blog-Know Your Competition

4 Reasons to Get to Know Your Competition

We can all benefit from a good, long look at the competition. Here are 4 reasons why:

It’ll give you ideas

Nothing is as inefficient as starting an enterprise with the idea that everything will be built from the ground up. This goes double for marketing; your competition is certainly already doing a lot of good things. Have a look and evaluate their media presence, their social media channels and their “mojo.” Be a magpie: take and retool the bits that seem useful for you.

You can learn from their mistakes

Notice anything that a strong competitor has done that didn’t seem to go over well? Perfect! They got the flak; you get the lesson.

Here’s a good example: In November 2014, megabank and scandal magnet JPMorgan Chase decided to give back to the community by organizing a Twitter Q&A with one of its chief execs, using the hashtag #askJPM. This would have made sense, perhaps, on a college intranet or another well-regulated forum. But on anarchic Twitter? Not so much. Choice questions included: “Did you have a specific number of people’s lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success?” from @amy10606, “What’ is like working with Mexican drug cartels? Do they tip?” from @ddayen. There was even a dramatic YouTube reading. Poor JPM.

What do you think other financial firms did after the campaign splattered to the tune of thousands of (hilarious, viral) negative tweets?

Answer: Not a similar campaign.

According to Brad Adgate of Horizon Media, “If you’re in the banking industry with what’s happened over the last five years, it might not be a good idea to go out and solicit comments on social media.”

Even if you’re not in the banking sector, you can probably draw some wisdom from this. As Emily Greenhouse puts it in The New Yorker “pro-brand messages on social media are likelier to be spontaneous, even serendipitous eruptions, than to be traditional campaigns orchestrated by paid P.R. mavens.” Anti-brand messages, on the other hand…

In general, a good way to develop your marketing know-how is to keep an eye on where other brands stumble… and then… not do those things.

It’s good to know how you’re different

“Buy things!”
(By Audrey. Some rights reserved.)

Are there already a few players in your industry using cute animals in their marketing? Try a different tactic. If you’re the only cell phone provider not using kittens, think of it as an opportunity to corner the market on cat-haters, or, at least, lovers of a different sort of animal. Possibly turtles.


And you can identify segments that they’re not targeting

Have you noticed that all the brands in your industry are targeting the same market segment? This could mean two things: that’s the only major segment for that product, or there’s a segment being underserved. I’m not saying market your new line of make-up at 30-45 year old men… but I’m not NOT saying that.

Like what you see? Click to read more from