When we pursue new business, we go all in. I study all angles of the challenge in front of me. I’m in the advertising business, so that means studying the company’s business imperatives, the brand’s mission, competitive threats and the consumer’s perspective. I don’t walk in the room until I know as much about my client’s business as they do. We combine confidence with plain grit and a never-give-up attitude, and we always win.
—Gina Alshuler, president and CEO, Rauxa
Reading is golden for making a mark in your industry or an idea. I am constantly reading to analyze trends or talking to people to gain a new perspective. More recently, I have been trying to take more time to talk with our customers about what’s happening in different industries. That’s when you really get an insider view into what people are currently thinking and can discover creative ideas for the future.
—Ashley M. Williams, founder and CEO of RIZZARR
As the leader of a technology startup, there are two ways my company could fall behind the competition: a weak product or a weak team. We avoid having a weak product by aggressively engaging industry experts, advisors and customers. We also focus on the strengths and weaknesses across both team processes and team culture to ensure we have a successful, cohesive group.
—Blake Marggraff, CEO, Epharmix Inc.
Scanning competition as part of market research is just one of the pieces of the puzzle. To really be ahead in terms of innovation we can bring to our clients, we heavily invest time in learning not only about the client’s industry, but also the factors (technology, macroeconomic, regulation, etc.) that can affect the way our clients will do business in future. Regarding our product innovations, we are heavily focused on research coming out of the academic world and engage with top-notch professors in UC system.
—Shilpi Sharma, CEO, Kvantum Inc.
At Klickly, we’re a group of hardcore technologists and award-winning storytellers; we’re coming into advertising with an outside eye and this gives us an incredible advantage. We aren’t hindered by conventional ideas of what “can’t” be done. We’re also a small team. That’s a huge advantage. We have a different mindset: we assume everything is possible and build from that, which is how we were able to create this programmatic in-ad buying tool at Klickly that no one has yet been able to build. Be proactive, not reactive. Find what you do best and stay true.
—Cooper Harris, founder and CEO, Klickly
Our company does periodic audits of competitors. We analyze their social profiles, website content, link profiles and as much data as we can gather to gain a sense for how competitors are performing and upcoming trends. Once we have an idea of the trends, we have strategic meetings to create new concepts and ideas that will make sure we are addressing the same needs, while surpassing what competitors are doing.
—Marcela De Vivo, chief marketing officer, Brilliance
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.