Spying on Your Competitors

June 20, 2011
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Spying: “The more you ‘spy’ on your competitors, your industry, and yourself, the more opportunities you’ll find to improve.”

“Spying” sounds like one of those odd words or phrases we should never admit to… a little like picking your nose in public. Some things should never be said, heard or seen! Spying has this underground connotation because of being connected to espionage and theft, even worse. But as we are Guerrilla Marketers there are no holds barred. We openly encourage and participate in spying on our competitors – there are no secrets in this methodology. We don’t only spy on competitors however, when we say no holds barred we mean it.  “The more we ‘spy’ on our competitors, our industry, and ourselves, the more opportunities we’ll find to improve.”

In recent times there are a number of factors which find a real need for Guerrilla Marketing techniques. These are highly affordable access to technology, relaxation of regulations within governments, decentralization, revolutionized consciousness and the downsizing of massive corporate businesses. These factors have gravitated people toward starting their own small businesses by the millions. What has also happened is that record numbers of these small businesses are failing. This failure is in chief due to the inability to understand marketing.

When we consider the small business Guerrilla Marketing has been proven in practice to work. It works all over the world, for every kind of business and it works because it is simple to understand. It offers marketing awareness and certainty, is ridiculously inexpensive in a high-priced economy, but you have to learn to spy. After all spying is not all bad – it’s not like asking you to unpack your nostrils in public.

There are five keys to spying the Guerrilla way and if it makes you feel better – let’s just call it market research, however it pays to remember we are warriors and not worriers. This is the only way to know how your products and your business will compare against competitors. Basically we are asking for an objective comparison between all your operations and theirs. You know how the saying goes, ‘keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer’ – know your enemy!

Launch your spying Guerrilla-style offensive by ordering a product – from yourself. Then order one from a competitor; evaluate each step involved and appropriate your competitors’ strengths, while at the same time denuding your weaknesses.

Pay them a visit – remember visit yourself first, then go and see your competitor to spy out his land. Copy any ideas you believe might make your online presence or store more exciting. Give them a phone call if this is appropriate, see just how helpful they are. Ask them to send you something, this does not have to be a purchase, it can be an electronic brochure or some information to your Gmail address. See how they handle the request and how long it takes for you to receive the information. Compare how your business would handle the same and make the alterations.

Once the spying offensive is complete, compare all notes and points again. If you are long on ego and short on good sense, it would be a good idea to get someone else to do the comparison for you. Let them be brutally honest and compare service, product, packaging, people, look and the layout of the website or store. Once an honest evaluation has been made, its time to put the spying to use. Simply improve on every point.

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