An often-repeated saying goes, “Knowledge is power,” and indeed, all that information can be a huge leverage. Using your competitors’ data can be a huge boon for all the planning and strategizing you’re going to be doing for your business. Ken Courtright teaches you exactly how you can make all that data, all that information, work in your favor. With this in mind, you can fabricate a strategy that targets all your market’s greatest weaknesses. At the end of the day, in the right hands, having competition doesn’t always have to be disadvantageous.
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Use Your Competitors
This is episode 71. I’m calling this Use The Competition. I got done with a few days helping out the people at New Peak’s GMP, their Global Mastermind Program. People come in from all over the country and all over the world. My wife and I sit in and fine-tune different people’s businesses. I did a presentation on how to use the data drivers from competitors to your advantage. About halfway through the presentation, I said, “As a matter of fact, this is good. I’m going to go back home and re-record this and throw it into the podcast.” I got done presenting this information and I’m going to read right from my notes as this is a phenomenal wrap-up or addition to episodes 63 through 70, which was a 7 or 8-part series that walked a business owner, manager, and head of sales. I walked them through the how’s and the why’s a company or a division explodes in growth, flatlines and dies. Psychologically, why does that happen?
How can you stop that from happening again? What can you do exactly to make sure it never happens again and grows from today forward? I believe that if you open up the Growth Checkup Chart that you’ll find in KenCourtright.com, every company, no matter how big or small, will be able to find themselves on that chart at some point and find some tools that can fine-tune and explode growth. With that as the foundation 7 or 8-part episode, spotting your company and some potential weaknesses, and taking advantage of the type of information for growth. I’m going to go into a deep dive here, labeling out specific tools, specific websites, and all that can be done for no cost. If you want a copy of these notes, go to KenCourtright.com, click on Books. Underneath Books, there’s a subsection of Books and Presentations. I made a copy of this Word document into a PDF and it is on that page.
Business Strategy Defined
This is episode 71, using our competition. Let’s start with the definition of business strategy. Business strategy is leveraging a company’s greatest strength against a challenge or a market’s greatest weakness. Here are some examples. A company with 500 direct selling reps decides to add a new product line. What could or be that company’s greatest strength? 500 door-knocking and phone-calling direct sales reps. If you add a new product and you educate 500 direct-selling reps, you could and probably get revenue from that near immediately. What about a company that has $20 million of cash in the bank and they’d decide to start a new product? What can they do that many companies can’t? What might be their greatest strength? It’s their cash. They could do national radio, highway billboards, TV, and mass-market more so than many smaller companies in their space.
A lot of people reading this might be thinking, “What can a bootstrapping one-person, ten-person, 100-person company that isn’t flushed with cash? What could they have as the greatest strength?” I believe that it’s insight and information. I believe that intellectual property is the most expensive commodity ever bought and ever sold. We would all agree that collectively, billions of dollars are spent daily by businesses and governments trying to collect information. Why did they do that? Good info saves and makes money. Good info equals leverage. Remember the definition of business strategy is leveraging your greatest strength against the market’s greatest weakness or your business challenge. Let’s shift back to the word competition because the title of this episode is Using Competition. Let’s turn our physical competitors. These are the actual companies we’re competing in the marketplace, into our greatest leverage.Your competitors can be your greatest leverage. Click To Tweet
Three Types Of Competition
How can we do that? The first thing we have to understand is there are three types of competition. There is entropic competition, that’s self-sabotage. I covered that in extreme detail in episode 20. There’s physical competition. I do a deep dive in episode 21 on physical competition, but then there’s present competition. I do a deep dive in episode 22 on the present competition. That is all the stuff that is physically in the way of causing money to flow into your bank account. We’re going to spend the rest of this episode on physical competition. To understand physical competition, I do have to paint a little bit of a picture of the present competition. We were in Martha’s Vineyard. My wife was sitting about 5 feet away as I was talking to the group. I turned to my wife and I said, “Kerri, do you know where Joe’s Hot Dogs is in Joliet, Illinois?”
It’s where we used to live. She goes, “Of course.” I said, “It’s been there for 50 years. It’s a staple in the community.” She goes, “Yeah.” I said, “What business is next store?” She looked up at the ceiling and she goes, “I have no idea.” I said to Kerri and the group, “What’s interesting is I’ve been asking this question for a couple of dozen years and the reality is right next door is Frank’s Electronics. I have never met anybody that lived in Joliet that knew right next door to Joe’s Hot Dogs. A famous place was Frank’s Electronics.” The reason is this, Joe’s Hot Dogs has a 30-foot massive huge electric neon sign with blinking lights and Frank’s Electronics has an old wooden sign. It’s still a big building, but it’s just an old little wooden sign. I’m specifically speaking of the 110,000 people a day that drive on State Highway Route 30, which is to me, that’s a river of potential clients.
