When you are putting together a marketing plan—be it for one of your clients, or for yourself—you may scope out the competition. After all, what your direct competition is up to, marketing-wise, is important to you. If the competition is using Facebook ads, maybe you should be using them too. But have you ever considered the opposite? It could be that what the competition isn’t doing is just as, if not more, important. Standing out from the crowd and rocking the boat can be a good thing in the world of marketing. Follow these tips for figuring out what the “other guys” are not doing and how your company can benefit.
Define the Competition
First, you have to realize that there are (at least) three different categories of competition out there:
- Your direct competitors have the same product, delivered the same way. For instance, McDonalds and Burger King are direct competitors.
- Indirect competitors have a similar product, but a different revenue goal.
- Finally, replacement competitors have a similar goal, but provide a different “replacement” product.
Understanding which type of competitor whose market scheme you’ll be analyzing can help you decide if going in the opposite direction is the right way to proceed.
What Isn’t Being Done
It may seem complex to try to figure out what someone is not doing. However, it becomes much simpler when you look at it from the opposite angle. What marketing schemes interest you? Take, for example, Pinterest marketing. Would you notice right away if your direct competitor is or is not marketing on Pinterest, or if he has chosen not to hire content writers so he can take advantage of guest blogging opportunities? Probably not. However, if you take this marketing method and then go prowling through it, not only will you be able to find out if this business in question is using it, you will probably find other companies that DO utilize it.
Analyzing Your Results
Once you see what your direct competition isn’t (and is) using, you need to do something with this information. Maybe your competition is not using direct mail as an advertising medium, but there could be a very good reason for this. Try to look at each possibility through the eyes of your competition and determine why the decision was made. If you do this, you will be able to see if it could be a good step for you and a way to set yourself apart.
Marketing is an art and a science. The art side of marketing encourages creativity, while the scientific side benefits from trial and error. If you are not afraid of standing out from the crowd, but have the expertise to know when standing out is worthwhile, you will find the best ways to “do what they don’t” and build your success on the shoulders of the competition.
Tracy S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.