Competition is healthy for businesses – it will force you to innovate, staying ahead of the curve.
Yet that rivalry can also be intimidating.
You don’t want to back down, but you aren’t sure how to combat competition. Every company deals with this problem. What success comes down to is developing a plan to help you better serve your customers, accurate branding, and team support.
Learn How to Handle Competition in Business
You know you will encounter competition in business. So how do you develop a strategy to compete with competitors? Read on for seven real-world ideas of strategies you can use to learn how to beat your competition in business.
1. Know Your Customers
Did you know 80% of companies don’t have enough customer data to build effective marketing campaigns?
Most marketers know their customers’ purchasing patterns, which is certainly helpful to track. But there is so much more information you can be using to continue refining your marketing plans.
By knowing your customers, you can build a relationship between them and your company, extending the customer lifecycle beyond only a couple of purchases. Data can help you get to know your customers. For example, social activity often helps marketers uncover critical insights regarding the timing of purchases and related searches.
2. Understand the Competition
To understand your competition, it is most important to examine the marketplace.
First, take a hard look at the things your competitor does. Does that company have intimate conversations with customers that lead to conversions? Do they have a unique angle to tell their story from?
Second, look to see what your competitor doesn’t do, and then try to fill in that part of the market.
In the 1980s, Canon and Xerox were competing in the market for copiers. Xerox thought Canon’s prices were ridiculously low based on their assumptions of the cost to create a copier.
Through examining the market, they found there were cheaper ways to make a copier. Through Xerox’s market research, they discovered that Canon found its way into the market through innovation, leading to a better market for consumers.
3. Highlight Your Difference
You can use your differences to learn how to handle competition in business.
After completing market research, understand what makes you different from the competition. Do you have more ethical sourcing for products? Or, maybe your prices are cheaper. Perhaps you have an angle to your company’s story that could push you above the competition.
In the case of IKEA’s 2011 catalog, IKEA knew they had the resources to do something extra special with their publication. While IKEA's print catalog had more competition, the company decided that simply moving to a digital platform was insufficient.
So they used their marketing resources to create an augmented reality version. Just by understanding what they could do differently, IKEA’s design overhaul doubled the amount of time customers spent browsing the catalog.
4. Clarify Your Message
To attract customers, your company needs to have a clear message. Customers want to know what you can do for them that no one else can, and that is how you will win their business.
It is not enough to throw a message into the void and hope it sticks with someone. Instead, clearly craft a narrative to bring customers to you.
The car rental service Enterprise clarifies its messaging every time it communicates with customers.
With each communication, Enterprise takes into consideration the specific audience it is trying to reach and then considers what tone or message will be the most effective to extend the customer lifecycle.
By consciously considering your audience with each message, you too, will be able to communicate more clearly with consumers.
5. Explore Strategic Partnership Opportunities
For businesses, partnership opportunities are very popular right now. Most businesses are reaching out to others in the hopes of reaching a new market or demographic. These symbiotic relationships help both partners by providing some sort of opportunity that was not otherwise attainable.
When considering partnerships, consider what your company needs to succeed and act on that opportunity.
Starbucks has partnered with Earthwatch since 2001. One of the goals of this partnership was to introduce Starbucks employees to the scientific research behind coffee beans – benefitting Earthwatch’s goals. Additionally, Starbucks was able to increase employee engagement through this partnership.
The partnership helped Starbucks develop its ethical approach to coffee while assisting Earthwatch in spreading sustainable and scientific practices.
6. Keep Innovating
In today’s world, it is crucial to iterate, iterate, and iterate. That should be your marketing team’s mantra in today’s constantly shifting world of online media. As pointed out earlier, your new and old markets benefit from innovation as well.
By constantly innovating, your team will stay focused on the goal while keeping your customers interested in your company.
Older companies are great to look to for leadership in innovation. How have they managed to keep up with the times? What company policies allow them to continue to innovate and change while functioning well for their customer base?
These questions will help you see the logic of innovation, even when it seems out of reach.
7. Look After Your Team
Your products are only as good as your team. This may not seem like the most obvious tactic in learning how to handle competition in business. However, you can keep your team productive by keeping them happy as well.
It may not be necessary to get everyone a beanbag chair or to have some kegs on tap like many companies think. Listen to your team when they tell you what they need to be happy, not what trends think they need.
Case studies from Snack Nation can teach you how to retain your best employees. Most employees only really ask for trust, professional development, collaboration, and the opportunity to take ownership of their work. Allow your employees these opportunities, and you may find that you have happier employees and lower turnover.
Helping your employees find happiness in their work will lead to dedication from employees – and this is where you can beat your competition.
Equipped for Competition
There are a million ways to combat competition in business, but which are suitable for your company? Following these strategies to handle competition in your business will help you better understand what your customers need.
With these ideas in hand, you can be sure your customers will keep coming back again and again. Remember, an unsuccessful idea is only failure if you stop trying.