How to use your competitors to make you stronger?
To maximise the potential of your business you need to:
- Know who you are
- Know who your customers are
- Know who your competitors are
There’s nothing like getting your hands dirty out in the ﬁeld
Let’s focus on your competitors, because they’ll play a big part in either your failure or success.
Do you know who they really are?
You can learn a lot by thoroughly answering this question. Knowing who they are and what they’re offering can help clarify what your competitive advantage is and how you should be competing with them in the marketplace. It’s core information that feeds your advertising, marketing and customer service initiatives.
How do they market their products and services? What prices do they charge? How do they deliver their products/services? How are they building customer loyalty? What’s the quality of their staff? How are they using technology – is it integral to their customer interaction or does it play more of a part in back-end efﬁciencies? Is their brand visible and tangible and integral in all they say and do?
To a certain extent you can build up this information from a ‘desk’ audit and you’ll certainly garner a lot of useful intelligence.
If you’re really after some insightful, rather than assumptive information, pick your main competitor and become one of their customers. It’s as close as you can get to having someone on the ‘inside’. With a little bit of ingenuity, you should be able to arrange to become a customer and go through the experience of buying from your competitor.
Experiencing your main competitor through the eyes of a customer will reveal a host of insights into what this competitor is doing better and worse than you – quality of customer interaction, response times, customer follow-up, loyalty programs and every other customer touchstone that creates the ‘experience’ of dealing with a business.
This approach may not be for everyone, but for those brave enough to try it, you’ll be rewarded with some insights that will help you strengthen your weaknesses and exploit your strengths.