When I lived in the United States during my life, I really enjoyed one of their expressions “Keep Up with the Jones”. I think it was always quite a funny way of putting and expressing each of our fears of being left behind and (rightly or wrongly) our own desires to be ahead of the pack – or at least catch up when our insecurity kicks in.
One conundrum I have always felt as a Marketer is Competitor Research. That is, as an early Marketer you are always trained to be Outward Focused, keeping an eye on the Market, Your Target Market, General Changes in Industry and of course your competitors.
A Top Key Strategy that I have always followed from day 1 in my career (as taught to me officially by Monash University some years ago) is the importance of studying competitors. That is, competitors that are better than you and getting the results you want. I have done that always in my own business and after a few years, people are now studying me which I am really flattered about. It’s not as easy as it sounds however, as it’s very easy to get bummed out. In my case, I have just crossed 2,000 Facebook Likes and one competitor is pushing 20,000 Likes! Even though I have learnt some amazing insights and tools which I am already applying, it’s as easy to get “Bummed Out” and at least in my case think:
– Aww Gee, How on Earth am I going to get there? How long is this going to take?
Then the frustration and destructive emotions can kick in. I think the challenge of effective competitor research in Small Business Marketing is really doing it in a reasonable way and being nice to yourself as part of the process. I am always too hard on myself (to the point of it being negative / destructive / not helpful) and my own lesson that is coming to the surface lately especially is:
– There are many Worse, Better and at Your level. Keep an eye out, but just push yourself to your personal best.
The ultimate answer to me in keeping up with the Jones is Mark Zuckerberg & Bill Gates. Leaders of our time that have done amazingly well, so if you get to deep into the trap of “Having to Keep Up” you will have to be insecure until you beat those guys (even if you overtake a few of your friends).
For me, I am really appreciating the importance of working to ones personal best. Sure, study people greater than you – apply your logic, but for whatever Market & Theological reasons everyone in life gets different results.
As long as you are working to your personal best and living your life as best as you can, then you can smile at the end of the day.
I wish I had this Epiphany 10 years ago! Have a great day or night everyone – and keep up the fine Small Business Marketing out there!