Was Frank’s competition in this exercise is the other electronics company four miles down the road? No. His competitor to his cash register is Joe’s Hot Dogs. Frank doesn’t even realize that Joe’s Hot Dogs is his competitor. He is competing for all the eyeballs of everybody driving by. He’s got to recognize that, but he doesn’t. How does this relate? Right now, think of your business. If you’re a storefront, think of people walking in. If you have a website, think of other websites in the way. The present competition brings to light, are you aware of what your real competitors are? Not just the people you compete with physically, but when people drive by your store, do they see it? When people type common search terms in the industry to find you, are you there? Are they blinded by other things?
Are there other industries playing on your keywords? Are there other industry terms you should be playing at? When people open your site, do they even see the info you want them to see? Meaning, do you have a right to succeed website? I have an episode called the Right To Succeed website. If you don’t have one, your website is blind. You are allowing distractions to be neon signs and blinking lights. They’re going to bounce off your page in five seconds. Slightly different questions. Who was Frank’s biggest competitor? Frank’s competition is Joe’s Hot Dogs. We need to pay attention to the present competition. Let’s turn to physical competition. Physical Competition is anything physical or intangible that may visibly distract or derail a potential client or customer before, during, and after a sale.
Using Competitors To Our Advantage
This is huge on your website. Be sure to review episodes 20, 21 and 22 for further info. Now that we are aware there are different types of competition, how can we use physical competitors to our advantage? Let’s pretend it’s 1985 and we were all asked to come into a Fortune 100 company for a strategy session. This company is solid. They’re one of the top 100 largest companies in the world and they’re doing well. The board voted to put $100 million budget together to enter a new industry. In 1985, someone on the management team of this solid company said, “My dad and my grandpa used to wear hats. Let’s go into the men’s hat business.” Everybody said, “It’s not a bad idea. Hats have been around for thousands of years. Let’s start making hats.”
If they decided that they’re going into the world of hat, but they put a group together, which is everybody following this podcast and they said, “We need you to collectively think, become a think tank or a brain trust and put some drivers together, these are called data drivers, that the board would need to look at to see if this truly is a solid industry to go into.” What data drivers would we put together? When we were in this group in Martha’s Vineyard, we asked things like, “Is there a market? Is there a need? Is the need trending up or down? Who’s the target audience? Who’s the perfect customer? Who is currently buying the items? Are there major players in this industry? If so, who’s the best player and why are they the best?” Definitely, the most important and the most relevant question is, “How are men’s hats currently marketed?” That question needs to be asked on an annual basis as that changes.
We then went over to what is called strategic drivers. These are things like, “Can we hire someone who’s already dominated this space and bring them to our company? Are there new and different ways to do it? Think of Tesla, a new way to make a car. Can any current talent or equipment be used in our existing company, in this new company? Do we have a vision or connections the industry might not have?” In 1985, what would the large companies have to pay for this data? Maybe Andersen Consulting, who’s now turned into Accenture Consulting. I asked the group, I said, “What do you think in 1985 that company would have to pay? How long would they have to wait to get that data?” Everybody said collectively it would be about 90 days and probably $1 million. I held up my notes and I said, “You are right. It would be somewhere between $300,000 and $10 million for this data and it would take about three months. They would have a team of twenty people. Here’s what’s amazing. I wrote my notes and I got all this data in five seconds for free.”
We can get 90% of the info we need to know to compete exactly what to do and where to start in no time for free. The first screenshot in my notes is a website called SEMRush.com. I typed into the search bar of this website, “Hats for men” and I came up with a ton of information. It says the competition score is 1. That goes from 0.01 to 1. Meaning it’s a competitive space, which is excellent, the more competition, the better. I also found that the cost per click with Google is $0.66 and the average is $0.62. It’s inexpensive. Meaning if you compare this to the $180 per click that Notre Dame pays for their Master’s Degree Program, $0.66 is chump change. It’s competitive, but an easy to enter market. I found 4,200 similar phrases to men’s hats like men’s fedora hats and men’s baseball hats. It’s a great keyword volume. The bottom line, is there a market? Yes, it’s awesome.Intellectual property is the most expensive commodity ever bought and ever sold. Click To Tweet
How Google Ranks
The next image that I have is the top 100 players in this space. Who are the top 100 companies doing well and making money? I dug in who’s the single biggest player? It happens to be VillageHatShop.com. They are massive. They’ve had 7,000 companies linked back to them. They rank on 30,000 keywords and it’s amazing. If you want to understand what exactly it is I’m looking at, go to the episode called How Google Ranks. If you want to pass a competitor and leave them in the dust, study how Google ranks and improve everything by 50% and you’ll be in good shape. Digging into the biggest, I need to know a couple of things. I need to know how many other websites have mentioned it? There are 7,000. What is the pace or cadence at which they’re writing content? What I needed to do was find out how many phrases are they doing well on? There are 30,000. How many pieces of content does this website even have? They’re the biggest in the industry and they’re huge. I need to know exactly how many they have.
