Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

How to compete successfully in a crowded marketplace

I’d like to take a moment, to talk to you about your competitors – even if you think you don’t have any!

I have always been an advocate of moving away from the direct competition model of business. My model is about developing a business, which is very different from what’s currently available in your industry and a perfect fit for your niche – those people who want exactly what you are offering. You become the only choice for a select group. It’s a rewarding and highly profitable way to grow a successful business.

More than one type of competition

However, even with my business model, I have to be aware of the other areas of competition. Whilst many people think they have just one type of competitor, they have many. Ask most small business owners about their competition and they will tell you about businesses offering a similar service to their prospective customers or clients, as they do. That’s just one of the challenges you are competing against.

competition, competitors

For example:

  • You are competing against ignorance, the fact that prospective clients just don’t know how good you are yet.
  • You are competing against laziness, because it’s easier for people to stay with their current provider.
  • You are competing against invisibility, because people seldom look past the 1st page of search engine results.

Rising to the challenge

To market your business successfully, you need to address all the areas of competition. You need a marketing strategy, to ensure people know how good you are, before they buy from you or hire you. You need a marketing strategy, to make it easier for them to switch to you than to stay with their current, under performing provider. You need a marketing strategy, to increase your visibility to prospective clients and customers.

Those are just a few of the areas of competition, which you need to address if you want to grow a successful business. Of course, when you address the competitive challenges I gave in those 3 examples, you also solve the initial competition challenge, set by those companies competing against you.

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  1. Hi Jim,

    I have never thought of competition in terms of competing against ignorance and laziness. I, like you, tend to think in terms of differentiating and therefore, no competitors.

    Great reframe/extension of the concept of “competition”.

    As always, I am amazed and inspired by your ability to provide powerful content with such economy of words.

    Thanks for being one of my mentors,

  2. Just be the best and crack on with it!

    Competition in business is fine, and several people can make a living in a shared market place, but who aims to be average? Probably lots of people judging by what I see when I look around. But perhaps the average companies are more profitable? Be the best average company.

    McDonalds don’t make the best burgers, but they make the most consistent burgers on a massive scale. Markets are often huge and there is a place for everyone. But wether you want to pile it high and sell it cheap or stick to small but very profitable volumes that’s fine.

    Build it and they will come! Perhaps that won’t work if you’re just average, but you have a much better chance if you are remarkable, the best! Additionally if you are remarkable then your marketeers have something to remark upon!

    So, build the best one, and they may show if you back it up with a reasonable marketing campaign! Equally, what’s the point marketing something which is clearly not ready for market just yet?

  3. This post served as a timely reminder for me, Jim. Thanks for sharing it.

    As a financial advisor, I regularly am confronted with competition from all the sources you mentioned above, but I sometimes lose sight of this and get too narrowly focused on “external” competition only.

    And when you consider my target market is widows and divorcees, I’m also competing against a variety of emotions that can change day-to-day as these women recover from these transitions in their lives and work on moving forward.

    It’s a challenge to be sure, but it is rewarding work.

    Thanks again for your marketing wisdom.

    • Hi Russ. It’s always great to see professionals in your field, who have the foresight to specialise. SO many within financial services are generalists.

      Glad you find the ideas I share here useful, Russ. That’s what it’s all about for me.

  4. Hi Jim,

    I very much enjoyed this post. It is brilliant to think of competition (as you put it) as also an internal thing. I have never thought of it in this way.

    That we are competing against our clients “fractured will” is an interesting point that you make. I’ve actually found that with some of our clients, that I can only take them so far and then something competes (often fear) with me for their courage…



  5. Beautiful Post. I liked the concept of competition . I thought it competition here means the one we have with our market audience. But have got to know something knew. Great Post Jim Thank You for sharing this out with us.

  6. Very true! I am working on developing a strategic plan that will set us aside from the competition. It is difficult to manuever around “NO”.

  7. A very different perspective on competition Jim. I like this approach, better than focusing on the competition and getting sucked into attacking people or companies personally. I don’t believe in achieving due to other people’s weaknesses, rather on my strengths.

  8. From an economic stand point, competition allows supply and demand to set the prices consumers will pay for products. However, I gave the competition from ignorance and laziness much thought.

    I like your marketing orientation with supplying your specific product in a niche where the customer needs or wants your product.

    In order to overcome laziness and ignorance, I think a detailed marketing plan that lays out your strategy would be essential.

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