Looking Over Your Competitive Edge

- January 12, 2012

Recon Thursday/Process

Hello again, I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing, where business takes shape. Today is Recon Thursday, when we encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open to learn more about your own business, your market and, today’s agenda, your competition. Before we start with our theme today, I want you to do a quick self-assessment.

What kind of a marketer are you? Are you proactive, reactive or non-active? By proactive, I mean you are out there every day, if possible, trying to market. Reactive means “Oh, no, everything’s not so great, I better do some marketing.” Non-active means you are so busy you just don’t find time for marketing. Whichever you are doesn’t really matter, Once a Day Marketing is designed to help you improve. And hopefully, you become a proactive marketer in the future.

Today’s topic is “Looking Over Your Competitive Edge” and we’re going to talk about trying to determine just where you are with respect to your competitors’ marketing efforts.

I want you to walk with me now to the edge of a cliff. We’re going to stand on that edge and we’re going to look down. Way down there, you can see your company, you can see your market and you can also see your competition. Get to the edge but don’t fall off. It’s very important when you are
developing strategy and action plans that you pay close attention to your competitors and what they are doing to market. And that’s what we are going to talk about today.

What are your competitors marketing, where are they marketing and who are they marketing to? What kind of products? What kind of messaging? Understanding the competitive arena is critical to developing future strategy. It’s also critical to identify areas where you can outmaneuver the
competition. Are they forgetting some markets? Are they neglecting a certain kind of messaging? That’s what we’re going to take a look at when we talk about looking out over your competitive edge.

First, make a list of your direct competitors. These are the companies you are competing with in the market place all the time. Write those names and products down that are competing against you.

The next exercise is a little trickier. I want you to look out there on the horizon and see what kind of companies and products are starting to erode, even ever so slightly, your bottom line. Maybe they are sneaking in from the side, or from under rocks. However, little by little they are gobbling up market share. Take Blockbuster as an example, They were riding high for a long time then a little company called Netflix came out of nowhere and took a lot of that market share away from Blockbuster. Now I wonder who Netflix is thinking will come along and erode market share from their company. Note those companies as well.

Now that you have a list of competitors, start thinking about tracking their activities. You might use the “7Ps” we’ve talked about before: product, price, place, promotion, positioning, people, physical evidence and process to create a matrix. Look at your competitors’ products and pricing. Try
to identify who their people are, where they’re marketing and so forth. Create the matrix product by product, company by company. It will be a very effective tool. It’s a living document; update it on a regular basis as you learn more about your competition.

Now look in the digital world and see where competitors are marketing. See if they are on Facebook or Twitter or have a website. Are they engaged in social commerce? Are they using new mobile marketing apps?

The last item to review is following their “guerilla marketing” efforts. These might be off the normal radar of marketing. What tactics are they implementing that are so unique and different that nobody else is doing it? It may surprise you just what clever things they are doing to create more awareness for their company, their product and their brand.

You can see now why performing this sort of competitive reconnaissance is so critical to the success of your organization. Using this tip, you create your matrix, understand what your competition is doing and are more informed. Now you can develop action plans and strategies that will grow your business. And that’s a very good position to be in.

Our goal is to make you a proactive marketer. We hope following what your competition is doing will give you just enough insight to do that.

Thanks for watching us on Recon Thursday and be sure to come around tomorrow for Digital Friday. And just remember to keep that competitive edge always in front of you, always peering over. Go right up to the edge, don’t step off, and know that your competition is probably doing the same thing. I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing, where business takes shape and we’ll see you next time.