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Being big enough to learn

In my first job, one of the things I hated was a regular meeting where the senior manager got the team together to discuss what the competition was doing. Now, that might not sound like a bad idea, but there was really only one thing on the agenda: what is the competition doing badly, and how can we use that in our (inevitably rather crass) sales presentation?

I regularly asked if we could perhaps discuss what the competition was doing right, and how we might learn from that. But management didn’t want to know. It was all rather tragic. Customers, of course, never responded to the “buy from us because the others are worse” story.

Which brings me to the inevitable question: when was the last time you really looked at your competitors’ websites in the same way that your customers do?

Print out equivalent pages and look at them side-by-side. There’s nothing to be learned from laughing at the ones who do it badly. But there’s everything to be learned from the ones who do it better than you.

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