The article brings to mind an exercise I’ve been working through with a friend, who’s start up is in its fifth year. This year is the first year Jim’s company has turned a profit, though they’ve been gaining market share from competitors for several years. We’ve discussed and examined his strategy at length and have identified differentiation and customer relations as his strategy for success in his market, which is international group travel operations. Jim differentiates his business from the wide array of less expensive and older competitors through his focus on education. During his tours, through use of tour leaders, lectures by university faculty, and even an “early booking gift” which is an Expedition library of field guides, DVDs, and books on the area of travel, he sets his trips apart. Given than Jim’s target market are universities – his customers value the difference that his educational component of his trip plays in their overall experience.
Additionally, he has implemented a 24 hour response time to all partners (clients) and travelers by his sales and customer service team. This strict guideline for operating has proven successful with clients, who have relayed that they will choose him over a cheaper or larger competitor because they know he treats them well (simplify customer’s lives) and he’s easy to work with (customizes solutions for them when necessary). His obvious commitment to personalized service is paying off.
While Jim will have to continue to develop his strategy to continue gaining market share in his industry, these two successfully implemented strategies have set him apart thus far.