Know your enemy: Who or what is your competition?

couch potato

If you’ve been following along with the back-to-school personal marketing campaign you have now finished one quick and easy ad about your goal. I suggest you let that ad run for awhile on your bathroom mirror, and notice any ways that it seems to influence your thoughts or behavior. This week we’re going to dig deeper and begin to apply more of marketer’s mindset to your personal ad campaign.

For those who are just joining us the series began with How to choose a goal for your back-to-school marketing campaign. This current article is a fine place to jump in too, as long as you know what goal you want to work on. I do recommend that you go back and do the market research about yourself at some point.

The Competitive Analysis

A marketer’s job is to create an opportunity that’s more desirable to the consumer than its competition. In order to design in this competitive advantage you need to know two things:

  • What does your target demographic care about?
  • What are the characteristics of the competition?

We’ve already done the market research to find out what you care about in Put your customer first. This week we’re going to identify and study your competition.

Competition is always present. It may exist in the form of influences that passively tempt you or even actively persuade you to behave differently than you want to.

Expert social marketers quickly recognize that, for every new behavior they want to propose, there is one or more alternative behaviors they will be fighting against. Life for everyone is a matter of minute-by-minute choices. Individuals do what they do at any given time because they think that the net consequences will be better for them than some other course of action, including doing nothing.

Marketing Social Change (Andreasen 1995)

For example, let’s say your goal is to lose weight. Your competition might be chocolate. (I didn’t say this was going to be easy!) Or if your goal is to exercise more, the competition might be sleeping in or watching TV.

If you’re trying to save money your competition might be from other advertisers who persuade you to spend money on things you don’t want or need. Get Rich Slowly wrote a great post recently about how advertising can influence you to spend money.

Competition can be direct or indirect. Direct competition is an alternative that’s similar to your desired behavior, such as eating cookies instead of salad, or spending money on awesome electronic toys instead of saving it.

Indirect competition is a different activity that meets the same needs. For example, if your goal is to be more relaxed and your target behavior is meditation, you might be competing with other things that also feel relaxing to you, like watching TV or drinking beer.

Over the course of the next week notice all the things that seem to be competing with your target goal or behavior change. Know your enemy. What needs do those things meet? How do they do it differently or better than the behavior you want to adopt? What’s good (easier) about doing them instead of behavior that leads to your goal? Especially look for the weaknesses in those competing behaviors. so you can develop a marketing message that exploits their disadvantages.

Your action steps

  1. Make a list of things that directly and indirectly compete with your target goal.
  2. Note their strengths and weaknesses.
  3. If you need to finish the market research on yourself, take another look at Put your customer first. We’ll be using your notes from that assessment next week.
  4. Join us on Monday for your next step.

Other articles in this series

  • Week 1 – Choose a goal
  • Week 2 – Do market research on yourself
  • Week 3 – Write a slogan for the campaign
  • Week 4 – Take a picture of yourself having the outcome you want
  • Week 5 – Analyze the competition
  • Week 6 – Decide how to position your behavior change
  • Week 7 – Choose a prop to enlist the people around you to talk about your goal
  • Week 8 – Look for opportunities to simulate the experience/outcome you want
  • Week 9 – Make and deliver your personal ad
  • Week 10 – Project wrap-up

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