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By Andrew Wetzler

Answering the question of who are competitors of a particular business was much easier before the internet came along, as the traditional channels for creating visibility were very limited. In most instances, geography played a pivotal role in identifying the main players in any market and the Yellow Pages, local papers, television, radio etc. were critical to driving new prospects.

Competition was sometimes limited by exclusive relationships as well. Manufacturers were often protective of their brand and who could represent them. In the clothing industry for example, stores who sold higher end lines were often protected as manufactures would not sell to discounters. Those arrangements are the exception today as the web has broken down most of these barriers. In the automotive arena for instance, there were but a handful of local competitors for any type of vehicle. Today, a dealer can be much further away. A Google search for ďHonda CRVĒ from my office in Boca Raton, Fla. yields a paid ad from a dealer in Atlanta. Itís highly unlikely that dealer had aspirations for selling vehicles beyond the greater Atlanta area, a few years ago.

This can be a good or bad thing, depending upon your perspective. For instance, itís been detrimental to companies who could previously afford the biggest ad in the Yellow Pages, which gained them the lion share of the market, but are now competing with much smaller businesses who could be thousands of miles away. Itís been a bonanza for web savvy entrepreneurs (large and small) who have embraced the power of the Internet and search and who have adjusted their marketing plans accordingly.

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Andrew Wetzler is President and Co-Founder of MoreVisibility.
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