Competition is healthy for businesses, innovation, and growth. Knowing your competition, and what they are offering, can help you to make your products, services, and marketing stand out. It will enable you to set your prices competitively and help you to respond to rival marketing campaigns with your initiatives.
I had the honour of serving as an Expert on Startup Canada and Amazon Web Services June 28th #StartupChats on Twitter to explore how to analyze your competitors, and how to act on that information to grow. The chat was hosted by Lyndon Johnson, Founder of Toronto based COMMS.BAR.
Here are my answers to the questions posed:
- What is competition and why does it matter for entrepreneurs?
Competition is a rivalry between people or companies to win revenue. Competition is good because it forces entrepreneurs to be the best they can be, differentiate & provides ideas, models to learn from, mentorship & possible partnership opportunities.
- Why is competition healthy for entrepreneurs and businesses?
Competition is healthy for entrepreneurs and businesses because it motivates us to stay on our toes, be self-aware, think creatively, differentiate ourselves and always be asking ourselves “How can we do this better, faster and cheaper”.
- Why is it essential for you to understand your competition?
Competitive intelligence allows you a/b testing you don’t have to pay for, fresh ideas & motivation to improve your offering by better positioning your strengths, highlight their weaknesses and ultimately improve business performance.
- What is the difference between direct, indirect and replacement competition?
Direct competitors offer the same products and services and are aimed at the same target market and customer base.
Indirect competitors offer the same products and services but have different end goals.
Replacement competition sells products and services that could be used as a substitute for your products in a different industry e.g. a restaurant and grocery store in the same city.
- How do you identify and define your competition?
I have researched & maintained a database of competitors — local & online — since I put my first website up in 1995. It provides quick links to their websites, strengths, weaknesses, keywords, hashtags, SERP, PPC, social media & last touch date.
- What do you need to know about your competitors?
Competitive Intelligence should include competitor strengths, weaknesses, who they’re targeting, where they are marketing, what’s working, what’s not, their links, their keywords, SERP, ads, links, social spaces, clients, etc.
- What tools or techniques can you use to learn about your competitors?
I have created a blog post of online market research tools here https://www.suesutcliffe.com/market-research-tools & follow competitor ads, faqs & reviews but customers truly are my best spies & send me competitor intelligence on an ongoing basis.
- How should you act on the competitor information you acquire?
Competitive intelligence is only valuable if you leverage it and use it to differentiate yourself and improve your competitive advantages.
- What are some techniques and strategies to rise above your competition?
People don’t trust advertising any more. Rising above your competition is all about creating an amazing brand experience which will create the social proof that people need to trust that you will do what you say you will.
- What tools, resources, and support exist to help entrepreneurs to become experts in their competition and strategize for success?
My keynotes “31 Ways to Build Authority Using Social Media” shares 31 strategies entrepreneurs can use to become experts in their competition and traditional and digital strategize for success.
- What final piece of advice do you have for entrepreneurs about their competition?
Ensure you find/connect with an awesome librarian aka pre-digital data Gods, who have access to key information we don’t have access to and would never know to look for. Call & make an appointment. Offer to bring a coffee. You will be amazed!
What advice would you give entrepreneurs about their competition?