The Case for Copying the Competition

Last Thursday I posted about paying attention to your competitors. Some marketers and small business owners do, others don’t bother. I tried to make the case that you should always be aware who your competitors are and what they’re doing in order to position yourself for success.

Now there are two different ways to use the information you glean from this competitive research that will be the subject of posts today and tomorrow. You can copy what your competitors are doing, or do something different.

Here’s the case for copying your competitors:

  • If you know that what they’re doing is working, you should be doing it to. Maybe they’re making an offer that people are responding to. Maybe they’re targeting a group of consumers that you’re missing. Whatever it is, if you know that it’s working, you should consider following suit.
  • If your competitor does something that takes customers away from you, you should do it too. Maybe a new competitor in the market changes the way they price their offering, and your customers are drawn away. When that happens, you need to evaluate how you can compete with this new reality.
  • If you’re new to the market, you should fit consumers’ expectations. Established companies in your market have done a good job of setting expectations. And while you might want to disrupt an existing market, you should copy what you can about existing players’ models so that consumers can get to know your brand more easily.
  • If technology or other outside factors are changing your industry and your competitors are moving faster than you are, you should follow them. It’s better to be late than never when things change. Don’t get caught serving a market that no longer exists.