The surprising truth about your biggest competitor

One of the things that keeps most business owners up at night is their competition.

And rightfully so – dominating your sector is a surefire strategy for success.

But before you design your marketing strategy around knocking another company off its perch, it’s important to understand what your biggest competitor really is – inaction.

In the words of Seth Godin: “The biggest competitor most marketers face is ‘none.’ Inaction always has the biggest market share of all.

Nissan’s biggest competitor isn’t Toyota. It’s drivers opting to hold onto their current car for another few years.

Your local pub’s main rival isn’t the bar across town. It’s people choosing to stay in and a have a few at home.

And a web developer’s biggest competition isn’t another freelancer or agency. It’s the local business with the website straight out of 1998 thinking it looks just fine, thank you very much.

 

What this means for your marketing

Realising this is the key to running a marketing strategy that makes an impact.

For example, there might be 500 people who see a physiotherapist every month in your area. But there could be 5,000 who suffer from chronic pain that could be treated by physiotherapy.

The opportunity for a physiotherapist here is clear: you’ll have the best chance of success focusing on showing the value and benefits of physiotherapy to those 5,000 potential clients than you would competing with the other local practices over a pool of 500 existing clients.

How to create a demand for your product or service where there is none

To create this demand among people who were previously uninterested in your product or service, take a leaf out of car manufacturers’ books.

Most people who buy a new car don’t need one. Our vehicles are almost never falling apart when we head to the dealership.

And car manufacturers know this. Their adverts are designed to create a desire for their new model among the people who weren’t actively on the market for a car.

In other words, BMW aren’t trying to convince Mercedes drivers to replace their C-Class for an M3. They’re trying to create a desire among Ford and Kia drivers for a sportier, flashier car that didn’t exist before.

You can apply this to your own business by focusing your marketing efforts on people who aren’t already buying what you’re selling from someone else on what benefits the product or service you’re selling would have for them.

A copywriter should focus on creating content that shows how much better a well-written sales letter performs compared to a poorly executed one.

A piano teacher should post videos of their student’s progress to social media, as well as glowing customer testimonials.

An SEO agency should fill its website with stats about the impact search engine optimisation can have on a website’s performance and a business’s bottom line.

Market like Jamie Oliver

Love him or loathe him, the fact is that Jamie Oliver is one of the world’s most famous chefs, so it’s clear we can all learn a little from his marketing strategy.

His first ever TV series, The Naked Chef, was targeted at young, working class men. In 1999, when the series was first aired, this was a demographic that typically didn’t cook.

Instead of competing against the likes of Delia Smith and Nigella Lawson for middle-class viewers, Oliver targeted an untapped niche and got a completely new demographic interested in cooking.

When this audience wanted a cook book, they bought one from the person they knew and trusted – Jamie Oliver.

This strategy not only launched Oliver’s career – it’s propelled him to become the second-best-selling British author of all time, behind only J. K. Rowling.

Don’t try and sell steak to a vegan

One quick caveat: there’s no use chasing a lost cause.

No matter how good your marketing is, dog owners aren’t going to buy your catnip, teetotalers aren’t going to buy your whiskey, and Vin Diesel isn’t going to buy your shampoo.

Of course, a smart marketing campaign will target the right customer personas so your messages aren’t falling on deaf ears.

If you need help creating a marketing strategy focused on targeting an untapped niche in your sector, get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to help.