Giving Competitors Your Energy

Published: April 24, 2024

Over the last 10 years of working at Carrot, we have seen multiple new competitors enter the market. It’s tempting to stop what you are doing and start creating marketing material that refutes their claims or directly challenges their unique selling proposition.

Over time, we have learned that this is a waste of energy and often results in short term results but distracts from longer term impact.

But there is a balancing act – when does it make sense to market against new competitors vs ignore them and keep your head down?

Free Marketing

Consider this, if you write a blog post or a Twitter thread about a new competitor in your market, you are making the assumption EVERYONE that is in your sphere of influence knows about the new entrant.

But if they don’t – you are ensuring they do with your FREE marketing of their service or product.

I am not saying you can’t talk about competitor products or have compare us type pages on your sales site. But be aware that you likely care about new companies entering your market more than customers, so don’t blast out a bunch of FREE PR for their brand.

Punching above or below?

Generally speaking you want your company to be seen punching above its weight. What that means is you should be marketing or challenging the status quo of bigger and more established companies.

If you are seen punching below, that means you are talking down to smaller or newer competitors and for some human psychology reason – that leaves a bad taste in people’s mouth.

Ultimately you want to be a positive influence in the industry and helping smaller competitors build goodwill, while directly challenging much larger competitors is seen as a fair fight.

Distraction = acquisition

If you feel a competitor is distracting you or your team when it comes to product development, sales calls, or other general marketing activities – you need to have your team on the same page as you.

I would suggest you write a script for everyone in the company to use when talking about XYZ competitor. Try and focus the script on the following

  1. How your unique selling proposition is different or better
  2. Inform the lead that you are looking for the best outcome for them – no matter the product they choose
  3. Refute or clarify any claims the competitor is making with objective data
  4. Acknowledge when they have areas of their product that are better
  5. Ask deeper questions of the prospect to understand if your product is a good fit

Competition = Inspiration

A competitor entering the market is a great way to humble you and your team. If they truly do build a better or comparable product (maybe in half the time) it should inspire you.

It’s time to get with your team, roll up your sleeves and get to work. If a competitor can make XYZ feature in 6 months – you need to go back to your roadmap and make sure you have innovation or new products to talk about sooner rather than later.

If you have enjoyed being the category leader in your space for a while – wake up. Others have noticed and are thinking of a better way to solve the same problems you do.

Competition is always coming, but don’t get paralyzed by analyzing what they are doing, how they are building it, which customers they stole, etc. Instead, use their motivation as fuel to your fire to get building and get back to problem solving.

The reality is most markets can afford to have several competitors offering identical services. Look how many beer brands have exploded in the last decade.

But focus on what you can control (your brand, your product, your customer support, etc) and be aware of the competition. But don’t let it distract or drain your energy.

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Published By Alex

I am a seasoned SaaS marketer and leader who has helped Carrot grow to an 8-figure SaaS business. In my free time I enjoy reading business and personal growth books, hacking on side projects and hunting.