Killing the competition may be a controversial description of how a market economy works, but there is some truth in using the analogy of war in a business context. Those of us who have been on the losing side will certainly recognise the metaphor. In fact, the term "creative destruction" is now commonly used by economists to describe one aspect of capitalism.
Protecting Intellectual Property
A good few years ago I was attending an internet trade show, and noticed someone handing out free condoms. After a bit of a double take, I got chatting with an acquaintance who had recently taken up a marketing position with a domain name vendor. He explained to me that his company was the one giving out the material in question, all under the slogan "protect your vital assets".
Now I don't know whether you are a fan of "shock jock" marketing tactics and interestingly, although I clearly remember the incident, I can't actually remember the name of the company. However, it did stick in my mind as an example of drawing attention to the need to protect intellectual property - in this case domain names.
In the last few years social media has taken off like a turbo-charged rocket ship, and many forward-looking businesses are examining the opportunity that this might present. Facebook has hundreds of millions of active users, and contrary to some expectations Twitter has continued its exponential growth, with well over 100 million users, and over 60 million tweets per day. YouTube tells a similar story, continuing to grow users and usage. It's all been quite extraordinary.
Social networks have a huge advantage which explains their success: they are based on conversations between humans, which comes naturally to all of us. This is good on a personal level, but is a challenge when it comes to marketing, as you must be both interesting and interactive to succeed.
Bearing all of this in mind, here are some tips on things not to do:
Come on let's be honest, I bet there isn't a single person reading this article that hasn't been a little curious to discover what their competitors are doing. Regardless of your market, product or service getting an insight into the competition is an important part of staying aware of your space.
Here are my top five tools for keeping tabs on the opposition:
There's a hidden battle going on between online merchants and fraudsters. In the US, fraud is now around $4bn per annum, according to CyberSource's latest report. The good news is that after years of advancing fraud, merchants are slowly starting to turn the tide.
From the merchant's perspective, it's important not just to reject everything that looks suspicious, but to get a balance between fraud prevention and losing good business. It's also key to remember that fraud varies greatly between different product sectors. For example, most of us would instinctively feel that fraud would be a big problem selling unblocked smart phones. However, I have known merchants selling bibles and model trains to suffer as well. Assumptions can be dangerous.