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How Deep is Your Moat

Sure. When you think of a Moat, one’s mind immediately turns to medieval times and those water-filled trenches that surround the castle. Those moats were designed to keep enemies at bay while strengthening the castle’s stronghold.

The same is true in business.

The Moat guards against competition and strengthens a company’s position in the market.

There are several ways to dig a marketing moat: the network…the patent, or manufacturing process; and the brand.

First, building a strong network is a strong protective force in today’s business climate. In fact, many company’s operate at a significant loss for years in order to offer free services while building a large network.

This is a strategy unheard of in traditional business circles 25 years ago, but today is prevalent. Examples are numerous. Facebook wasn’t interested in monetizing for years in order to build as large of a network as possible. Facebook sat back…gathering as much data on their millions and millions of subscribers…and eventually put a revenue plan of action into motion through their Facebook Ads program.

Google provides another example. The more people that use their search engine, the more they would use their affiliated services and the more loyal those users are to the network. That’s why Google remains free.

Next, a company’s patent or manufacturing process can provide essential protection against a competitor duplicating their position. This prevents a company with deeper pockets from invading a market space. It helps the patent holder dig a deeper moat of protection…at least as long as that patent is in affect; or as long as their manufacturing process is truly unique.

Finally, is the brand.

Strong brands typically have deep moats. They have the unique advantage of having built up a lot of positive brand equity through years of connecting with their customers. It’s why some brands, such as Coca Cola, will thrive in an economic roller coaster ride’s valley. People have entrenched relationships with brands and those relationships make buying decisions easy. Consumers know the brands they can ‘count’ on and that means a lot. This is true regardless of price fluctuations, state of the economy, etc.

Further, each of these moats help a business survive everything from a pandemic to a scandal. Look at the heat that Facebook has encountered for it’s lack of concern for privacy matters, hate speech negligence, mis- and dis-information, etc. Actually, as I write this, Facebook is probably at a low point in terms of ‘Likeability’, but it’s still at the height of ‘Usability’. In other words, people may complain about the company…most may not even like the company…but they still use the platform. The usability of that network has created a deep moat for the company.

So, look at your company. Look at the market environment in which you compete. Look at your moat. Which moat-digging strategy are you using and let us know if we can help you dig a deeper trench around your castle.

By Scott Trueblood, of BrandVision Marketing. BrandVision Marketing is a full-service marketing agency based in Knoxville, TN.

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