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  • Karen Titolo

Know your competition

Knowing who your competitors are, and what they are offering, can help you to make your school and marketing stand out. It will enable you to set your prices competitively and help you to respond to rival marketing campaigns with your own initiatives.



Growing your business requires you to be constantly learning about it and making necessary adjustments. However, you can only grow and improve so much when you are learning in relation to yourself. You only know what you know. This is why it's important to get to know your competition. Knowing about your business in relation to the competition will broaden your knowledge about your target audience, so you can refine your business strategy. Staying up to date on current trends in curriculum offered, extracurricular services, how childcare is using technology etc. will help you stay competitive. Knowing about your competitors will help you stay current. You will be able to determine what parents are looking for and navigate challenges in your market. Here are five things to know about your competitors that will help your business in these areas.


What Kind of Competitor Are They?


Your competitors include any business that might deter a potential customer from choosing you, but this can take different forms.


Direct Competitors


Direct competitors are other childcare centers or businesses that offer the same things that you do.


Indirect Competitors


Indirect competitors are those who don’t offer the same service but meet the same need in an alternative way. These could include after-school safekey programs, tutoring services etc. Information about your indirect competitors will help you to find effective ways of getting in front of your target audience.


Knowing what kinds of competitors you have, and why they are competitors, can help you to identify which marketing activities and messaging are the most effective for your business.


Know your Competition


Many childcare centers offer the same kind of services or cater to the same age group of children. That’s ok. There is room for everyone. If you have similar positioning to your competitors, pay attention to the details. If you both serve lunch, knowing that you offer lunch developed by a certified nutritionist whereas your competition does not, can give you a talking point. Knowing that the children in the competitors' program leave their classroom and go to a cafeteria can help you talk about the benefits of eating in their own classroom. Knowing how your competitors are operating within this context can help you develop talking and selling points for your program.


Knowing more about your competition will give you a better understanding of their program and how yours compares. This will help you to compare and contrast those differences. Both schools offer an after-school program, but you offer the use of technology for your students to complete their homework online. The more you know about your competition, the more you can differentiate your program from the competition. Talk about what makes your school unique and different from the competition. What do you do better than your competition? What things do they do better? Being able to contrast the similarities is also important. You may want to create a comparison checklist, which will help your parents choose between two centers.


Making it easier for customers to quickly compare businesses and understand how those differences apply to them will help them to make a decision about enrollment.


Understand Your Competitors’ Pricing


You should know about your competitors’ pricing for many reasons. The first is so that you can keep your pricing in line with what people in your target market are willing to pay. In addition, you might learn about new pricing models that are more appealing to customers.

Knowing your competitors’ pricing isn’t always so that your pricing can match or beat theirs. The point is to understand where your pricing falls in relation to your competitors in the greater market. If your pricing is lower than theirs, this is an advantage. However, you may need to convince prospective buyers that the value of your product or service is as good as those with higher prices.


On the other hand, if your pricing is higher than that of your competitors, you will need to be able to convey the added value that comes at this price. Even loyal customers may turn to a competitor if the price is low enough, so you need to give people a reason to pay more.

Knowing about your competitors’ pricing will help you determine the pricing that is right for your business, and also to obtain and retain customers with those prices.


What Are Your Competitors’ Strengths?


Yes, you want to beat your competition, but ultimately you want to best serve your customers. Therefore you should know what your competitors' strengths are. What do their customers like about them? For some things that customers really like, you may want to offer those too, or something similar or better. You have your own offerings, but the addition of something else that customers really like may be enough to win them over.

However, there may be some things that your competitors offer that you won’t be able to match or exceed. In this case, it won’t be worth your time or effort to try and win customers over in this area. Your business can’t meet every need, and that’s perfectly okay. Now you know where your time and energy will be best spent.


What Are Your Competitors’ Weaknesses?


In addition to knowing where your own business can improve, you should also know the weaknesses of your competitors. First, because many of your own strengths come naturally to you, so you don’t always realize you have them. Knowing your competitors’ weaknesses may help you identify your strengths.


At other times, your competitors will have weaknesses that are strengths you know you have. Knowing the weaknesses that stick out to people can help you determine which strengths to highlight in your marketing and messaging.

Sometimes, your competitors’ weaknesses will reveal an area of importance that you hadn’t thought of, which you can incorporate as a new strength into your business. Knowing the gaps in your industry created by your competitors provides opportunities for you to fill them.


Yet in other cases, your competitors will have a weakness because of a significant or common problem in your industry, community, or target market. In this case, seeing how your competitors face those challenges can help you learn how to handle them better or know what to avoid.


It is extremely important for you to know about the positioning, pricing, strengths, and weaknesses of your competitors. The insights you gather will help you to improve your marketing strategies and truly stand out to your target audience.


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