As Dan Gregory, founder and CEO at strategic consultancy The Impossible Institute, points out, most businesses are so busy looking at their own operations that they fail to look at what their competitors are doing – or, more importantly, not doing.
“Who actually follows what their competitors are doing and what their customers are complaining about? This is a huge opportunity that so many businesses are under-utilising,” he told the Sensis Digital Marketing Forum.
Dan pointed to the example of Air New Zealand, which took a staple of the airline industry – the pre-flight safety video – and turned it on its head using themes such as The Lord of The Rings to make its videos stand out from its competitors'. It worked so well that the videos went viral on social media, generating a wealth of marketing exposure at very little cost.
My Business has previously outlined other examples of nimble small businesses identifying customer frustrations with their larger competitors, and how they have exploited these frustrations to add scale and credibility to their own business – with the booming logistics sector and Australia Post being a case in point.
But according to Dan and other panelists at the forum, SMEs have a distinct competitive advantage over big businesses because of the proximity they have with their customers, and the reactivity they can display in meeting changing consumer needs.
As such, Dan urged all SME owners to take a good look at what their competitors are doing poorly, to identify new opportunities to expand their own customer base and compete more effectively.