The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to go to Google and we’re going to type into Google Site:VillageHatShop.com and hit enter. When we hit enter, we’re going to see it has about 28,800 results, which means there are roughly 29,000 sections of Village Hat Shop in Google’s database. What we need to do is if you understand how the web works, you divide that number by five because 80% of all of that data in Google’s database is meta-tags and pictures. We want to know how many pieces of content were written and we’re going to get a right around 6,000. Now that we know how many posts they have, we need to know how long have they been writing. Meaning how many posts per week is Village Hat Shop averaged in its lifetime?
We open up another screenshot here and it’s called the Wayback Machine. You can find it at Archive.org. You simply type in VillageHatShop.com and you get this incredibly cool looking graph. It shows you they opened this domain name on June 12, 1998, eighteen years ago. It even shows you how and when they’ve been posting content. It is awesome. What does this mean? That means that the 6,000 posts divided by eighteen years divided by 52 weeks in a year, they’re doing 340 posts per year or almost exactly one post per day. Which means in my guesstimation, they’re probably adding one hat per day and have been for eighteen years. Google believes that pace along with the 7,000 other websites that have referenced them, those two things combined, put them at the top. If we wanted to beat them, they have 6,000 posts over eighteen years, we would need 9,000 posts over eighteen years. They have 7,000 companies that have mentioned them. We would need 10,000. We increase everything by 50% and that’s called the pace. The pace is how many posts per week and how many mentions or link backs per week. We want to increase it by 50% to get Google’s attention within a 3 to 6-month period of time.
What we know is this simple. If we know their pace and you don’t want to pick on the biggest one, as a matter of fact, that one’s an anomaly. What I typically do is I remove the biggest player in the space because it’s usually grandfathered in. They started first and Google fell in love with them. What I would do is take the next twenty biggest and then find the pace of content and how many links they have divided by their age. Take the whole cumulative average of the next twenty and then find the cumulative pace of content written and the cumulative pace of links built. That might tell you why we have 34 full-time writers that write 4,400 pieces of content a month across our 600 websites. Now you know the pace of content needs to be written and the pace of links that you need to build for credibility.
The next question is, what the heck do you write on? What do you got to do? Now, you’re going to open up a website called BuzzSumo.com and you’re going to type in men’s hats into the search bar and hit enter. This site blows you away because it goes back a year and it shows you the top twenty most viral pieces of content in the space of men’s hats. You look at them and then you say, “That’s simple. That went viral. No kidding.” You recreate something similar. BuzzSumo is such a cool website. It shows you who produced the content, but it also shows you, if you know how to dig in, who was the sneezer, the person of influence that made it popular. What you’re going to do is you’re going to recreate a similar piece of content.
The Simple Math
You’re going to send it directly to the person that blew it up and made it popular and say, “Would you review this piece of content? Is this valuable or informative for your audience?” They will probably review it for you, push it for you and do all the work. Here’s the simple math. Number one, if you want to use your competitors to beat your competitors, get the pace at which their website adds content and links. Find out what links are in how Google ranks episode and get the social signals. Increase the average of the top twenty taking out the biggest one by 50% and get the revenue that is rightfully yours. That is how you compete.
If your company and if your salespeople need leads, use this formula. If you want to make passive revenue by moving a product, a widget or a tool, use this formula. If you want to blog and write content, put ads up and have a dominating passive revenue stream, use this formula. If you have a business and you know that your product is only going to last a few years and you want to diversify into another field, pick any field you want, use this formula and make money. The bottom line, this method works. Why is this to me is one of the hottest things I’m going to speak on and write on in the next 5 to 10 years? It’s this simple.
I mentioned a few podcasts ago that in 1955, 439 of the Fortune 500 companies from 1955 no longer exist, yet their competitors and their industries still do. What happened to those big companies with great management and with cash in the bank? They took their eyes off the data drivers. Data drivers change. Do not be complacent in your results. Do not say, “It was working a year ago. Why isn’t it working now?” Look at the data drivers. They have changed. Do regular annual updates, do the same SWOT analysis, and do the same drivers once a year, every nine months probably is even better, and watch as the world is shifting under your feet. The data drivers will shift and you need to pivot with it. I’m hoping this helps. This is episode 71, Use The Competition. Talk to you soon. Take care.
- episode 20 – past episode
- episode 21 – past episode
- episode 22 – past episode
- Right To Succeed – episode 40
- How Google Ranks – episode 7