Lessons you can Learn from your Competitors

Getting distracted by the competition isn’t the most productive way to spend your time as a business owner, but some healthy rivalry can help drive innovation, great customer experience and high-quality offerings. While it’s very easy to obsessively track your competitor’s every move, competition is a good thing for businesses and is seen in almost every industry and sector worldwide.

Through industry benchmarking and other competitor analysis tactics such as brand monitoring and SWOT matrixes, here are a few of the lessons that you can learn from your competitors.

business owner

1. Marketing strategy

The chances are that your competitors have tried many forms of marketing to your audience.

Not only does keeping an eye on your competitor marketing strategy help you get to grips with content and effective call-to-actions, but it also helps you to establish which channels and content forms do and don’t work.

For example, if your competitors have a lacklustre and barely-updated Facebook profile, or a YouTube channel where the videos are four years old, this will give you a great insight on whether or not that channel worked out for them, and can even give you insights on opportunities to seize for your own business.

Beyond digital marketing, offline marketing should be viewed in the same way. Take a look at the events they attend, the initiatives they are involved in, their print advertisements and PR pieces – this can really help you get to grips with their messaging, their activity and finding what really works for them.

2. Products that do and don’t work

If a competitor business has been going for long enough, chances are they’ve tried a few different product or service offerings along the way.

By looking at their focus now, particularly on their website and in any paid marketing strategies, this will give you a good insight into their sales and marketing (and, therefore, business) priorities. It may be that this product or service has the highest profit margin, that it sells the best online or that it makes up 80% of their sales volume, so be sure to keep track of which particular products or services they’re focusing on and regularly promoting. Doing this regularly will also help you to keep tabs on any new product launches and to respond accordingly as a business.

3. Their failures

Whether it’s ineffective marketing, high churn rate or a terrible company name, your competitors are sure to have had a plethora of failures on their journey, especially if they’ve been going for a while.

Again, you can choose to learn from your competitors to not create the same mistakes from the get-go, or to do what they did – but better – in order to seize on any gaps.

A good example of learning from failures applies particularly with public failures like PR crises. After the event, try to understand what they did to respond, and whether or not their response worsened the situation. By looking at your competitors’ general crisis management strategy and its success (or lack thereof), you can put a plan in place for your own business to avoid or resolve a similar issue, should you ever face it.

To conclude, by doing regular industry benchmarking and competitor analysis, it’s easy to identify opportunities and threats as well as the successes and failures of your competitors’ activity. Leverage these insights by avoiding similar mistakes, replicating (and out-doing) their successes and seizing missed opportunities in their strategies and product offerings.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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