by Heather K. Terry
When was the last time you stepped into your customer’s head?
You know that old saying, don’t miss the forest for the trees? The idiom that reminds us we shouldn’t be so focused on the details that we miss the big picture? Well, as it so happens, it is very easy to let this happen when you’re in business.
I’ve been so focused these past few months in my role as acting CEO of NibMor and helping to prepare our new incoming Chief Executive Officer that I lost a bit of perspective about the big picture of our operation.
This intense focus I’ve had on the corporate details of the company has been extremely important, so please don’t get me wrong. But now that NibMor’s new CEO is all settled in, I am having an absolute blast. I can see the forest again, so to speak.
Since this new gentleman has come into the picture, I’ve taken on a new role in Product Development and Branding. And, in order to get my head into the game, I’ve been spending at least one day of my workweek hanging out in the aisles of stores. (It’s a rough life, ladies.)
I am out where our consumers are. I’m taking photos and looking to see what competitors are doing and how shoppers are interacting with other chocolate products in our space. I’m studying why products are selling in some stores as opposed to others. I’m watching to see what consumers are gravitating towards. I’m trying to really get into the consumer’s head to see why they’re picking up the products that they are. I can see which products are being restocked more often, what’s being picked more often, and what’s being picked least often.
Sitting in the holiday aisle is my new favorite pastime. I’ve been developing holiday items for NibMor like crazy! I have this whole new perspective into product development that you can’t get in the kitchen or in the boardroom. What could sell? What price does it have to be at to sell? What does the product package have to look like for some-one to pick it up?
This work is invaluable for NibMor. I am learning so much from competitors and consumers that it’s shocking.
Whether you’re on the shelf or off the shelf, you can get a lot of intel from your competitors by simply looking at what they’re doing what’s working and what’s not. Now, I am NOT saying that you should go and copy what your competitors are doing. No way. But you can put your own unique spin or process on a successful program.
For instance, if you’re a service-based business and you want to offer a new health coaching service, study the website of someone doing well in that space. Look at who’s leaving comments on their blog posts. Learn from those things. Ask yourself how what that business is doing can be applied to what you’re doing. It’s not about copying; it’s about taking something that seems to be working and figuring out how to apply it to what you’re doing.
Put your spin on it!
Don’t focus on competition in a dramatic negative way, but look at what those competitors are doing and use some of this information to your own advantage.
When your company has grown to a certain point, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the operations and to lose sight of not only how consumers’ needs may be changing, but also how your competitors might be doing a better job of meeting those needs.
Take a step back and focus some of your energy on how your consumers are spending their time. It’s time very well spent!
Celebrated health coach, cooking instructor, yogi, and writer, Heather K. Terry, is a true health aficionado. Co-founder and COO of NibMor Chocolate, co-founder of the Gluten Free Sugar Cleanse, and a strong advocate of eating real, simply prepared, organic foods and avoiding genetically modified, highly-processed food-like objects. A graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and The French Culinary Institute of Manhattan, Heather’s passion for food and nutrition are palpable. www.heatherkterry.com