The Marketing Guy

Rooting for Good Marketing Since 2009

Do You Know What Your Competitors Do Well?

I was speaking with a partner of ours this week about how his business was going, if it was recovering, outlook for the 2nd half of the year—the usual topics you cover during breaks between conference sessions. What made us late for the next session was a discussion that started with just two of us, but ended with about 8 people in the circle—talking about our competition.

While at first my discussion companion was very modest about his chances in the marketplace against our main competitors, as our discussion continued and the circle enlarged, it became clear that he had a strong understanding not just of where the competition was weak and could be attacked, but where they were strong as well, and where he knows we could be in some trouble given our own portfolio of offerings and capabilities.

It struck me as both a grown-up discussion, and one that we don’t often have enough as marketers. We’re constantly on the attack, looking for weak spots in our competition, and pouncing on every misstatement, earnings miss, and less than stellar press coverage. But to craft effective marketing strategy that really drives results, it’s important also to know what the competition does really well. What are they best at? Why do customers choose their products and services over yours? And how can you combat their plans with yours?

Game theory and scenario playing are important tools in the marketing and branding strategy quivers of marketers today. The difference, as Seth Godin would put it, between being a Linchpin and adding value to your organization and just preparing the same old marketing plan can often times be the insight and action that you deliver by knowing not just what your company is great at doing, but what your competitors do well also.

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