Should competitors shape your marketing?

This newsletter comes from the hosts of The Marketing Architects, a research-first show answering your biggest marketing questions. Find us on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts!


What are the risks of focusing too much on competitors? Can viewing competitors as villains benefit your brand? When should a CMO consider a rebrand? We explore these questions and more in this week’s issue on competition in marketing. 



Brands share customers according to market share.      

The law of purchase duplication shows that customers buy from multiple brands in the same category. How often they buy from each depends on competitor market share, so it's crucial to stay ahead of the competition.          


Staying ahead of the competition doesn’t mean obsessing over them.   

Understanding your competition is important, but focusing on them too much can lead to reactive (rather than proactive) strategies. Here’s how we recommend thinking about your rivals for consumer dollars: 

  1. Balance Focus. While it’s important to be aware of what your competitors are doing, overemphasis can lead to short-term thinking and a loss of brand identity.
  2. Use Competition as a Catalyst. Viewing competitors as 'villains' to your ‘hero’ can help rally your team and refine your brand’s mission. However, this sometimes works better as an internal motivator rather than an external messaging strategy.
  3. Differentiate Through Category Design. Creating and dominating a unique category can set you apart and capture most market economics. If you can't be first in a category, make your own category.
  4. Strategic Advertising Spend. Evaluate your advertising spend against industry benchmarks and your competitors’ share of voice. This helps in understanding what it takes to grow market share. 

Focusing on what’s not being done in your industry encourages radical innovation and establishes your brand as a leader rather than a follower. 

Listen in on our discussion.


"Distinctive Brand Assets” 

Jenny Romaniuk’s Distinctive Brand Assets provides a comprehensive guide on how to map out and use your brand’s unique assets to stand out in a crowded market. Essential reading for any marketer looking to refresh or reinforce their brand’s identity. 

Read the book.



The Necessity of Distinction                 

"Your most dangerous competitors are those that are most like you."  

— Bruce Henderson, Founder of Boston Consulting Group