Get to Know Your Competition. Know thy enemy.
It is not uncommon for the online competition to be different from the brick-and-mortar competition. We believe that competitive intelligence (CI) should have a single-minded objective -- to develop the strategies and tactics necessary to transfer market share profitably and consistently from specific competitors to our clients. CI can help position a business to maximize the value of the capabilities that distinguish it from its competitors. A company that does not monitor and analyze their primary competitors will be at a disadvantage leaving its markets vulnerable.
One writer, philosopher once said that for you to be competitive and even rise above the pack, you need to know your competition and what they're doing to be different. When you do, you'll surely be able to create tactics that will make you stand out and hence, make a difference in your market share.
I suppose you think that the business community is very hard to be a part of because you're always competing and trying to outdo each other. Believe it or not, business is not about that. On the contrary, it's not a blood bath all the time. In fact, business owners and marketers do it in a more classy and comfortable arena where they often work together to make their community work.
But no doubt about it, competition is present. And the best way to differentiate yourself from the rest is an analysis of what your competition is doing to become successful. Here's what you should know when gathering competitive intelligence for your marketing research:
Step 1: Be a detective.
Competitive analysis is all about gathering the tools and materials your competitors must market their products and services. Examine their features, the design, and even the commercial color printing method used to come up with an effective marketing campaign. One marketer even suggested shopping and purchasing from your competitors to learn and experience what it feels like to buy from them.
Step 2: Identify and analyze even those you feel are competitors.
Chances are you're right. Even in the most unlikely places, you might just be surprised that a competition is present. So be on the lookout for marketing tools and materials of any businesses that you perceive to be providing the same services as you do.
Step 3: Analyze the message.
After you've collected the materials, focus on the message of your competitors. What are their promises? Do they have anything different to offer? Do we have anything in common? What formats did they use? Is the design effective? What seems to be the best marketing tool in all that you've collected?
Step 4: How can you be unique?
Finally, after gathering all the information from your competitors' marketing materials and tools, it's now time for you to create your own marketing campaign that reflects something unique and compelling in your offer. When you do find your answers, be sure to include every factor that can contribute to your success – your products and services, your operating method, your unique company qualities and customer service attitude, your values, etc. Whatever you learned from your competitive analysis can help you create powerful marketing campaigns that will help you more effectively sell your products and services to your target audience.