Your competitor, at least in regards to the marketing strategies presented in this book, is probably not who you think it is. If you have a gym, I don’t care about what the box down the street is doing. If you’re a trainer, I don’t care about how that trainer you hate runs his or her classes. If you’re a fitness product, the fact that your competitor just came out with a brand new color of thingamajig is of little or no consequence.
YOU are the resource. YOU are too busy building a castle to worry about that enemy who just stole a dime out of your pocket. YOU are creating your destination, not traveling to it.
For me, “competitor” is a misnomer; your competitors are really just case studies in what to do and what not to do. For our purposes, they don’t even need to be in the same industry to help you create your vision. They are simply examples of larger, more successful companies that already have what you hope to achieve. That could be an enviable website, a killer Facebook following, a committed fan base, or a massive email list. They target the people that you want, and they’re good at it.
Competitor research can be very useful, but it can also be very distracting in the fitness industry (unless you use this guide of course). The problem is that fitness is a lot like a modern day mega-church. A lot of mega-churches look very large, they espouse good values and present them well, and they’re able to attract throngs of followers. Even with all that, at the end of the day, a lot of their popularity relies on the charisma of the leader. It is his or her presentation that captures attention; it is his or her ideas, personality, and voice; it is his or her age, ethnicity, and attractiveness. The doctrine may be the same as a thousand other churches spanning back thousands of years, but the leader’s uniqueness is what makes it popular.
In fitness, a lot of the values and techniques are similar (if not identical). Everyone thinks you should combine exercise with proper diet to get the best results, organic food is better than processed junk, and consistency is essential for long-term success. The fact that everything is the same (in terms of the principles) doesn’t matter; how it is presented by the trainer is what matters.
When you’re looking for your competitors, remember that you don’t need to fully understand what they are doing in order to benefit from the information. Every idea you gain from observing them will be useful.
How Many Competitors Do You Have?
It’s tough to really observe, analyze, and understand too many other companies. I advise that you select three to five companies to study consistently over a 3 to 6 month timeframe. Don’t limit yourself to your local competition. Ideally, I suggest have three competitors to study: one local direct competitor, one extremely successful competitor, and one competitor that is outside your industry but targets the same market you do.