There’s a NEW Paradigm of Marketing Consciousness for Enlightened Entrepreneurs: Know your competition, then forget them.
At first I thought, yep that’s been the marketing rule forever, but then I remembered a conversation with my hubby last night after yet another commercial for my daughter’s favourite show GLEE and it got me thinking.
“ I don’t get it,” I said, “Maybe I’m too Canadian but I just don’t get the Reality-TV-All-American attitude toward competition. Everything our teens see on TV tells them ‘Winning is everything or you’re just a loser.’ From crazed tantrums of Toddlers-in-Tiara’s demanding mom spends thousands on a sparklier dress than the other girl, to Glee Clubs obsessed with spying on what the competing school has cooked for regional competition, they learn only way to win is to keep your eye on your competition.”
My daughter’s Highschool Competitive bands just took home all 3 Gold Medals at their Regional competitions without ever once mentioning, talking about or knowing what the other schools were going to-do. Oh they were obsessed alright, but not with winning. Collectively their bands chose to play the toughest music pieces, not to impress the judges, they knew they could fail at competition. They chose the music because they decided if getting up every morning for 7:00 am was going to be worth it, they’d challenge themselves and seek the sense of accomplishment that comes with being the best that they possibly could be. Of course the judges noticed.
So is positioning yourself in terms of competition really the only way to be successful?
I concluded this is an outdated old-school marketing mentality. It may depend on your market size if you lived in a small town or with several people offering the same services you have to be convince people to choose you. Today, needing to “position yourself” in competition is largely a myth. Here’s why:
- Most customers don’t know who your competition is, and don’t care.~ We live in a caffeine-hyped, short attention span, internet world that is bombarded with images and advertising.
- People want instant gratification.~ All they know is that they have a problem and they need a solution. They’ll remember the first person that is out there getting publicity for their solution.
- People won’t always buy the same place. ~ The days of personal service and lifelong loyalty are long gone. Do you know your banker? Do you always go to the same restaurant? If you have a comparable consumable product or service, your competition can’t really own the market.
- People buy what makes them feel good. ~ If seeing you, talking to you, or reading about you makes them feel good, they’ll choose you. Mostly people choose what they identify with or what looks or sounds most like them, so pick the target that looks or feels like you. Chances are, your competition doesn’t.
The NEW Paradigm of Marketing Consciousness: It’s not about seeing your competition in the marketplace, it’s about how you see yourself. Here’s some more enlightened marketing thought for the Spiritpreneur.
- Remember: Your market (like the universe) is abundant with possibility.~ If you are worrying about your competition, you are focusing on worry, as if you are missing something. It doesn’t really matter how many customers the other guy has. There IS more than enough to go around. If you can’t see that, then you need to expand your mind and your market.
- “Positioning yourself” inevitably compares you to the other guy.~ While it is important in your initial market research to know where you stand and set goals, if you’re focusing on racing against your competition you’re giving him more energy than he deserves. Every sprinter knows if they look at the other guy they lose focus on the finish line and energy to run their race. The only exception in business might be if you offer waaaay more than the other guy, you should do the comparison chart because it would be a dis-service to not let people know they can get more value from you. But other than that keep your eye on your finish line.
- You BE YOU and attract your perfect customer.~ If you want a publicity strategy that works, you can’t earn publicity being like or following your competition. Sure your competition can inspire new ideas (like this article), but twisting yourself into knots trying to beat the other guy at his game creates stress and takes you off your game. It also tempts you to be something you are not, and turns people off because you’re trying too hard.
BOTTOM LINE: Know your competition and forget them. Keep your eye on your finish line and run your race. If you know who you are and offer the best you can be, speak to your target market, then stand on your reputation. Your perfect customer will see how authentic you are and be naturally attracted to what you have to offer. Then all you have to do is just ask for their business.