Do You Recognize Who Your Real Competitor Is?
Understand who your competitors are. Ensure your offering and service is better than theirs to emerge a winner – is what you get taught in Marketing 101.
This is all relevant and well-meaning advice. But often you get engrossed in analysing your competition that you miss a really important fact:
“While, you can’t control the activities of your competitors, you can choose how you want to compete and beat the competition.
So Assess – Who Are You Really Competing Against?
For example, being the only gaming centre in your town, you may get to believe that you have no competitors. However, who are you really competing against? If you think that you are in the gaming business, you still have to compete against online gaming alternatives and mobile apps. More so, as you are competing for discretionary spending with other forms of entertainment, your real competitors may be the restaurants, cinema, pubs
where your customer spend more money instead of with you.
Formidable External Business & You
You cannot ignore the fact other businesses are formidable competitors, and that they can cause harm to your business.
• Your competitors can reduce their prices to attract your customers – Competing on price alone is a bad move as it can do more harm than good. By lowering them too much, you risk creating the impression that your product quality may have been compromised. Price is never the sole motivator when a customer is buying something, they care about the value you are providing them, which could include personalization, ease of doing business, omni-channel presence, relationships, etc.
Your Approach: You can’t set and control the competitor’s price. But, if you keeping losing to competition on price, it’s time to go back to the drawing board to rework and control the value your customers see in your prices.
• Your competitors may write bad or unfair reviews about you – Most reviews are protected by the right to free speech and are written to express their views and truths, and not to demean your company. Based on my experience, often, these reviews are inspired by real life experiences and not just word of mouth/hearsay. Treat this like a cheat sheet to measuring your performance with respect to customer experience and satisfaction. This helps you determine what is working and what needs improvement.
Your Approach: Understand that even the best companies occasionally get bad reviews. So it’s important, to try and increase the number of good reviews to dilute the effect of one bad review. Just continue to provide the best possible service or product, delight your customers, and don’t shy away in asking for reviews.
• Your competitors have a better product – If they have a better product you can’t blame them. Remember the 80:20 rule – 80% of people only 20% of features. So check whether the gaps in the product matter to the customers.
Your Approach: You need to revisit your product roadmap to fill the gaps in your product to stay in the race or explore partnering with companies whose products can plug this gap.
Your Customers Mindset as Competition
Let’s take some examples.
For example when it website design projects, your competition is not necessarily other web development companies, but the clients themselves. Having committed to overhauling their website, they postpone the task of compiling all the information needed for the redesign. It then becomes your responsibility to get them from complacent stage, if we want the meter to start ticking.
A walk-in customer find the required product, decide to buy it and proceeds to the checkout counter. But, he realizes the store accepts only cash. Having planed the purchase using the credit card, he abandons the purchase.
Your Approach: Is not just providing better service and offering, but make it easy for our customers to do business with you.
Constantly Ask Yourself – How Can You Create An Impact
Whatever industry you are in and whatever stage your business is at – to remain competitive, not only against other business, but against your customers’ mindset, you need to know why the customer will choose you:
- Do you provide a wider range of products or services?
- Do you offer a competitive price or steep discount?
- Do you provide skills or specialty equipment that they don’t have in-house or can’t easily acquire?
- Do you help them spread their risk? If so, are the risks worth the profits you may earn?
To compete and emerge a winner:
You need to push yourself from the status quo and help employees understand why it’s no longer safe to be complacent and the urgent need to do something different.
And you can do so, by:
- You must push your customers out of their comfort zone
- You need to help your customers see their challenges in a new light
- You have to highlight specific situations that is painful for them and propose a solution that can address this easily
- You need to create practical and constructive tension and use it to your advantage.
And that’s why I say “Do You Recognize Who Your Real Competitor Is?”
“The biggest obstacle to success is not the external competitor or customer mindset, but the company mindset itself.
I would love to hear your viewpoint.
Innovatus Marketers Touchpoint LLP is a customer experience, marketing, service design, design thinking and business innovation consulting firm, based in India. We offer go-to-market and digital strategy consulting and help our clients rethink and redesign customer and employee value in the digital era. We offer design thinking workshops and consulting, tailored to enable, accelarete or transform your business. We are laser-focused on the problem at hand and your opportunity space, and optimize process to make design thinking and service design principles accessible to your employees who’ve never done it before or stuck-up, and provide “just adequate” theory to help you get moving and achieve outcomes.
You may reach out to Vidya Priya Rao @ +918080015500 or email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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