There is really no such thing as a business that has no competition. If a venture is fortunate enough to launch as the first of its kind, it will only be a very short time before others will try to capitalize on its ideas and successes by replicating the business model or offerings. Competitive advantage is where one company's products, services, or prices set it apart from all the others and make it a more desirable choice for consumers. The most successful businesses understand that achieving and maintaining a competitive advantage requires keeping an eye on their competition.
1. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
By failing to advertise where your competitors are, you are handing them a competitive advantage. Your competition is savvy enough to understand that they have to go where their target audience spends their time, and they make certain that their ideal customer sees their ads. A 2019 study found that 77% of brands could disappear without notice by consumers, reinforcing the old adage out of sight, out of mind. If you want to be overlooked, this is a good way to achieve it.
For example, over 1 billion consumers use Instagram each month. Of those users, 81% research new products and services on the platform. By failing to recognize this and meeting your rivals head to head on the same stage, you will likely be passed over by your potential customers. There is no reason to hand your competition the advantage without leveraging that same opportunity.
2. Your Competition Could Already Have a Successful Marketing Strategy in Place
Why not let your competition do some of the work for you? There is a reason they are advertising on certain platforms over others. Assume your rivals are advertising in the most opportune places and capitalize on that strategy. A hefty 70% of marketers achieve their goals most of the time, so even if your research shows other opportunities, you can't afford to ignore your competitors' marketing tactics, or you'll risk being overshadowed.
Remember, you are fighting for market share. That means you should never underestimate your rival or allow them the opportunity to have more influence over your potential customers than you do. Keep in mind that 90% of consumers haven't made their minds about which brand to purchase, so you want to make sure that you are top of mind as they make their decisions. It is critical to keep track of your competitors' movements and learn from their strategies to ensure that you not only maintain the competitive advantage over your rivals but win even more market share.
3. You're Not in the Metaphorical Fight
Just in case you haven't fully realized the message, it bears repeating that keeping track of your competitors is critical to your business's success. The most successful businesses don't underestimate their competitors but keep tabs on their strategies. It should be no surprise that 90% of Fortune 500 companies use competitive intelligence to help their companies stay on top. Monitoring your rivals allows you to show up and give them a run for their money with the same target audience and provides the opportunity to observe and leverage their marketing strategies.
By not advertising where your competitors are, you're essentially giving away potential customers or clients and accelerating the demise of your competitive advantage. One example of a company that failed to realize that brand recognition doesn't last forever is Sears, Roebuck, and Co. They failed to notice that times were changing, and their competition had modernized their business models. Failure to monitor changing tastes, trends, and competitor behavior means that you are relegating your business to the past and handing over the market share to the ones who are embracing change.
Maintain Your Competitive Advantage With Informed Strategies
It's absolutely true that information is power. It is what drives successful companies. The information about what your ideal customer looks for in a product, where they spend their time, and where your competition is trying to reach them gives you a blueprint upon which to build your marketing strategy. You recognize that you must pay to play by investing your marketing efforts to advertise where your competitors are and where your customers are most likely to meet your competition.
That also means that you can't dismiss or underestimate your competition. You need to assume they've done their due diligence and perhaps could have some insight that you may have overlooked. Whether that is ultimately true or not, you must show up where your rivals advertise and remind your customers that you are not only a major player in the industry but that you are the better choice. By working with an experienced and successful media partner, you can leverage their experience, research, and relationships to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage and, ultimately, reach your business goals.