Are You More Concerned with Competitors than Customers?
Comparison is the thief of joy, and it also might be killing your customer experience. Don’t get me wrong — it is critical that we understand the landscape that we do business in. We need to know what offers are available to a customer to know how our products and services compare. But it’s also very easy for business leaders to get wrapped up in reconnaissance — registering for competitor’s webinars, monitoring their press releases and award announcements, and making assumptions about performance based on their outbound activity.
It’s easy to think we have a good understanding of the landscape while we may actually be spending more time in a very guarded sort of community that was replaced by competition. After all, we can’t just ask our competitors what’s working for them and what isn’t. Consider if we might be registering for webinars using covert emails and monitoring industry recognitions that customers aren’t paying attention to. How many times have we mimicked the tactics of our competitors without really knowing whether or not they were effective — before we put the labor into making the mistakes ourselves?
Focusing too closely on competitors can create an echo chamber where it’s possible to market to one another more than potential customers.
Competitors can’t tell us how to improve our customer experience, but our customers can. Customers can even tell us about our competitors, which Tara-Nicholle Nelson defined in Harvard Business Review as:
“Your competition is any and every obstacle your customers encounter along their journeys to solving the human, high-level problems your company exists to solve.”
Nelson goes on to say organizations that focus too much on competitors can find they’re just “assessing and iterating on” what is already out there. That means following competitors too closely can mean your organization will be one step behind or could be hard at work developing a “too little, too late” solution.
If we’re going to give anyone that much influence to drive our business decisions, it should be the customer. What could your organization gain if all of the meeting time, research time, development efforts, campaign strategies and other resources devoted to competing with other companies were redirected toward relentlessly meeting the needs of our customers?