Your company has two kinds of competitors: direct and indirect. You know the former. Those are the competitors that your sales team goes head-to-head with every single day.
Meanwhile, an indirect competitor can be one of two things:
👉 A company that sells the same thing as your company, but to a different audience (ex: Squarespace and Drupal)
👉 A company that sells to the same audience as your company, but with a different product (ex: BuzzSumo and Jasper AI)
In either case, an indirect competitor does not pose a significant threat to your company's revenue right now ... but that can change very quickly. Here are some things to keep an eye on:
👀 Content marketing. Are they creating content targeted at your audience? If Squarespace starts creating content targeted at developers, Drupal should be on high alert.
👀 Events. Are they sponsoring events targeted at your audience? If Squarespace starts sponsoring events targeted at developers, Drupal should be on high alert.
👀 Executive hires. Have they hired anyone with deep experience in your space? If BuzzSumo hires a GenAI expert to help lead their product team, Jasper should be on high alert.
If you suspect an indirect competitor is about to become a direct competitor, do the following:
✅ Notify your sales and marketing leaders. It's never too soon to start talking about how you're going to position yourself against this new direct competitor.
✅ Put yourself in the other company's shoes. If you were them, how would you position against your company?
✅ Watch 'em like a hawk. If your hunch is correct, there will be more clues—and each one will make it easier for you to prepare.
I hope this was helpful. If it was, I suggest learning the basics of analysis of competing hypotheses.
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