Last year, a commercial for Gatorade in the US saw NFL star J.J. Watt offer a simple piece of advice for aspiring athletes; find yourself a rival

Interestingly, this advice can be extended to entities in other spaces too, with commercial rivalry helping to define and improve successful brands such as Coca Cola and McDonalds.

In fact, brands like McDonalds often choose to seek out direct and intensified rivalry, primarily by erecting billboards or similar out-of-home (OOH) ads that are either opposite or nearby competitor stores.

This is one of several competitive advertising strategies adopted by brands, in a bid to draw the interest of potential customers and engage and already motivated audience. But what are the key considerations when choosing a billboard location near your competitors?

Showcase a Clear Incentive or Call to Action 

Let’s start with a basic assertion; as there’s little point in investing in billboard locations near your competitors unless they’ve been strategically selected with a clear purpose in mind.

This purpose must also be showcased clearly and concisely for the benefit of consumers, whether you want to provide an incentive for them to prioritise your brand or issue a relevant call to action (CTA).

For example, let’s say that you’re looking to compete with a rival that sells identical products or ranges. In this instance, you may want to invest in a piece of OOH media that advertises lower price points or limited time promotions, creating a clear value proposition in the minds’ of customers and drawing them away from your rival’s store.

Similarly, you may have a new product offering that’s exclusive to your business and not available to your competitors. 

 

Or, you may have a superior quality of product or service on offer, and by advertising nearby a rival store you can potentially influence mcdonthe purchasing decision of customers at a time when they’re most engaged with relevant brands.

To make this type of marketing successful, you ideally need to create a concise and clearly defined message, and one that accurately conveys your brand’s unique value proposition. Try to use no more than six or seven words (or less when using billboards that are smaller than 48 and 96-sheets), while combining this with a brand-centric colour palate and high quality images (where relevant).

The use of branded colours can be particularly important, as this helps to create wider awareness and recognition at a time when customers are actively in the market for goods and services.

From a strategic perspective, the location of your competitive billboard may well vary depending on your precise objective.

If you want to successfully target your rival’s customers directly, for example, you should erect a billboard along a relevant and popular consumer route but ensure that this isn’t placed too close to their store.

Conversely, if you want to drive online traffic and direct potential customers to your website, you can afford to place the billboard a little close to your competitor’s location. The reason for this is simple; as it encourages them to compare prices and product offerings online before making a final decision.

Direct People to Your Business via Competitive Billboards

As we’ve already touched on, you should never look to engage in competitive billboards and advertising unless you have a clear motivation and a focused approach.

More specifically, the ultimate goal of competitive marketing should always be to direct people to your business or website, rather than simply looking to disrupt your rivals and drive customers away from their stores.

This is an important distinction, as the former will help to optimise your marketing ROI and optimise conversions over an extended period of time.

To achieve this, it’s imperative that you feature accurate and relevant company contact information alongside your billboard’s CTA, as you look to drive targeted traffic and footfall depending on the nature of your campaign.

For example, if you have a neighbouring brick-and-mortar store and want to capture potential customers as they embark on a popular route, you should take care to feature the location’s physical address prominently and the relevant contact number.

Conversely, brands in search of online engagement or sales should include a live website address or the relevant social media handles, depending on your precise target audience and the channels they’re most likely to frequent.

Featuring the right contact details and channels is crucial to any competitive ad or marketing campaign, as otherwise you may struggle to direct customers to your brand even in instances where you’re able to initially engage them.

Profile Your Audience and Create an Effective Billboard

This leads us neatly onto the importance of profiling your audience, which is crucial whenever you look to leverage billboards within targeted locations.

After all, while you may be relatively satisfied by initially disrupting your competitors with a nearby billboard, you may struggle to justify your investment if it doesn’t result in the conversion of new customers.

So, before you go ahead and purchase a billboard that’s close to your competitor’s store, take the time to understand their core demographics and the target audience that exists within a specific location.

This way, you can create a tailored and effective billboard that actively engages your target customers, from your primary messaging and calls to action to the precise location in which it sits.

As an example, you may have a product that’s aimed primarily at young professionals, and in this case you should prioritise the use of large-format roadside billboards located along busy and local commuter routes.

In this instance, the content that you create should also be concise and visually striking, in a bid to quickly capture the attention of your target market and easily promote a clear value proposition.

In the modern age, it’s also possible to track consumer mobility data in real-time, as a way of constantly profiling your target audience and improving your future marketing campaigns.

This data can also be shared in real-time, largely through mobile devices and the measurement of accurate GPS and Wi-Fi signals.

More specifically, real-time consumer mobility data can now be recorded and shared in real-time, largely through mobile devices and the measurement of detailed GPS and Wi-Fi signals. 

Thanks to the proliferation of mobile technology and smartphone penetration rates in the UK (which have recently extended beyond 90%), you can also use contemporary travel surveys to incorporate accelerometers and gain far greater insights into the behaviour of your target customers.

The Last Word

The concept of competitive marketing has become increasingly commonplace in the digital age, particularly amongst established brands that operate in highly competitive industries.

However, it’s important to approach competitive advertising with a strategic mindset, especially if you want to simultaneously disrupt your competitors and drive customers to your business.

By considering the points above, you can hopefully achieve these objectives while also achieving a viable return on your marketing spend.