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8 signs that the stuff you´re selling is about to lose its position in your marketing

If you boil down the marketer's data to a single thing, it could be expressed as: maintaining and reinforcing your position in the market for what you sell.

When all goes well, it's a fine arrangement, but there is always a risk that you get a little too content when things go well. We start cutting corners with activities, business intelligence and we stop planning for the future.

Actually it's not that hard to keep control – all you have to do, is to be on the lookout for some ominous signs in time:

1. You notice that your business growth has stopped or has slowed down
A temporary decline can happen at any time, but if it occurs over a longer time, you need to look for an explanation. If it's not the economy or some other force beyond your control – if it's due to the competitors advances, if you still have confidence in your sales channels or if there are problems with suppliers, you need to take a closer look at what you are selling.

2. Your most important customers are buying less and less
If it's a trend you have to ask them why they're buying less than normal - if they continue to grow and thrive, it probably means that their money goes to your competitors instead of you.

3. You discover competitors you've never heard of
If you've never heard of a new competitor, or don't know much about them, it's time to listen to the alarm bells. They have probably found a way to get into your market with a new product or solution that can destroy you quickly. It doesn't mean that what you sell is flawed. The reason is probably due to the fact that they have come up with something new and innovative that attracts more customers.

4. You begin to feel the pressure on prices
No one likes to compete on price alone (at least you and I don't) and if your product is clearly much better than others and offer a higher value in some way - you don't have to get involved in a price war. However, if a customer one day says that it's difficult to understand why your price is so much higher than others, then you better have clear reasons to back up your price - otherwise you'll get stuck with bargain deals forever. It's a vicious spiral where you have to continue to provide lower prices to sell your products. Lower prices means lower profit margin, less to invest and even less gains. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

5. You discover that your employees are unhappy (and especially the sellers)
It's not fun for the sellers to have a fierce competitor who always reaches the customers before they do because they have better things to sell. Sellers want to sell and make money, and if they can't, they will start looking for other things to sell instead.

6. You get fewer requests than before
It's pure agony when the phones stop ringing and when the marketing campaigns gives worse results than ever before. It may be that customers start to see your business as a bit too old and they are right – an outdated product will make your company look slow and old-fashioned.

7. You feel that customers have tough requirements
Customers are asking for changes regarding your products that you can't or won't comply with. It's a slap in the face and can be proof that your product no longer meets the needs that exist.

8. Some of your competitors disappear
It sounds good in the short term. With the competition gone, you must take care of their old customers, and for a short while you can do better business than ever. But it's easy to fool yourself because the lack of competitors is a sure sign that the market is going down. There are few companies that leave a growing market and it can only mean that it's only a matter of time before the market is completely dead.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.