is doing. The only way to capture all this vital information is to devote the necessary time to conducting through research.

We acquire this information by talking to your clients, experts in your industry, trade journals from your industry, reading articles that show forward thinking, calling up the people who wrote those articles and interviewing them and finding out, really digging beneath the surface to find out everything that’s going on in your industry from a client point of view, a product point of view and a competitor’s standpoint.

This includes going out to competitors’ businesses, their websites, digesting their information – particularly if they are public corporations and they have their annual report and have different public disclosures, you can learn a tremendous amount. The reason you need all this information, is that good research is the difference between average marketing strategy that under-performs and an optimal marketing strategy that delivers tremendous dividends. You will see that throughout the rest of this article.

Example Jewelry Store: Customer driven strategy ‘For Men Only’

We have a client that goes back a number of years, who owned a retail store. By doing some very simple research, which consisted of going through and studying all his sales data, we wanted to identify who his major customers were and get a clear profile of that. We discovered that 80% of his buyers were women (he thought it was 50/50). So from a marketing standpoint, he had two options. He could market more to women or he could get more market share of men who he was not getting. He decided to concentrate on the untapped market of men.

So we setup a strategy in order to attract more male clients.We had him whiteout an entire window panel in the front of the store. Then left a clear round hole about 45cm so they could look through the glass and above the hole it had the letters ‘For Men Only’. This would peak the curiosity of the men that walked by and what they would look through and see a special offer – it was a bracelet or ring or something general that was being sold at a deep discount. This campaign brought men into the store in drove’s and our client increased profits by 450%.

The backend sale’s increased because we would ask the men to register their wife’s and other immediate family member’s birthday’s and then close to the date’s they would get a mail out, email or phone call to offer them a special for that person’s birthday. A good percentage would take up the offer.

2. Consumer Products: Avoid price wars and get more market share

Pricing wars are a slippery slope to the bottom, avoid them at all costs. The key to avoiding price cutting and avoiding getting in price wars is to understand that consumers make purchasing decisions emotionally and then they use logic to justify their buying decision.

So what you need to do is present your product in a way that is connected with your customer’s emotional needs. This allows you to avoid discounting and earn customer loyalty, and often that loyalty will extend for a lifetime if nurtured.

Example: Dentist = DrNo Pain
A dentist discovered that people would postpone their appointments or avoid going to the dentist over two main reasons. Firstlyout of fear of a cavity being found or secondly, simply that they would experience pain during a basic teeth cleaning procedure. So she used that data and crated a campaign called “Dr No Pain”. Her ad explained that her process is gentle, it’s painless and she can do anything from simple procedure’s with a mild anesthetic to full sedative, or full anesthetic if necessary. The point being she guaranteed no pain and she grew her business very rapidly. She found the emotional need, offered a higher priced alternative and had very happy clients that referred her to their friends.

Remember, only 10% of people buy on price, the others buy on a combination of value, feature’s, service and then price.

3. Business to Business: How selling value will allow you to outperform your competition every time.

When a business buys a product or service they have a different need than a general consumer. It may be slightly emotional as well, but businesses are there for one purpose (even non-profits), and that is to make money. If they do not make money, they close down.

First and foremost, businesses buy because they want to save money. So in order to sell more of a business-to-business product or service, you essentially have to do what I call “selling money at a discount”. And what I mean by that is, you want to show business clients the value they get rather than just the price because that’s the most effective way to increase your sales.

If your competition sells widgets for $100 each and your widgets cost $120 each but they last twice as long, you need to build a case that shows that your widgets are actually better overall value. The business client is going to end up saving more money. Or for example your widgets will result in fewer breakdowns of equipment, you have to demonstrate how buying from you is going to save them more money in the long run with fewer repairs and less investment in new equipment. By focusing on the value and not just the price alone, you can sell a lot more in the business-to-business arena.

The formula for selling B2B

There are three steps to it. The first step is to say, “Here’s how much you will gain or save,” but the critical element is that the way you arrive at how much they will gain or save is by having the client quantify it for themselves a (not you). You have the client identify the problem they want to solve or the goal they want to reach. Then you ask them to put a dollar value on what the problem is costing and what reaching the goal will earn.

In step two, you will tell them how much it’s going to cost them to solve the problem. The formula I prefer is that your fee should never be more than 20% of what the client will gain or save. The third step is to say to the B2B client, “It’s essentially going to cost you twenty cents on the dollar to solve this problem, is this something you want to do?”

