Learn From Your Competition

By September 5, 2013 No Comments

Your competitors may be doing things (maybe many things) better than you.

Ouch. Those words hurt, right?

Let’s face it: those words do hurt. We don’t want to believe that our competition might have stronger idea(s), or stronger execution of their idea(s), than we do. But maybe it’s true to some extent. If they’ve been your competition long enough to show up on your radar, they must be doing something better than you’re doing it. So learn from them!

I’m not talking about stealing intellectual property – just paying attention. Identify what works for them, acknowledge how they’ve benefitted from it, and then identify how you could put a similar strategy in place within your own organization. This can really apply to any aspect of a business, from manufacturing to distribution, to customer service. .. you name it.

We do this all the time in the world of digital marketing. If an online competitor continually ranks above you in that Google search engine results page, figure out why. Why does Google prefer their website to yours for that important term? Pinpoint the other site’s strengths, then determine which of those can be implemented in your site. Assuming that your site already had its own strengths, combine the best features of the two sites, and you’re well on your way to overtaking your competitor in the search engines, and drawing more traffic to your site and away from theirs.

That annoying ad campaign that they’ve been running for the past few years? Don’t be so quick to judge. Even if you don’t personally care for it, it may just work. Why else would they still be running with it? So again, set aside your personal biases and let your competitor educate you. Who are they targeting with the campaign? Where are they running it? What strategies have they used to convert leads to sales.

These days, it’s all too acceptable to villainize the other guy. But give no respect to your competitor, and you’re bound to miss their strengths. Instead, respect their successes, learn from them, and (where it makes sense) incorporate them into your own business. You’ll be doing your business and your customers a favor.

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