Spy on your competitors: there is always something to learn

Written by  Lina Abascal and Gog Zalibekyan / 29 January 2016
Spy on your competitors: there is always something to learn
It’s easy to get wrapped up in curiosity, and comparisons between you and your competitors. A few too many peeks at their Facebook page, diving deep into their Yelp reviews, asking anyone and everyone what their opinion is, we’ve seen it all. While sometimes this behavior can borderline on obsessive and do more harm than good, we believe that there are some great things that can come as a result of paying attention to your competition and learning from them.

Here are a few key things that are worth paying attention to when it comes to your competition. With enough of a side eye on them, and enough focus on what it means for you and your business, you can turn a little friendly competition into useful insights and major business motivation.

Who Is Their Audience
If you consider someone your competition, it’s important to note who their audience, clientele, or following is. This demographic is important because it is a group you should be accessing because of their interest in a similar company, or prompting you to choose to target a very different demographic. How does that demographic make their purchasing decisions? How does your competition market to them? What can you learn from that demographic’s behavior in regards to your competition?
How Did They Brand Themselves
If your competition is successful, take note of how they branded themselves from everything from aesthetics to verbiage. See what partners they’ve affiliated with, how they’ve chosen to promote. If your competition is not doing too hot, learn from their mistakes. Did they make a branding fail that caused their demographic to rule them irrelevant? Did their new website launch go completely over the heads of their former customers? These are potentially business-ending mistakes that if you truly take note of from your competition, you can avoid all together.
Where Do They Advertise
Where is your competition advertising to reach that target demographic we discussed. Chances are, there is a reason they are paying and making the effort to have print ads, digital ads, sponsored content, events, or some of the many other forms of advertising that exists. That reason may also apply to you. Steal a few tips from your competition on what forms of advertising are working (figure this out by tracking what they are repeating- and paying for- continuously). It’s also important to research additional ways of advertising your competition may not be hip to yet, there may be an audience completely unreached by your type of business/product and you could be the first to have access to them.
How Are You Different?
Everyone has competition, that’s just life. It’s important to remember, and prioritize, what makes your business different. A newer, differently branded, version of another business is not enough to stand out. Whether it’s your business practices, a unique founder story, your target audience, your price point, or anything else, focus on what makes you different, and why that matters to your demographic. This way, you’re not just saying “we’re better! pick us!” when addressing people who are customers of your competition, but offering them real reasons to convert to being your customer, and educating potential new customers on why you’re the right choice for them.

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