Now, when the client has quantified the gain or the savings themselves and they see that to achieve it will only cost them twenty percent of what that gain or savings is, it makes it very simple to close more sales.

4. Pricing Strategies: Split testing creates massive windfall profits

Pricing is a really intriguing subject. One of the things that always surprises me is how few companies ever test their prices. Most companies set their prices just by guesstimating or following the industry trend. Or they look at their competitors’ prices and try to set their own a little lower or higher. But they seldom do any testing or come up with any scientific reason for setting their prices.

I strongly encourage you to test your prices because you may find price points higher or lower than your current price that produces a lot more profits for you. Here’s an excellent example of what I mean.

Example: Case study 1: Increasing Training cost by 50%

I had a client who was selling a highly valued training program for financial planners, and it was extremelyunderpriced. They were selling it for $197 and it was rated as one of the best products on the market and it was being sold at a substantially lower price than anything else available.

So I suggested tothe client that they increase the price of their training course by one hundred dollars to $297. But they cringed, they were afraid that in doing that they would alienate all their new clients and they would have no sales.

Then I recommended that they test the new price with just ten clients and that they conduct a “split test”. They try to sell the same product to five of the new customers at the old price of $197 and to the other five the new price of $297. That way, they didn’t have to commit to a long- term price increase and it could relieve their fears.

They agreed to do this test and implemented it right away. The result was that all five customers who were offered the program at the higher price purchased it. So the client immediately increased the price of the product permanently to $297 and they suffered no ill effects. They realized an immediate and sustainable increase in profits of 50% and it literally took five minutes to make the change.

The other thing to consider, though, is that the flip side of this can be true as well. Sometimes a lower price will bring in substantially more sales and as long as the lower price still has solid profit margin in it, it can make a great difference in your bottom line profits. What you really have to understand is that you never know for certain what optimal price will be for your product or service until you price test.

5. Predicting your competition’s next move

How would you like to know what your competition is going to do before they do it? Do you think that would give you a competitive edge? I guarantee it would and it’s really much simpler than you might think. So here’s my formula for predicting what your competitors will do before they do it.

Predicting the Future: There are three simple steps.

First, you want to list all your competitor’s strengths. You want to make a complete list. Again, this goes back to research, you need to know what all their strengths are.

Second you want to list all the factors that could create changes or opportunities in your industry in the next twelve months. Again, this points back to the critical nature of good research (point 1).

The third step is to ask yourself this question, “Based on information we’ve gathered in the 1st two steps, what could our competition do before we did it that send chills down our spines or would stop the business in its tracks?”. Think Uber for taxi’s, AirBnB for hotel’s, etc.

Once you have answered that question, you have the foundation for anticipating your competition and gaining additional market share that you wouldn’t have seen without it. You will also identify things that your competitors would never think to do and you can use those to stop them in their tracks.

So it’s a really simple process and it works extremely well.

6. Product “revamping”

Restructuring, repacking and repositioning your products can often lead to substantial increases in profits. One of my clients, using my assistance, did this extremely well.

Case study: How a simple shift in strategic focus increased one company’s sales by 930%

Her company specializes in sales training for insurance agents. She’s very well known in the industry, and is considered one of the top trainers in the industry.

Her company offered a great program that was priced at $699 for a three-day seminar. But if you are familiar with the cost of presenting and promoting seminars, there’s not a lot of profit in $699/head. Oh, and included in their package, which also consumed the profits was a year of follow-up with a personal sales counselor to help each attendee master the process thought. They also received regular physical scheduled support materials that were sent out to them.

At this price of $699, the product was selling extremely well – the three-day seminar – but it was only marginally profitable. So my client made a decision to increase the price substantially. She decided to raise the price from $699 to $6,500.

With this kind of challenge, there were a number of things she had to do. At the same time, she didn’t want to change the product itself. There were a number of things that had to be done to pull off this kind of price change and I was brought in to help develop the strategy to achieve the transition.

The first thing I did was rename the program because you can’t sell the same product and increase the price from $699-$6,500. The perception would be that this is ridiculous; why should I pay that?

So first we changed the name and then we restructured the product to be a yearlong comprehensive program that was kicked off by a three-day immersion training. Do you see what we did there? We revamped the product to focus on the value of the year long program, not on the value of the three-day seminar.

