Worry Less about Competition and More about The Customer

Published by Shannon Farrelly

July 13, 2019

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people,” Eleanor Roosevelt said.

When it comes to your competition in business, which one are you? Are you distracted by the activities of other people — your competition — when you should be focused on great ideas for your clients?

As a reminder, the whole point of being in business is to gain a profit by providing a product or service that customers are willing to pay for.

Consider FedEx, the company that pioneered overnight delivery in the 1970s when it was known as Federal Express. The company didn’t try to mimic its competition, such as DHL and UPS. Instead, it tackled a particular problem – quickly delivering critical items like medicine or electronics parts – and became a giant corporation.

Assessing Your Value Proposition

Do you know what it is that your company does better than any other business? Ask your customers. “Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the customer gets out of it,” management expert Peter Drucker said.

Beating the competition will only leave you drained, not necessarily more profitable. Worrying about competition is a distraction – anything not focused on the customer is a diversion.

Instead use positioning to influence customer perception of your brand or product. Positioning yourself as a unique product – not simply a better or less expensive widget – limits the temptation to compare yourself directly to the competition.

The Road To Riches

Worried about losing profits to your competition? Instead, do everything you can to wow your customer with an excellent experience. That’s where the money is. According to Gallup, “Nothing predicts organic growth like customer engagement … advertising campaigns, promises of low prices … don’t create the types of emotional connections that drive long-term profits and loyalty.”

It would be better to invest your time and effort in customer experience management or creating and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectation and satisfaction and ultimately sales. Notice this has nothing to do with your competition.

Marketing 101

Of course, you should know what the competition is doing – that’s just smart. You can study what they do and then develop an innovative strategy to do it better or differently. While market research does not guarantee a winning product or service, relevant questions about concept, advertising, distribution, pricing and promotion can be answered by observing your competition.

But you are not trying to sell to everyone on the planet – just the targeted customers who share your company’s values and mission. There is a fine line between knowing your competition and obsessing over it.

So if your competition offers a product or service that your clients need, give them a referral. It’s good ROI.

Stop worrying about your competition and develop a laser-like focus on the only thing that really matters for the success of your business: complete satisfaction of your customer.

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