Warning: Competitor Distractions Ahead

Being obsessed with your competitors’ activities can be a bad thing. When you work in marketing or product management, detailing what the competition is saying about their products and services as well as yours can often be a full-time job. It IS important, no doubt. But is there a point of no return where you’ve lost focus on your own business? I’ve been thinking more about this phenomenon recently as I’ve worked with different clients over the past several years. The creation and development of the Internet has made the opportunity to discover what others are doing just too good to resist. It’s easy to spend hours online digging for some nugget that might help you get an edge. If you attend conferences or industry events, you may find your competitor is willing to spend big bucks on a keynote address, thereby creating a perception that your company is not a thought-leader. My guess is that’s not true. Instead of spending time monitoring your competition’s every move, focus on your strategic plan. Make sure it’s a working document that has overall objectives, strategies and tactics in place that focus on your strengths and exploit what you’ve determined to be your competition’s weakness. Resist the urge to react to every move they make – and continually think about new ways to increase the equity in your brand. Bring in outside thinkers to help you reimagine how you can interact with your customers. If you work in a larger business and don’t have direct contact with customers, find the people who do and spend more time with them. Ask to accompany them to a meeting – you’ll be surprised at what you might learn. If you treat competitive activity like any other data point in your business, you’ll automatically incorporate it into your strategic plan. This will provide the right structure for keeping you and your team on task to grow and not become subject to the distractions of competitor activity that can sidetrack any business, large or small.


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