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Brian Tracy! Art of Marketing! Competitive analysis

Art of Marketing

Chapter 07. Competitive analysis

Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer

to where you want to be tomorrow. ― Paulo Coelho

In military strategy,

every decision is made

as a result of the process of thinking and understanding

what the enemy is doing and is capable of doing.

That’s sometimes called a “competitive response.”

It is an important factor in your decision making in a competitive market.

For this reason,

competitive analysis is one of the important activities

that you need to keep an eye on.

That’s the starting point of differentiating your product or service

from all your competitors.

It forces you to understand your competitors

and understand the benefits

and qualities of their products or services on a deeper level.

Taste the relish to be found in competition in having put forth the best within you. ― Henry Kaiser


Identify competitors

Who are your rivals?

Competition determines your price,

market segmentation,



product and service mix,

and profitability.

It also determines your success or failure,


profits and return on investment.

Knowing your competition is essential.

Again, let’s use the military example:

You can’t win on the battlefield

without carefully examining and studying your enemy,

then using that understanding

to defeat your enemy on the battlefield.

Same in the marketplace.

You also need to seriously ask yourself

why people are buying from your competitors.

What benefits and advantages do they see

when buying from your competitors?

What strengths do your competitors possess

and what can you do to offset those strengths?

Without the spur of competition we’d loaf out our life. ― Arnold Glasow


Why should they change suppliers?

“Why should they change suppliers?”

is another question related to your customer

who is currently using your competitor’s product.

Why should people switch from a supplier

they are satisfied with to buy your product or service?

You must answer the question in 20 words or less.

If you can’t answer quickly and convincingly,

that means you may not know what the answer is.

It is generally agreed that you need

at least three reasons for customers

to switch from a supplier they are quite satisfied

with now to buying your product or service for the first time.

What are these three reasons?

How do you present them to stimulate a purchase action

in a segment of potential customers?

One of the most effective sources of competitive analysis is

to ask people who aren’t your customers

why they prefer your competitor’s product.

Sometimes their answers will give you more insight

to tailor your products

and services to neutralize the advantage your competitors have.

“If you’re not as rich as you’d like,

there’s something you don’t know.”– David Wood


What are your competitors?

“What are your competitors?” different from

“Who are your competitors?”

Typically, your competitor is not another company selling a similar product

or service that competes with you;

Instead, there could be market neglect:

People don’t know about your product or service

and what they benefit from using it.

It could mean that you don’t need advertising

or marketing to compete with your competitors,

but rather increasing market awareness through public relations,


and promotions.

When I worked for Carnival Cruise Lines

as a speaker and trainer,

I asked company executives,

“What are your competitors?”

They know the answer very well.

Those are not other yachts at all.

It is people’s habit of traveling on land instead of at sea.

They feel that only about 5%

of the total cruise tourism customer market has been tapped.

A lot of people are convinced that vacations on land are superior.

Their real competition is the perception of the difference

between a vacation on shore and a vacation at sea.

When speaking to an audience of entrepreneurs,

I have shown that 80% of their potential customers

don’t even realize the existence of their company

or product in the market.

Even with all the advertising,

promotions and sales your company is doing,

the entire 80% of potential customers don’t even know you exist.

Link to your competitors and say nice things about them.

Remember, you are part of an industry. ― Robert Scoble


Challenge your assumptions

What are your key assumptions about your competitors?

False assumptions are at the root of all marketing failures.

Could your assumptions about your opponent be wrong?

If so, what should you do differently?

We are living in an era

Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy.

In 2006, before these phones came out,

Nokia accounted for 49%

and BlackBerry had 29% of the mobile phone market.

When the first iPhone was announced in 2006

and released in 2007,

both Nokia and BlackBerry made the same fatal mistake.

They say:

“iPhone is just a toy;

No one wants a device that can help them communicate,

connect with friends,

and integrate reading,

messaging and applications.

It’s a passing passion that we don’t need to keep an eye on.”

Today, both companies are on the verge of decline

because they made false assumptions about the impact

of the iPhone on the mobile phone market.

They took down two of the biggest brands in the world market

and threw them in the trash in just five years.

What are your assumptions about your competitors

– including what they are doing

and what they might do in the future?

The biggest mistake most of us often make in relation

to our competitors is “misjudgment”.

We underestimate intelligence,


and the desire to stay ahead in the race

for market share and profits.

Always assume that your competition is as smart,




and thoughtful as you are in terms

of customer acquisition tricks.

Never underestimate them.

Ask yourself: “What are they doing right?”

Once you know the right things they’re doing,

which allows them to achieve sales and market share,

ask yourself if you can creatively imitate your competitors

to impress your potential customers.


The time your game is most vulnerable is when you’re ahead.

Never let up. ― Rod Laver


Who is not your competitor?

A final point in competitive analysis is to examine those

who are not your competitors.

Who is selling products and services

to your customers but not competing

with you?

Observing people who are not your competitors will sometimes

it helps enlighten your mind

and allow you to spot potential market opportunities.

Today, the use of strategic alliances

and joint ventures with non-competitive companies

is a powerful marketing technique.

Look for a successful supplier,

a company that is not your competition,

who is selling products and services to customers

who are definitely your potential customers.

Approach this supplier and make an offer.

Tell them that if they refer you to their customers,

you will refer them to your customers.

Dell provided the majority of its computer products

by the Internet and by telephone.

One day, the company entered into a strategic alliance with Walmart.

Its sales grew to billions of dollars

and made Dell temporarily the world’s largest maker

of personal computers.

What kind of strategic alliance can you join

to reach a mutually beneficial agreement?

The great military strategist Sun Tzu famously said:

“Knowing people know me,

a hundred battles will not be miserable;

know people who don’t know me,

win one lose one;

If you don’t know me,

don’t know you,

a hundred battles will lead to a hundred defeats.”

When you know the strengths and weaknesses

of your products and services,

and know the strengths and weaknesses,

as well as the actions or behaviors of your competitors,

you will be “one hundred battles,

one hundred wins” in the marketplace.

Never ever compete on prices,

instead compete on services and innovation. ― Jack Ma

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