When finding out who your competitors are, it’s a good idea to think how a customer could think and go on their journey. How would they find a company offering what you would do?
- Who are these companies?
- Where are they based?
- How big are they?
- Do they offer the same as you?
These could be your competitors, but perhaps you need to dig even deeper.
- What type of company would be a competitor of yours?.
- Who are your local direct competitors?
- Is there anyone offering what you do nationally or internationally?
- Do you consider someone providing the same product as you but into a different market sector a competitor?
- Either way, what can you learn from them?
Another way to find your competitors is to speak to your current customers. And ask them the same questions, as well as these:
- Whom do they consider being a competitor to you?
- If your customers have bought from them in the past, then why did they do so?
Build the picture
There are other questions you can answer to get an even better picture of who your competitors could be
- Who’s advertising online via social media, press, TV and radio.
- Who’s is looking to gain an advantage over you with their keyword listings?
- And at trade shows, which companies can you find that sell what you do?
Now of course you can ask these questions yourself but to if you want unbiased view, it’s a good idea to ask a third party(us) to conduct the interviews for you. Here is an idea. When you lose or gain a customer, why not get that 3rd party to speak to them to assess why they move to or from you? Obviously, you can ask more detailed questions to get better analysis and understanding. A strategic way of doing this is via win/loss analysis.
So now you have a basic list of competitors and it’s time to gain more basic insight into them by:
- Finding and reading their annual reports
- See what’s in the press
- Find their marketing material
Now determine if they are a threat to you.
- Do they convert your customers? Have you seen they are attracting them?
- Do they target higher or lower value clientele?
- Are they in a niche market or generalist?
- How capable are they to you
- How financially strong are they compared to you
- What other strengths do they possess?
Key one eye on them
And remember just because a company is not competing with you today does not mean they will not compete with you tomorrow. You cant keep an eye on everyone, and you have to make priorities.
Currently, we define the competitor landscape as:
Your key competitors
The next big thing. Those who have the potential to become key competitors.
Potential competitors who have the resources to smash a hole in the market – For instance, Google developing a product or Apple buying a key competitor.
Hopefully, we have suggested a couple of starting points to so you can answer how do I find out who my competitors are?