Understanding The Competition

By admin | 12th October | Marketing Ideas, Marketing Skills, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Training

Your competitors can provide a wealth of knowledge about your industry and your customer base – they may have spotted opportunities you haven’t, or have found new ways to produce or market their products that save costs or increase profits.  Understanding them can therefore be very beneficial and, at Showing Off, we include a competitor review as part of our consultancy system.

One of the key things we look for is strengths and weaknesses – often your competitors have different strengths to you and, by understanding that, you can focus on the things you do well and create some meaningful unqiue selling points for your business.

When you’re researching your competitors, there are a few common mistakes to avoid:

1. Hiding Your Identity.

Whilst this was a well-used (and fun) way to capture competitor information, there are now certain laws that protect companies from this.  It’s much better to ask a customer to call, or contact the owners yourself and agree to meet and share information that could benefit you both.

2. Copying Your Competitors.

This is a common trap business owners fall into, because they see a competitor doing something they aren’t – and they don’t want to be left behind.  But, beware – unless you know their marketing is better than yours, and producing a great return on investment, why assume they know something you don’t?

3. Dissing The Competition.

If you only research your competitors in order to tell customers how bad they really are, then please don’t waste your time.  You will only serve to destroy your credibility, as noone likes the kid that tells tales on their friends.  This is a very basic rule of marketing, but I never cease to be amazed by the amount of companies who ignore it.

James Dyson put it into perspective in his autobiography when he commented that comparing yourself to your competitors in a public arena only serves to promote them – using your own money.  And why would you want to do that?

4. Treating Competitors Any Differently to Prospects

Your closest competitors can often be your very best allies, and can also be a potential source of business, so we recommend building a relationship with them if you can.  You often find you both have expertise in different areas and can work together to provide more value to customers than you could on your own.

For example, if you run a hotel, would you rather turn a guest away when you’re full and let them look for a competitor on their own.  Or could you suggest somewhere they could try, that you know will offer a similar level of service to you?

In some industries, I appreciate this is very difficult.  They may be very traditional and extremely competitive, but working together at some level may be worth a try – it’s definitely the best way to do business.

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