Who are you REALLY Competing Against?

If you were asked who your business is competing against, what would you say? Surely you would list businesses just like yours. After all, they are your competition. Especially if they sell exactly the same products or services you do.

Sadly, it is much more than this. Yes, you have direct competitors but it’s the unseen competition that can hurt you the most.

Alternatives and Substitutes

A car is a simple product that we could all take advantage of. Companies like Volkswagen can compete directly with Toyota in the market. They also both compete with alternatives, such as public transport, and substitutes such as motorcycles or bicycles.

In a famous marketing story, it was suggested after 1938 that General Motors was planning to buy and remove public transport systems in order to gain a monopoly. Ethical marketing practices suggest that it is better to make your product or service more attractive than the competition than to ruin it entirely, but that is a whole different discussion.

What this means is that we can’t just focus our efforts on beating our like-for-like competition. As explained in the Digital Marketing Roadmap, consumers evaluate alternatives every time they buy anything.

So how do we go about marketing to beat direct competitors as well as Substitutes and Alternatives?

Differentiate the Benefits

It would be quite easy to say that owning your own car is better than public transport simply because you own the car. But what does that mean for the consumer?

Marketing the features of your products only tells the consumer WHAT your product is, but not WHY it matters to them. Consider these examples;

FeatureBenefit
You own and possess the car yourselfFreedom to go wherever you want whenever you want.
Airconditioning, radio and other comfort featuresYou can choose your own comfort levels.
7 seats in the carYou can take your family/friends with you on trips.

Your customers might not know how to make the link between the feature and the benefit, so you need to help them.

Differentiation is a great tool for negating your competitors marketing. For instance, a bus company can advertise that they are always on time. To combat this, a car manufacturer could advertise that you don’t need to adhere to someone else’s schedule.

An interesting example is digital marketing. In a sense, mediaholic competes directly with Facebook themselves.

Facebook will tell you its easy and cheap to advertise on their platform. What they don’t say is that it takes trial and error plus a good amount of time working on their different options.

What is our differentiation then?

Yes, advertising on Facebook is cheap and easy if you have experience. We can help you get results quickly without the headache of having to learn a whole new system. What you’re buying is not just advertising, it’s time and experience.

If you want to discuss your competition and differentiation, reach out and have a free consult with us. We’re happy to help point you in the right direction.

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