When you ask most businesses who their competitors are, they’ll name competing businesses within the same category and the same location.

 

For McDonalds, it’s KFC and Burger King. For Hoyts Cinemas it’s Events, Reading and Dendy. For Fitness First it’s Anytime Fitness, F45, Jetts and Snap.

 

But people hire products and services to solve a need. And when we define our customers’ needs narrowly, we overlook opportunities to win their attention.

 

Is a customer of Hoyts fulfilling a need to watch a movie? Or more broadly to be entertained? Is a customer of McDonalds fulfilling a need to eat a burger? Or more broadly to satisfy their hunger?

 

When we ask ourselves the question “what other options could my customer choose?” we find the list of competitors extends far beyond those which immediately spring to mind. 

 

We learn that McDonalds isn’t just competing with KFC and Burger King, it is competing with every other food option available. We learn that Fitness First isn’t just competing with other gyms, it’s competing with team sport, bootcamps, DIY fitness and even inactivity.

 

It is this work that helps us truly understand our competitors, identify opportunities, delve further into the motivation of our customers and develop campaigns which will help us win.