Competition ain’t what it used to be

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You may not have thought that Harley Davidson’s main competitor was a living room extension, but it is. In this VLOG, Grant Leboff explains that today, companies that you should class as competitors isn’t as obvious as it appears.

You may not have thought that Harley Davidson’s main competitor was a living room extension, but it is.

Let me explain. People often think of a competitor as someone in the same category as them. For example an accountant competing with another accountant or a recruitment company competing with another recruitment company but actually, a competitor is anybody that is going after the same spending dollars as yourself.

In Harley Davidson’s case, when people are thinking about purchasing the bike, they often choose between that or the holiday of a lifetime or an extension to their living room by means of a conservatory.

Let me give you another example; for a special birthday someone might choose between having an expensive watch or a lovely camera. Suddenly Nikon and Omega find themselves competing, even though they do completely separate things.
So when considering your competition, you need to think about the spend that your customers will make and what else they will consider when they’re choosing you as a possible provider.

Today, competition has got even more complex because even when you are competing with people in the same category as you, the business model can look very, very different. For example, in the old days, Hilton hotels would be competing with businesses that look very much like them, for example, Holiday Inn or Marriott, but today they’re competing with Airbnb – a business that has a completely different model for themselves. Similarly, television companies are now competing with people like Amazon Prime and Netflix for the same viewers, but against very, very different business models.

But don’t be too quick to just dismiss competitors. What we sometimes tend to do is think of the competition as people we can never address and work with, but in today’s world of niche, often we can work with competitors. For example, the New York Times has a competitor in Facebook and yet it uses that platform to distribute its content. We know that Apple and Google are competitors, and yet when you look at your iPhone, the default search engine is Google. And speaking of Apple, they worked with another one of their competitors, Samsung, in manufacturing components for their media devices.

So when planning your marketing strategy and assessing the competition, think about the business models and how those compete against yours. Think about the wider horizon and who else is competing for the spend that you want who are not necessarily direct competitors. And also think about how you can work with some of your competition to, perhaps, improve your own offering and gain attention of your audience.
And now I’m going to go and fulfil all my dreams and fantasies by picking out the conservatory of a lifetime.

There may be small changes to the spoken word in this transcript in order to facilitate the readability of the written English

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  1. Hadn’t thought of competitors in respect of same spending dollars but totally different business like the Harley example. I’m thinking I could do something with that. Thanks.

    1. Author

      Thank you Mary. I am pleased that you found the information useful.

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