Ignore Competitors, Focus on the Competition

The question most companies ask when conducting a competitive analysis study is, ‘Who is the competition?’ because they believe the competition is the product, service, and brand sharing the same shelf space with them in the market but smart business owners understand that the question is not who your competition is but what it is. Your competition is any challenge that the customers face while trying to solve the problems, your product or services were designed to resolve.

The Team lead of FitnessGenius, when asked the question about competition said that, that the target was to make healthy living easier compared to living unhealthy being harder. Therefore, the main competition was anything that made it impossible to practice healthy living. Accordingly, it was actually what makes healthy foods more expensive and less easy than unhealthy foods. Dealing with unhealthy foods includes tackling issues of excess consumption of junks, bad eating habits, the companies that manufacture these junk and processed foods and their advertising budgets.

It is imperative to know that paying more attention to what other companies are doing often leads to ‘copycat’ products which may not be able to compete favourably with other brands especially if the customers were not impressed by the original products. When your customers’ challenges are redefined, it is easier to stop using the rival companies as a benchmark. Also, spend more time working on design approaches that won’t be reiterating what is already out there.

Change your perception about what you are selling. Most companies think they are just selling a product but that is where they get it wrong. Your business should think about selling change, a journey from a point of chaos to a higher level of positive outcomes that will unfold when the right consumer behaviour kicks in. A real-estate search engine might actually “sell” wise decision-making, through the process of making the largest transaction their customers will ever make while nutrition supplements brands “sell” health.

Change your perception about the customers and focus on the products. Your customers are the people who struggle with the challenges, your brand is out to solve. They are not just the people who purchase your products or click on your online ads. Then engage in customer research, online and in the real world, to understand and document their journeys. This may be their journey from unhealthy to healthy living, or from being broke to being a good steward of their finances.

One of the most important takeaways from your customer insights research should be an in-depth understanding of the decision dilemmas, pitfalls and quit points that people often encounter on their journeys. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said, “If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we’ll turn out all right.” I take this a step further: If you can stay focused on eliminating the obstacles along your customers’ journeys, your company will turn out much more than all right.

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