Smart Ideas to Stay on Top When a Competitor Moves In

With global markets more competitive than ever, a smart company keeps close tabs on the activities and strategies of its rivals. Too numerous are the companies that got lost in the ether, simply because they didn’t adapt to their competition and the changes in the market brought on by global trends, economic developments, and technological advances. Myspace is a good example of a ‘where are they now?’ company – eclipsed by Facebook which now rules the roost as far as social media goes. Ignoring the growth and development of a rival can be disastrous for a company, even a well-established brand. Here are some ideas to help you stay on top. 

Don’t rest on your laurels

Picture this: You’ve launched a brand-new company, providing great, fair trade coffee previously unavailable in the area. Business is thriving. But don’t rest on your entrepreneurial laurels – what you’ve done is to successfully open a market in the area that wasn’t there before. And the chances are you’ll have some competition moving in, fast. Those competitors will be eyeing your business, seeing what works well and what doesn’t, and adding value and additional services or features that you may not have – maybe they will attach an artisan bakery to their coffeeshop, or give away freebies, or simply undercut you. Don’t get complacent! 


Originality, or not

It may seem like the key to keeping customers when faced with competition is to continually build and evolve, with new ideas coming out left right, and center. But what you should be doing is what your competitors have been doing to you – watch. See what works in their business, using their ideas as a springboard for your own. Add value, add an on-brand touch, and don’t get too attached to the idea of originality – you’ve got a business to run. 


Back to the old-school

It’s true that when it comes to marketing, digital channels are far and away from the dominant delivery system. But while old-school techniques may not be used as much as they once were, they still fulfill an important role in any campaign strategy. Take mailouts as an example – before the internet came along, mailboxes were full of promotional blurb, flyers, leaflets, brochures from all over the place. Now they are relatively empty, meaning that your message is more likely to be read, engaged with, and have a higher possibility of creating a conversion.  


Get to know your customers

Some studies show that up to 80% of companies don’t know much about their customer base. You may have an idea of customer purchase patterns – as most marketers do – but that is just the tip of the iceberg. If your customers agree to provide some data and insight this is a great asset. But there are other factors – staying aware of trends and developments, not only of your business’s specific market but also social trends related to your product or service, will help you pre-empt changes and possible opportunities for sales. 


Customer loyalty

This is one of the most important factors in fighting off rival companies. Customer loyalty is one of the most valuable commodities in the business, and it’s tough to attain and easy to lose. First up, your service must be impeccable. One of the best ways to build loyalty is through communication, and now that almost all brands use social media, you have an ideal platform to communicate with a personal touch. Direct communication with customers, without having to hold on to the telephone, makes your brand more human, approachable and is likely to build the rapport upon which loyalty is built. 


Embrace the synergy

Let’s pick up where we were at the start. Your shrewdness has created a new market, where rivals to your business have sprung up, offering similar products or services to yours (let’s say this time, you’re all restaurants). While it may seem like competition will adversely affect your business, the reality is that often a synergy is created. Far from forcing you to share a limited market with one or more other businesses, what’s actually happened is that the area has become a destination where people go to eat out. Competition can be daunting, but it can also have a positive overall effect.


It’s important to be aware of your surroundings, in a business sense. Staying alert to market changes and what competitors are offering is a solid foundation for keeping your brand thriving under increasing pressure. 


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