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How to find your competitors & what to do about them

By November 8, 2010 Competitors No Comments

We’ve all got competitors, and there’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition to make the business world go round! But who are yours, and what can you do about it?

Firstly, they’re not always that obvious, and tend to fall into two categories:

Direct and Indirect

Direct Competitors
Direct competitors are the guys you would naturally think of if I asked you who your competitors are, for example other businesses selling what you sell (product or service).

What can you do about your direct competitors?
Well, leave them be for starters, BUT get going with some research and learn all you can about your competitors’ products, their prices, what they are offering and so on.

In marketing – knowledge is power: you want to be gathering as much information about your competitors as you can. Personally, I do not see fellow marketers as competition: my feeling is that we all have our own niche and specialism, and we will therefore attract the right kind of people to us. That’s probably the same for your industry.

That said, knowing lots of information about what your direct competitors offer can help you differentiate why your products or service are different (if not better). And it also helps you serve your customers or clients better: if I think another marketer is better suited to a potential client’s needs – I will tell them. I want to work with people who I will be able to help the most and have the greatest impact with – that keeps everyone happy!

Indirect Competitors
Indirect competitors are the competition that you never quite see, or rather, or never quite as obvious as you’d like.

These types of competitors cover all the other things that your customer could spend their money on?.which includes doing nothing.

How do we find out who they are?
There are various ways in which we spend our money. There’s all the types of non-discretionary spend such as fuel for the car, the weekly food shop, the utilities bills etc. Then there’s the discretionary spend. After all the essentials have come out of our income, we get left with ‘disposable’ income.

This is the bit that we can spend on what we choose to such as gym memberships, holidays, eating out, hobbies etc.

And so…we need to know where our customers could choose to spend their money instead of with us. This covers a whole multitude of choices, but you can start to narrow it down if you’ve profiled your target market fully and in-depth. Through doing this you will have a good idea about what they like to do in their spare time, what magazines they read, what they eat out and other such activities.

What You Can Do About Your Indirect Competitors
Ask yourself….What benefit/s can your product or service offer that will be far better for your target customer so that they choose to spend their money with you instead?

Your list of indirect competitors could be quite long, and you might find it difficult to reach an end. But try to get an idea of the types of things that your customer or prospect would spend their money on given their profile.

Competition is a Positive Thing

Having competition is a positive thing as it shows there is a market for your particular product or service. The trick is to know as much as you can about them so that you know how to position your own product or service.

If your products have a high price point (in other words, are fairly expensive) and your competitors sell a similar product quite cheaply, then you need to know why yours is so much better, and how much more your customer can benefit from having/taking or using your product. Remember you sell your products, service on benefits.

Some of your competitors will have similarly priced products or services, so again you need to have enough information about them so you know why yours are different.

Knowing your competitors gives you armour and thus protection. Use it wisely!

Have a great week!
Kim.