If you’re the top company in your market right now, you can stop reading.
If you’re not, then it might be time to do a competitive analysis to get a thorough understanding of your competition.
This understanding will provide a few important things:
- Your current and potential customers’ opinion of the competition
- Your competitions’ weaknesses and strengths
- A path toward strengthening and improving your competitive advantage
“Knowledge is power,” said 16th century philosopher Francis Bacon. And with a competitive review, you will achieve marketing power.
Identifying Your Competitors
If there are only a few companies doing business in your niche, then you should do an analysis of each of them.
If your market is crowded with competitors, relax: you don’t have to do an analysis of each one. Narrow it down to the top three.
Getting Competitive Information
Though you could hire a market research firm at great expense, you can do the job yourself quicker and cheaper. Much of the information you need is easily available:
- Marketing. Get on your competitors’ mailing list. Read their ads and sales collateral to find out price, offers, and benefits. See how they advertise, how often, where, and how their ads look. Visit their website regularly to keep up with news and developments.
- Articles. Google the owner or other principle of each company to see if they are talking about how their company operates, if they’re expanding or downsizing, etc.
- Reviews. Find product/service reviews on Yelp!, Amazon, and elsewhere. These will tell you the strengths and weakness of their wares.
- SEC reports. If your competition is a publicly traded company, you can access their reports on the Securities and Exchange Commissions’ EDGAR site to get earnings and growth information and more.
- Databases. Sources such as Dun & Bradstreet, Wards Business Directory, and others provide information on assets, earnings, and other key information for small, medium, and big businesses.
- Pay a visit. If you have a store, you can go out and visit the other stores in your area and observe how they do business. Play “customer” and ask questions to find out about service, price, and selection.
If your business is online, place an order with your competition to find out how good their service, delivery, and packaging is.
You can adapt this information-gathering step for whatever kind of business you have.
Your Own Company Information
Find out from your sales staff and customer service reps which product/service benefits and features your customers consider most important. Discover, if you can, how they rate your product against your competitors’.
Figure out your market share or at least know what your total annual sales are, to compare.
Analyze Strengths and Weaknesses
By analyzing all the data you’ve collected, you can make an honest assessment of what you and your three competitors do well, in which areas you’re weak, and where your most likely competitive advantage lies.
By seeing where you’re strong, you’ll discover what to fortify. By seeing where your competition is weak you will discover an advantage for yourself. Turn their weakness into your strength.
Use the results of your competitive review to inform your marketing, towards the goal of more customers, sales, and greater market share.
A really fast way to get out your post-review postcard campaign is to pop over to www.prospectsplus.com/pei and design, print, and mail a postcard that will help you get the edge on your competition.
Or, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. Postcard marketing is our strength. We’ll conduct a competitive analysis for free to your campaigns see that added boost.