“Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress.” – Herbert Hoover
Too often, we think of competition in a negative way. Being competitive sounds rude or maybe even cutthroat.
But competition is essential. It’s essential, because it is the way that companies, industries, products, and services improve.
If there weren’t any competition in the personal digital devices industry, we might all still be using one of these:
That is a Psion Series 3, one of the early PDAs. Makes you cherish your iPhone 7 a bit more, doesn’t it?
Or, worse, in the absence of competition, we might have this…
You get the idea.
So your business should enter the competitive landscape eagerly. Very few businesses operate in a vacuum with no competitors — and those that do will undoubtedly face emerging competitors as soon as they prove the viability of a product offering or market segment.
Of course, deciding to compete doesn’t mean trying to outdo other companies at their own game. Your company may compete by:
- Finding a unique niche
- Serving a specific type of customer instead of the whole market
- Focusing on service instead of price (or vice versa)
Don’t let your business be defined by the competition. On the other hand, don’t miss the opportunity to let your business improve by understanding the competition. After all, you can learn a lot by analyzing your competition. The things that they implement, the customers they target, and the strategies they follow can help your brand navigate its way to superior positioning and marketing.
Here are a two well-known tech brands, and how they are outdoing the competition.
Watch and learn.
You saw this coming, right?
Yes, we all love Steve Jobs, and yes, Apple products are amazing (even if you’re a PC person). But what Apple does which truly sets it apart from its competitors is constantly developing new products that carry an exclusive feel. By wearing, using, or holding their products, you instantly feel a boost in status.
Take the example of the Apple Watch. It’s a computer on your wrist. It’s been done before. But when Apple does it, it makes you feel different. If you have one, you’re an insider, one of the cool kids.
Apple sells feelings just as much as they sell products. That’s why they can continue to claim market share even though they’re almost never the company that brings the product to market first.
It just goes to show that, even in the tech world, producing products that users want is about more than cool features. It’s about offering something that users value. That’s what has made Apple one of the most valuable companies in the world.
PayPal has almost cornered the market when it comes to online payments, winning placement on over three-quarters of websites with payment gateways. How are they holding off stiff competition from all corners: big banks, credit card companies, fintech startups like Stripe, Venmo, and Square and built-in portals Apple Pay and Android Pay?
One of the reasons has been by doing something different in their content marketing. By taking people by surprise, they are winning over customers. PayPal is effectively marketing dreams and possibilities. With a PayPal account, you can run your own business, make your own plans, live your own dreams.
By tapping into human emotions, PayPal resonates with their audiences. That leads people to choose PayPal in a market segment where competitors pop up almost every day.
Using Digital Tools to Compete: Adidas
Adidas exude strength, competition, and fashionable gear for the long haul. That’s a killer combination for viral marketing. They bring out these traits in their followers by soliciting comments, shares, and running location-specific contests and giveaways. As a result, customers carry Adidas ads around with them via the Instagram accounts on their smartphones.
When a brand can get customers to volunteer to see ads like Adidas has on Instagram, it’s winning in a big way–and setting itself apart from competitors in the process.
Competition isn’t a death knell for your company. And chances are that your company won’t have a patentable idea or product that forces competition to go away.
So you need to learn to live with competition.
And learn from competition.
And ultimately, succeed in the face of competition.