5 reasons you should keep the ‘enemy’ closer in marketing

Image via Fortune3.com

The saying goes, “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” Ok ‘enemy’ is a strong word – competitor is more appropriate. When it comes to marketing, it’s crucial to keep your eye on what the competitor has going on. Don’t get me wrong, never get so wrapped up in the competitor that you lose sight of your brand’s core values, identity and goals, but do realize the value in keeping tabs on what your competitor has going on for a number of reasons.

1. Size up your competitor
Before you even start your marketing, you need a clear sense of what you’re up against. Does your budget compare to theirs? If not, you’ll need to find a way to capitalize off of the options available to you. Is your brand not as personal as theirs? Find a way to personalize your brand. And so on and so forth.

2. Learn
You can use your competitor’s marketing efforts as a learning experience. Research to see if you can get data on how well their work was received and find out what people think they did right and what they did wrong.  This will be able to help you avoid similar mistakes, and it may also allow you the opportunity to capitalize off of a failing effort from your competitor. It’s usually pretty easy to Google an ad and get a results list full of opinions.

3. Avoid being a copycat
It’s quite common and disappointing to find that the great idea that you had for a campaign has already been done. But what would make this even worse would be to find that your competitor has done it. Don’t be a copycat, even if it’s by accident. Take note of what your competitor is doing and what they have done so that you don’t make the mistake of doing it, too.

4. Don’t miss the train
Has your competitor caught whiff of a nuance that works exceptionally well for your category? Of course you can’t copy it exactly, but is there a way that you can jump on board while bringing your own special touch to the table? You won’t know if you don’t know about the nuance in the first place.

5. You’re in battle!
It’s you against them, and just like in any other competition, it’s always important to anticipate your competitor’s next move. You can’t do this without at least having knowledge of their past plays. Also, if your component comes at you head-on, you need a clear understanding of not only their marketing, but their business as well, so that you can be prepared to retaliate.

Football teams watch footage of their competitors’ games for a reason! Be prepared when you enter the market and stay ready for action if you’re already in the market by getting a good understanding of what your competitor has going on.

Happy marketing!

How do you keep track of your competitors’ efforts? Leave a comment and share!

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