Sell Me Their Eyeballs

You competition is more brutal than you may have realized.

Mostly because your biggest competitors probably aren’t who you think they are…  

I’ll share a tiny example, then a giant one.

Some years back, the Illinois Small Business Development Center used to bring me in to teach marketing during its entrepreneurial training programs.

Part of the job was to help the trainees understand what they’d face out there in the real world — and give them tools to win.

I remember one young guy named Omar. He was brimming with energy and ambition. He wanted to open a smoothie shop with healthy food alternatives for high schoolers.

Good stuff.

He was the first trainee to go over his assignment aloud during class.

While talking about his business plan, he listed his main competitors as Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds.

Now, it’s hard to be the person who bursts the bubble of anyone so full of excitement… but that was the job.

I told him — in front of the entire class (because they needed to hear this too)…

…that he was wrong.

Starbucks may have been his most visible competition.

But Omar’s smoothies would have to compete with every other rival fighting for the attention and dollars of his target audience.

And Lord knows teenagers have their eyes divided between a lot of sugar-coated options.

His healthy, pricey smoothies would have to earn their way onto the priority list.

Not just against other beverages the teens were already in the habit of buying…

But against ALL snacks… fashion items… gasoline for their cars, etc.

That competition is fierce — and I wanted Omar and the others to understand the scale of the battle they were engaged in.

That’s the small example.

The giant example gets the point much faster.

It’s this quote from Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix:

"At Netflix, we are competing for our customers’ time, so our competitors include Snapchat, YouTube, sleep, etc.”

Sleep is hard to beat.

But it’s even harder when you don’t know that’s what you’re fighting against.

Do the research.

Find out what you’re really competing with.

Adjust your game plan… and play to win.

Related: "Infotainment"​ Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be