Businesses, old and new, can only succeed if you know where you are in the marathon.
Competition – it will always be there, it will always give you problems and it will always get you thinking. Business is, and will ever be, a fickle industry. With everyone trying to get ahead of everyone in the curve, it’s normal for people to think that business is all about them going further, not thinking of their competition in their own industries.
I’ve seen many people tell me “I don’t know a lot about what my competitors are doing” and I start to scratch my head. Understanding your competition both in a brick and mortar business and digital marketing is an invaluable skill to acquire in your ladder to success, be it you’re a budding entrepreneur or a veteran in the field.
The Value of Competitive Research
Knowing what the competition has to offer your market is an integral part of your market. I can hear you saying: “Why should I care what they can give? I should care what I can do.” That is a commendable mantra, but a bad one at that. The reason is that you already know what you can give to the people. Even in an ideal environment where you’re the only restaurant in a town, you still have competition in the form of cinemas, arcades and any place that will convince your audience to spend their money instead.
On the digital world, this dilemma is a lot of times more problematic. The internet is wide, open arena where all ideas can be easily copied, all methods can be adopted and all information can be taken. Competition is inevitable, and the ability to get your audience’s attention to your pages is a Sisyphean task. Understanding competition is essential. Do your research and ask yourself the following questions:
- Where are they better than me?
- Are they cheaper?
- Do they have better quality content or products?
- Do they have a wider grasp of the niche?
- Better marketing?
- Is their distribution better?
- Do they innovate?
- Do they look like they have business methods that are far better than what I can offer?
- How do they command customer loyalty?
The obvious answer to all of these is good research. Once you have all the information that you need, the next best thing is to compare them with yours. Where do you stand against the competition? Are you better, equal or worse in products or marketing?
Taking Advantage of Market Gaps
Draw a line on where you can take advantage of the gaps in the market and what differentiates you from them that will make you stand out. Knowing which holes to fill will give you the edge, as there will always be areas that your competition can’t get to. Exploit your advantages and double down on your efforts for people to know that you are worth their money and attention.
If content-wise you are equals, the next best move is selling your strengths better. Know where you are weak at and bolster those parts with high-quality content. Adopt on your good ideas and keep marketing yourself. Be flexible and move forward – be it with new technology, social media campaigns or simply talking to your customers.
Be forward. Ask them what they want, what they need, what they like or dislike. Have your business – digital or not – sensitive to whatever information you gather from your competition. There’s no good business in the world that doesn’t have competition; it’s just up to you to push it in your favor.