We Brits are a polite nation, who likes to tiptoe and tread extremely carefully around difficult topics. Competitor analysis falls into that rather taboo category – an uncomfortable topic that’s often pushed to the side and neglected before finally being forgotten.
However, we all have competition; there are businesses offering similar services and products to our own, it’s important you firstly acknowledge this, identify who they are, where they’re based and then do some probing. There are six simple but highly effective methods of conducting competitor research:
- Get your team together and complete a competitor worksheet – if you have a lot then be specific to your area, and if you are struggling to find an exact match broaden your search to those acting within a similar industry of comparable size.
- Find your competitors’ brochures and promotional materials to help identify what they think are their strengths and how they promote themselves. An easy way of doing this is to sign up to their newsletter or to set up a Google Alert every time your competitor is named in the media. Easy ways to keep tabs of their information.
Another invaluable resource is a website – their tone and language will help you identify what appeals to your industry. As well as any other content marketing they are investing in – videos, blogs and podcasts are relatively inexpensive tools and may appeal to your target audience.
And if none of this is available you could always give them a call and find out their pricing structure.
- Collect other information by researching business databases such as Dun & Bradstreet.
- Meet with your customers and suppliers and ask them for their opinions on where you are better (or weaker) than your competitors. For more information on how to carry out Market Research – take a look at our handy blog.
- Social Media Integration – Social media is fast becoming the best online platform to reach a large audience easily. See what your competitors are doing on their Facebook Page and Twitter profile – are they focusing on one more? Or is there content more creative than your own? Compare and contrast, there is always room to improve and this is a fantastic space to do some searching to find tangible ways to improve.
- Analyse the information and prepare spreadsheets showing comparative strengths and weaknesses
Act – Use the information you have gathered to update your business and support your future growth. This exercise is not simply an act of copying and pasting, but should rather help you to analyse your brand and help inform your decision making process.
Andrew Rhodes- Managing Partner