The results of the simple flip were that the client sold out every available seat at this increased price. That produced a very impressive increase in revenue of 930% and they continued to sell out every event. I think they presented it three times a year and they continued to sell it out for five or six years until they finally retired that seminar.

So each time they presented the event, it was at this revenue increase of 930% and the actual profit increase was much greater than that because the cost to deliver the training remained the same, so nearly all of the price increase was pure profit.

There is a lot of different ways to revamp a product. The key is to change the perception of the value that’s being delivered. However, it’s important, in fact it’s of the utmost importance, that you’re really delivering the value you promise. You can’t just make empty claims and expect to sustain a competitive advantage or a business.

But again, you want to change the perception of the value being delivered and sometimes bringing in an outside consultant can help you do that, sometimes some research can do that. But if you look at what we did, we left the product exactly as it was, we just revamped the perception and the focus to the yearlong aspect of the program and the three-day immersion training became a secondary point.

7. Why a customer spokesperson is essential to your business

This is a marketing communication strategy. What it gets down to is using a client’s voice in your marketing materials, is an excellent strategy for increasing sales, because clients can say things you could never say about yourself without appearing extremely biased or arrogant, or even dishonest. Using a customer’s voice give’s your promotions a ring of authenticity and creates credibility that you just can’t create when it is in your own voice. So this is a tremendous recipe for success.

I’m going to give you an example of how to use a customer spokesperson and what I mean by that is a customer who is speaking on your behalf in your marketing materials. Here’s the first example. A number of years ago, I helped organize a marketing summitand was fortunate enough to have met a number of well-known experts in the marketing industry who attended that event. When it came time to sell the courses of the summit, the organizer used an opening with the customers voice to build tremendous credibility. The headline read:

Where do experts go when they want to improve their results? Straight to Mr. X’s event.

The headline was followed by three long testimonials from three of the most well recognized marketing experts in the industry. One expert said that he went back to his office, used what he learned to tweak one of his packages, and within a week had made a hundred thousand dollars’ extra profit.

Another expert, who was a major newsletter publisher, stated that he had used what he learned at the summit to increase their subscriptions and they projected increased profits of multimillions. The third expert had some other similar comments. The experts all agreed they were going to review these courses over and over again.

So that set the stage. It gave the organizer tremendous credibility. These experts could say things and make claims that he couldn’t say on his own without sounding like he was exaggerating or grandiose. It set the stage to make it much easier for the prospect to accept whatever else he was going to say in the remainder of the sales letter.

8. The secretelement that drives all sales decisions – and how to harness it to increase sales

Most people in their private time tend to focus on problems. That’s just the human condition. That’s the underlying factor that drives almost all sales decisions. How is your customer going to solve a nagging problem?

With the exception of some items like food or toys, (and even those can be used to solve problems), for most products or services, if you want to make more sales, you can do so by harnessing your product or service to your customers’ most critical problems. If you show them how your product or service provides the solution to a vital problem, then you can literally watch your sales grow at a very steady rate.

The formula is simple it’s called “Selling to yourself”. Basically, you sit down and think, “You know, I’m very much like my customers. What are my problems?” or, “If I were that customer, what would I be most interested in, what’s plaguing me?”

Example: Poorly paid Professionals

I’ve done a lot of consulting with people who provide professional services and I began to see what their major problems were. Now, when I asked them what their problems were, they would tell me things like, “We’d like more recognition…We want better clients… We want this, or we want that.”

But what I saw their real problem was, was actually something quite different. You see, for the vast majority, their most nagging problems was that despite how good they were at delivering their services, they were barely making ends meet from month to month. They were existing from paycheck to paycheck.

So I created a training product for people who sold professional services and the headline was something like:

Are you brilliant at delivering your service but you’re still poorly paid and living paycheck to paycheck?

That sales letter drew a stronger response than any other sales letter I’ve ever written. Because on the surface, all of these people selling professional services wanted to present their suit-and-tie image or the woman in a navy business suit image – you know, that they’re professionals and they’re successful. But just beneath the surface the real truth is, they’re barely making the car payment. I knew this was something nagging at them and eating away at them every day.

If you can identify those problems that really plague people and you can attach your product or service to it as the solution, your sales are going to go up dramatically.

