As we point out in our book Value Acceleration, what gave you a competitive advantage “yesterday” becomes table stakes tomorrow … if not today. The tactical things you do are usually copied by your competitors. It’s the processes you use that give you a competitive advantage.
Another example of this comes from a blog post by Matt West, “Marketing Automation Is No Longer About Competitive Advantage, All About Keeping Up.” In this post Matt points out that the use of marketing automation tools was a competitive advantage as recently as last year, but now they are required to be competitive with the best companies. Matt may be a little aggressive in his assessment of the use of these tools, but his point is solid.
Marketing automation tools add efficiency to your processes for keeping connected with prospects and customers as they work through their buying process. In some complex sales environments it may be impractical to execute an effective process without such a tool. However, not withstanding the use of the tool, the key is the process the tool is supposed to automate.
Competitive advantage can remain with those who make use of the tool to automate a highly effective process. The tool itself will not create such a process.