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Competitors: A Threat or An Opportunity?

When I consult with leaders in the mortgage industry, one of the very first things I recommend is performing a SWOT analysis. Identifying one’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats provides a solid foundation on what a strategic plan can be built going forward. Knowing where we are enables us to see how might get where we want to go.

In the “threat” category, much of the discussion often falls around current and potential competitors. We operate in a very competitive industry, so it stands to reason that other companies serving the same customers might pose a threat to us. While it is generally true that the competition is a real threat, I also think–if we play our cards right–competitors can be an opportunity…

When the current CEO of Walmart took over, one of the first questions he was asked was how he plans to make Walmart.com more competitive with Amazon.com. He didn’t say anything about his pricing strategy, product assortment, or promotion ideas. Instead, he said that he was having his entire board of directors read a biography on Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos. His plan we to learn from the competition.

In the mortgage industry, competitors pose a threat, but they also pose an opportunity for learning. Rather than ignoring or downplaying the competition, then, we should be thinking about what the competition is doing right. We should be asking why we consider them a threat. What gives them that edge over us? In understanding this, we might just be able to grasp what we need to outcompete them. Even competitors–the biggest threats of all–can turn out to be opportunities…

1 thought on “Competitors: A Threat or An Opportunity?

  1. David, I think you have hit on a critical component to building a successful marketing plan. Understanding your competitors strengths and weaknesses is so important. We typically focus on their weaknesses to develop counterpoints to their message. That is important element of your messaging and differentiation. Often overlooked is evaluating a competitors strengths and learning best practices. Thanks for the post.

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