9. Are you offering the right product to the wrong market without knowing it?

As you can see, many of these points get back to point number one of research or doing your due diligence. What I find with the vast majority of my clients is that few companies do enough due diligence to identify who the ideal customer really is for their products or services.

Often, switching the focus of their marketing from one type of customer to another type can result in a dramatic increase in sales. Always remember that the right product sold to the right client using the right message is really the key to successful marketing.

I recently worked with a client and helped them setup a customer audit for their business to determine who their ideal customer was, or who the ideal customer segments were if there were more than one. They were shocked to discover that their product was used by a significant market segment for purposes totally different than it was originally intended to be used for.

Now, unfortunately, because this is their proprietary information and they’re using it right now, I can’t reveal what their product is or specifically how it’s used in a different manner by a different customer segment, but i can tell you that switching their focus to this new segment is producing a substantial increase in their sales.

So it’s really important that you have a customer strategy and that you identify your ideal customer or groups of ideal customer segments and that you use that knowledge to create tactics for each segment that is going to improve your sales and profits.

10. How do you increase your profits with strategies and technologies borrowed from other industries?

I’d like to give you an example that focuses on the product development process, which is a process a lot of people don’t think about very much for their business but it’s a very important process.

The problem with product development is that most companies have tunnel vision when it comes to developing new products. Rather than developing truly new products, they usually use the comfortable alternative of developing line extensions to their existing products, or they knock off a competitor’s more successful product, or they create a hybrid that incorporates the features and benefits of their competitors’ products into their own features.

The problem is that there’s very little dependable and sustained growth from this type of product development because it’s a catch-up process. You’re always behind the wave and you’re never creating anything that’s going to be a major breakthrough.

So here’s an example of a company that used a truly innovative approach to their product development strategy. The company is Reebok, the shoe company.

Example: How Reebok innovated and dominated the sport shoe category

If you go back to the early seventies, the shoe industry was dominated by Nike and Adidas. Adidas you barely even hear of anymore, but at that time Adidas owned a sizable share of the market. Reebok had some nice designs and they had hired some big flashy ad agency to promote their shoes, but they just weren’t making a dent in the market.

The executives who ran Reebok were very clever and they brought in their research and development team and gave them the charter to create a groundbreaking new type of shoe, a shoe that was a complete revolution. The research and development people over at Reebok were very smart.

They started a vast project to research technologies in other totally unrelated industries that they might use in creating a new shoe. They spread out all over the country, all over the world, looking at different technologies. They particularly focused on industries where there was a lot of change, and one of those industries was the health industry because that industry is constantly coming out with new drugs, new surgical procedures, new medical devices, etc.

So Reebok’s R&D people looked at the medical industry and one of the things they discovered was an inflatable cuff. It was a new device that surgeons were using to restrict the flow of blood to an area they were performing surgery on. The surgeons wrapped the cuff above or below the area that surgery was being done on and inflated it to restrict the blood flow. This allowed them to accomplish the surgery much more quickly and have less chance of contamination in the area the surgery was being performed on.

So Reebok took a good, hard look at that. They took that technology and adapted it and created the Reebok Pump shoe. I don’t know if you remember that, but it was a shoe that had an inflatable bladder in it with this little device on the tongue of the shoe that you would press to pump up the bladder. You would put your foot in, then pump up the bladder and it would give you a customized fit to your foot structure and the way you walked or ran.

The Reebok Pump shoe was a revolutionary breakthrough. Reebok’s market share went up dramatically and they’re still a dominant player in the shoe market. Now, I don’t think the pump shoe is sold anymore, but for many years it dominated the market. It was knocked off by all types of competitors. But what the pump shoe really did was establish Reebok as a major player in the shoe industry and they remain that way today.

So that’s an example of how you can use technologies from other non-related industries. You can also do the same thing with marketing strategies and tactics. I constantly work with clients to bring in a strategy that’s used in a different industry and apply it to their industry. The beauty of that is that no one else is doing it, so if it works well they’re going to hit a pretty dramatic home run.

11. From Best to better to Basic: How to let your customer’s conclude they want your best offer

When you have a product that has multiple model types, you reverse the presentation order (think of a beautiful luxury car). You start out by presenting the best and you say, “This is the best overall value and deal for the money,” then you list all the things the customer is going to get with this “best” version.

Here again, you want to quantify the value, you want to show them what they save or gain by paying the higher price. Then you step down to the better model and then from there you step down to the basic model.

