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Competitor analysis: tactics to keep abreast of your competition

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This guide  outlines the competitor analysis strategies that will keep you up to date with your industry trends.

There will always be competition out there for whatever it is you do. There might be other companies that sell the same product or service, or they might sell something similar that people compare to yours. Either way, even if your product is unique (as far as you are aware), you may find that if your competition is intense, they could ‘steal’ customers away from you. So it’s important to know as much about those other companies as possible.

Conducting competitor analysis should be an ongoing process in which you continue to deepen your understanding of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Every business must gather information about the competition and most already do – even if they don’t formalize it into a competitive research process. Everyone really needs to do competitive research. The difference is scale. You need to keep your eyes peeled regardless of how big you are or what you’re selling.

There are a number of benefits your business can gain from doing competitor analysis, gaining insight into the competitive landscape, especially if you track products, pricing, personnel, research and development, and other aspects of the competition on an ongoing basis. This is how a business can understand the external and internal environments in which they are operating. However, there are other, more “indirect” benefits that you can get as well.

Beneifts of competitor analysis

Understand the market.
Better customer segmentation.
Forecasting the potential for the market.
Discovering how the economic climate affects the market.
Understanding what competitors are offering.
Keep track of competitors’ prices.
Determine bids in auxiliary markets.
Finding new customers and competitors.

The promise is that by systematically gathering competitor analysis over time and in a systematic way, you will be able to follow trends and scenarios and be better prepared to act in your own market. You want to do this research and do it in an organized way so you can create actionable strategy or actionable intelligence.

Most companies gather competitor analysis, even if they don’t define it as such. We are all aware of the business environment that we are selling in, how our operations are performing, where we can sell in the future, our profitable areas. That means researching them thoroughly; here are some competitor analysis ideas on how to go about doing that well to give yourself the upper hand. 

 Key competitor analysis strategies

Do More Than Google 

Although a Google search is an excellent way to begin competitor analysis, you will need to do more than that and more than just visiting your competitor’s website to discover more about them. Take a look at their advertising, for example, and work out what keywords they are using. You can then incorporate those keywords into your own campaigns to ensure that your reach is as good as theirs is. That gives you a more level playing field, and you can attract the same customers. 

You can also sign up to Google Alerts, using your competitor’s name as a keyword. When they do anything new or interesting such as engaging Perks to be their new accountant, the information will immediately be sent to you via email, and you can have a good read through before formulating a plan to counter their innovations. 

Look At Social Media 

Many businesses are taking to social media to promote themselves, and if you haven’t tried it yet, you should; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other platforms can all provide a great way to keep in touch with your customers and find new avenues to advertise. Social media competitor analysis can also help you see what your competitors are doing, so it’s doubly useful. You can see what hashtags they are incorporating into their advertising as well as any special offers they are promoting. Even if you don’t want to directly compete, having the information can be useful if a customer contacts you and mentions what the competition is doing; having a plan in place is better than not having one at all. 

Read Reviews 

Reviews and customer testimonials are helpful for customers when they are looking for a new business to use. They can get a lot of information about customer service, the products, and the company in general by reading them. That’s why it’s essential that you read them for competitor analysis too; not just about your own company (although this is very useful and will help you to fix anything that might be going wrong) but about your competitors too. 

Seeing what they are doing right – and wrong – will show you where and how you can differentiate from them, pushing your unique selling point (USP) a different way so that you can show you’re not the same and that you offer something more, whether that’s the product itself or the customer service aspect that works for you. You can also capitalize on their mistakes this way; find out what they aren’t doing so well at and boost that in your own business to entice customers to come to you who can provide the whole package. 

Check with your Suppliers

If you work in an industry where you share the same suppliers as your competitors, you might want to ask some simple questions. Talk to your suppliers and spend time getting to know them. While they can’t tell you what your competition asked for or its volume, ask better questions.

For example, if you ask what units of a particular product have been ordered for the next month, you can find out not only what your competition might have ordered, but what other products your supplier might bring as a result.

Conclusion

Understanding the competition is a crucial business activity for any entrepreneur or business executive. Some companies hire professionals to monitor competitors and assess the competitive landscape on a regular basis. But it doesn’t always have to be a complicated, time-consuming and expensive process – in particular, given the new wealth of competitor analysis data that can be assembled using the Internet.

By investing even a small amount of time in competitor analysis, companies of any size can develop a framework for making competitive assessments, gathering information about business rivals, and understanding how to position their own brands, products, and companies in the marketplace. Not only can you learn competitors’ best practices , but you can also learn to avoid mistakes .

Keeping track of who your competitors are, what people are saying about them, and what they are saying to themselves can help you differentiate your business and stay ahead of trends that could affect your business. Staying smart in the competitive landscape helps you make very practical decisions around product development, pricing, promotions, messaging, as well as where you fit into the brand landscape.

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