Should You Thank Your Competitors?

The connection between the dateline and headline is merely coincidental.

What reason could a business possibly have to thank its competitors? It is because competition can motivate a business to innovate and generally assume a more aggressive stance in the marketplace. A current example can be found in the quick service restaurant industry. Subway, the nation’s #2 restaurant chain, is about to make a nationwide entry into the breakfast business. Restaurant breakfast sales have been hurt by the recession, but that will not deter Subway from competing against McDonald’s and Burger King. The entrenched competitors have already taken steps to counter the weak economy by introducing lower priced menu items. Subway will compete primarily with breakfast sub sandwiches.

Will Subway’s venture succeed? Time will tell if consumers like Subway’s breakfast menu. Whether Subway succeeds is beside the point. When a competitor with 23,000 locations moves into a category that represents 25% of a firm’s U.S. sales, as is the case for McDonald’s, a business should take notice. Competition can provide a spark to develop new ideas, strategies, or products, benefiting customers in the process. And, it is possible for a business to learn not only from its efforts to innovate, but it can gain insight from the successes (and failures) of competition. That is no April Fools joke!

Marketing Daily - "Subway Joins Breakfast Battle of Titans"

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