The Red Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass had some sage advice for Alice: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

The Red Queen’s race is one businesses often find themselves running. They focus on gaining a competitive advantage over their rivals, but there’s no such thing as a permanent competitive advantage. The edge you gain this quarter could evaporate next quarter. Your competitors are running the race too, working as hard as they can to keep pace.

An End-Run Around the Competition

There is a way to win, though, and it doesn’t come from looking at the other racers. Your competitors are smart people too; if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be able to keep up with you. Instead, look to your customers and understand what drives their buying decisions. If you win customers over and keep them won, there’s no room for rivals to gain a foothold. Marketing automation technology is key to gaining insight into your prospects and customers – insight that evolves with your audience, giving you the closest thing you have to a lasting advantage.

A Customer-Centric Social Media Strategy

Plenty of companies talk about putting their customers first, but they look more at what they think their buyers need than at what their data is showing them. These companies see social media as another channel to market, another avenue for advertising and promotion, but that only drowns out the most important signal found on social media. Prospects are telling businesses what they want more loudly than ever, but not everybody is listening.

Marketing automation is agile enough to keep up with social media traffic across multiple channels, tracing a lead’s trajectory from one platform to another and listening for conversations about the brand. The technology is also powerful enough to take that aggregated data and turn it into meaningful insights about your audience. And because it acts in real time, automation catches nascent trends as they start so you can gain that ephemeral competitive advantage and move ahead in the race.

Overcoming the Law of Diminishing Returns

The Red Queen’s race has a hidden trap that makes it even more treacherous for businesses that aren’t aware they’re running it. The amount of energy they pour into marketing starts to see diminishing returns. Customers respond to new approaches and innovative campaigns; they tend to tune out what they perceive as just more noise. Eventually, even the most creative team can feel a little stuck for ideas.

There’s a way to break through the lowered ceiling of diminishing returns: Find a subject so endlessly fascinating that your leads will never tire of hearing about it, and only one subject fills that bill – themselves. Finding new ways to localize, personalize, and customize your connections with your leads will energize your campaigns and earn your leads’ attention.

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