There’s a very interesting thing that occurs when youpresent products in this order. It’s documented in a book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasionby Robert Cialdini.

Dr. Cialdini is a professor of psychology at a university in the southwest. He talks about this particular method and how it’s used so effectively to sell major appliances. What happens is when you start out and you go from good to better to best, what happens is that psychologically the customer focuses on the price.

They think, “Okay, here’s my baseline price. Now I’ve got to pay more to get this and even more to get that,” and they focus on price. But when you start out with “best” and drop to “better” and then to “good,” a very interesting phenomenon occurs. The customer’s focus is altogether different. They focus on the features and benefits, particularly those they’ll be losing by stepping down, and price is a distant secondary consideration. You see, most customers may endure the pain of not having the “best,” but they find it hard to give up everything to drop down to the lowest priced model.

What you’re doing is dropping out advantages instead of adding price. Customers look at this and focus on, “Oh, I’m giving up all of this. Sure, I get a better price but I have to give up all of these valuable features. I can’t stand to give all of it up, but I’ll give some of it up and I’ll buy the better model.”

As a result of making this slight shift and presenting products in this order, what happens is that sales of the “best” model go up a little, the sales of the “good” model drop significantly, but they are replaced by sales of the “better” model along with its higher price. So overall, the revenue increases substantially.

Dr. Cialdini tested this scientifically, over and over, and it works extremely well.

12. Strategic Focus destroys tactical focus

Marketing strategy can be leveraged to create a powerful advantage in a variety of areas, and we’ve already seen that this can include your customers, marketing communications, product positioning, distribution channels, and also the products and services that you offer. Most importantly, I think you’ve seen throughout these examples that even a slight change to your strategy in any key area can have a major impact on your bottom line.

This final case study is a perfect example of the substantial returns that can be realized by making simple strategic changes in a key area. So let’s get right to it.

Case study: how a $15 investment yielded a $25 million contract.

For one of my friendsclients whose company sells to members of the U.S. Senate and Congress, as well as CEOs at Fortune 500 corporations, the stumbling block has always been being able to reach these high level people directly. Now, you can imagine how difficult it is to make direct contact with a senator or a congress person. But without this direct contact there’s almost no chance of making the sale.

So his critical goal here was to get past the gatekeeper, or more appropriately, a series of gatekeepers, to make a direct contact. To achieve this, the strategy he devised consisted of an innovative approach method. A lumpy direct mail campaign, where the person (named on the envelope), receives an A4 sized envelope with Confidential written across it, this gets it past the gatekeeper, inside the envelope is an object which curiosity causes the person to open it, they see a letter with a magnifying glass attached, telling them to use the magnifying glass to read the bottom line. They do so and are directed to the benefits of reading the remainder of the letter as it saves them a substantial amount of money. Followed by a script for getting agreement for a short initial meeting, and another script for the actual meeting, which was really a sales call.

Keep in mind that the major change was the approach method, because without a more effective way to reach these high level individuals, the entire process stopped. Also, while this approach method increased the overall cost of acquiring each lead by fifteen dollars (Direct mail and materials) — because of the high value of each potential contract, if just one deal was closed, the return on investment was enormous.

So, basically, what it gets down to is by implementing these relatively simple changes, the very first time out of the box, his client landed a $25 million government contract. He’s also continued to be very effective in reaching and selling high level executives and elected officials just by re-strategizing his approach method.

So, if you sit down and you’re willing to take the time to look at the approach you’re using, look at approach methods that are used in other industries, think about who else does an effective job of selling to the government or other important accounts, and ask yourself, “How does this process work and how can I improve on in?”, you can achieve remarkable successes.

So the real answer isn’t so much what is the approach. And it isn’t what technique will work in this situation or that situation. The real answer comes from making the commitment to creatively and innovatively come up with solutions and strategies that will allow you to get past whatever barriers you’re faced with.

I hope you profit from this information right away and for many years to come.

If you would like to learn more about my strategies, go to:

To your unyielding success,

Johann Corporate251x149



As Founder and CEO of Nogueira Alliance Pty Ltd, Johann has spent his entire career solving problems and fixing businesses. He discovered of the power of systemization and leverage in his early 20’s, where he built an eBay business, this knowledge allowed him to grow not only his business but his clients as well. Nogueira Alliance now has a full time staff of 80 people around the globe and 12 key staff in Australia.