You might think of a simple 'race' between competitors when you think about your business competitor. Or you might prefer to think of competition in the market as a rugby match where multiple players are after one single ball. Sports metaphors abound for analysing your competition. There is a very good reason for this. To know your competition helps you plan, adjust and perform better. On a race track you can see who is right ahead of you, but do you know how to spot your leading competitor in the real world? Find out how today.
Things you should know about your competition
Your competition might not be who you think they are. You can learn a great deal about your business and your target customers by learning about your competitors. This knowledge will help you to differentiate your unique selling point from the rest of the market, and use that to win more customers. So here are a few points to consider about your competitors:
- Direct vs Indirect Competitors: Direct competitors have the same product or service that you offer. Indirect competitors offer an alternative to your product or service. Generators and solar panels are indirect competitors, as an example.
- Positioning: Get an idea where your competition is positioning themselves, and see how to differentiate yourself. Look at the products or services they offer, and what supplementary or complimentary products they offer.
- Pricing: Your competitor pricing can show you what your target customers are willing to pay, and how to position your pricing strategy.
- Strengths and Weaknesses: Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors can help you fill a gap you identify and learn about strengthening your own offering.
- Their customers: Identifying the customers of your competition, help you identify a market of potential customers that may not have done business with you yet.
Where to get information on your competition
There are some easy and obvious ways to monitor and learn about your competition. You can be sure that your competitor is fully aware of you, your company and your offering, and is using any means necessary to monitor you. Here are a number of ways to gain insight into your competitors:
- Industry conferences and expos
- Industry reports
- Ask your suppliers
- Google yourself
- Google them
- Monitor your own reputation
- Check directory listings
- Social media presence
- Social media engagement
- Check their website
- Sign up to their email newsletter
- Surveys among your own and competitor's customers
- Hire someone previously employed by your competitor
- Analyze their job postings
- Ask them directly
You now know why and how to learn about your competition. 'When' is another question that needs an answer. Analyzing your competition is an integral part of your marketing plan and strategy. However, this is not a once-off exercise. Your competition will evolve, grow, change or disappear over time. Your strategy should continue to change and adapt as well. There are tools to help you do this without much effort, such as Google Alerts and the Perch App. Your business model, strategy and industry will determine how much time and resources are allocated to this research area. It is good to know exactly where the competitors are, how they are performing and how they are serving their customers. It will serve your business well to know the “enemy” and know the arena that you are in better than anyone else.
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