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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  December 08, 2016

Market Leaders’ Secrets to Success

Differentiation is your only option in crowded, competition-filled markets.

Regardless of where we are in our markets, all of us want to be the driving force – the one who shapes our space rather than someone who reacts to events. As a recent Strategy+Business article says, though, the path to success depends on the approach you take. And recent trends have a lot of moving parts.

What thought leaders need to know:

• The low-fee environments in our space—the speaking, consulting and coaching industries—are in a commoditization spiral. Competition from low-cost (and free) sources is plentiful. Buyers do not see the difference between free experts and those charging premium prices. This explains why many in the speaking industry panicked and cut their prices to the point of no profit.


Listen: How speakers can beat the commoditization spiral 


• The higher-fee environments—enterprise-wide leadership initiatives, prominent speakers, etc. —are in the table stakes game, where many competitors compete on features and quality. This happens when buyers realize they get what they pay for. They know low-cost resources won’t cut it, but they still want more customized “perks” in the contract. While market leaders are prominent (such as Center for Creative Leadership), they don’t dominate the space.

In both environments, it’s very difficult to stand out. There are simply too many voices. That said, differentiation is your only option. It is the power that cuts through skittish buyers and drives good profit margins. Now is the time to map out exactly how to position yourself for next year.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.