22 Jul 2013

Competition is a Great Teacher

Almost everyone is engaged in some type of competition, whether it is an athletic competition or simply a ‘may the best man win’ competition.  Regardless of what type of competition you are in, it is important to keep an eye on the competitor.  During these times, learning as much as you can about the opponent will only benefit you because you can use the knowledge that you have acquired for yourself.  This, however, is not to be confused with stealing the opponent’s information because this is cheating.

It is, however, important to learn from your competitors. 

How they conduct business.

What services they provide.

How these services are marketed.

How these services are delivered.

How they establish credibility.

And how the brand is developed and maintained.

SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES IT EASY
Much of these activities can be learned online in the social media networking world, so it is important to be up to date on your opponent’s social media accounts.  This is probably one of the most direct ways of keeping an eye on how they conduct business.  If your competition maintains a social presence online, it is also the simplest way to stay knowledgeable about them.

Follow them, +1 them, like them, and follow their boards. There is much to be learned here.

THE AUDIENCE
Not only is learning about the competitor important, but it is also vital to learn about the competitor’s audience as well.  Understanding the target audience of your competitor will help you learn more about the brand while also giving you ideas on how to improve your brand to attract a similar audience.  Other factors to keep in mind include determining whether these customers are long or short term, the services bought by these consumers and also what the audience likes about your competition.  Completely understanding what drives these customers to your competitor will give you a leg up as you target the segment, because you can predict what the audience will like.

WHAT TO DO NOW
Finally, it is important to analyze and reflect on the information that you have gathered.  First, it is vital to assess what you need to improve on based on the competitor’s is doing better than you. Be honest in your assessment. No one business is doing everything perfectly.

Figuring this out and comparing will greatly help you understand what exactly you are doing wrong, or could do better.  Then, reverse it and figure out what you do not like about the competitor’s plan, and what they could do better.  That way you can avoid the same mistakes.

Absorbing information about your competitor can be one of the best learning experiences.  Utilizing  these steps will help you to gauge your competition, and get a leg up in achieving your goals.