Pokemon Go Is Your Competitor

Written by ChicCEO Published in
Right now, I’m in Bentonville, AR visiting my mom and taking in the GORGEOUS scenery. Wow, it’s pretty here. Walking along one of the amazing trails over the weekend, I saw some deer, a beautiful stream and a lot of people with their heads in their phones playing Pokemon Go.
 
NATURE can’t even compete with this new game. 
 
As a business owner, we are always asked who our competitors are and how we are better or different. We search in our own vertical, perhaps come up with a handful of people who are trying to solve the same problem with a similar service/product and watch their every move, pick apart their strategy and compete for customer market share. 
 
However, a lot of businesses don’t realize they have competitors who aren’t in their vertical. Companies that are taking customer attention, loyalty and dollars from them. While these competitors may not be providing the same service per se, they are certainly solving the same problem. Whether it’s hunger, entertainment, boredom, excitement, etc.
 
Looking outside of your vertical might allow you to see who is solving the same problem and who your real competitors are.
 
Defining your customer journey is the first step in doing this. Let’s say you own a local bakery that makes pies and you set up a booth at the State Fair every summer. You know the other two pie bakeries in town will be there but you believe your pies are MUCH better. You are determined to let all fair goers know that your pie is the best pie of the three. So you create signs that talk about better ingredients and taste. You have someone giving out samples telling people how much better your pies are compared to the other bakeries. Makes sense... 
 
But so what? 
 
A fair-goer isn’t deciding between 3 bakeries. A fair-goer is deciding if she should eat pie, or a big turkey leg, or a funnel cake, or a fried Snickers, or the protein bar she threw in her bag on the way out the door. Did you ever think that your pie would be competing against turkey? 
Hunger is part of the fair-going experience and there are a lot of choices available. When you reframe your perception of competition in this way, you can get the full picture of who you are competing against. 
 
In terms of solving the problem of entertainment - or exercise even - cable TV, 24 Hour Fitness, or Playstation probably didn’t expect Pokemon Go to start taking away time and attention from their loyal users. Instead of parents going to the gym after work, they are opting to go for a Pokemon walk with their kids instead. Instead of people watching TV in the evenings, they are out finding the next PokeStop. These companies will have to revise or create new strategies in order to sustain the mind share they once dominated.
 
Kodak probably didn’t think cell phones would become their competitor either - but adding a camera to our smartphones created quite a disruption to the photography industry.
 
Take some time to define your customer journey, identify any areas where a decision can be made, not between you and a competitor in your same vertical, but a competitor far outside your vertical. You might be surprised!  
 
Comment below and let me know of any insights you have.
 
Cheers, 
Stephanie
 
 

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