This article suggests how to conduct and prepare a Competitive Analysis. There are several things that you must take into account before going ahead with an analysis of your competitors. First and foremost. Research. Start by researching your competitors, maybe into the areas where you haven’t delved before. You may be surprised by what you find. However, research is only part of the Competitive Analysis process.
Make a list of your top competitors. Your top five. Then, you build a picture on each competitor, identifying who they are, how they work, and most importantly, what makes them a competitor to you? What makes them successful? What makes them excel? And what can you do to your business to rival them? How to conduct and prepare a Competitive Analysis recommends three sectors of your environment:
1. Direct competitors
2. Indirect competitors
3. Future threats
The greater clarity you offer at the start of Competitive Analysis, the more accurate the results will be. The better the understanding you have as to why your potential customers uses one of your competitors, the easier it will be to counter their offer and compete with them. And looking for areas in which your business can improve will undoubtedly help when competing against that other businesses. See how your business’s content compares with theirs, through similarities and differences. Content comparison is a tremendous help when working out their strengths and weaknesses. And of course, identifying these will only work in your favour if you can take advantage of what they are saying to their customers.
Ask yourself, where are my competitors in the market?
If they are your competitors, then chances are their target markets are the same as yours. Is this the case? If so, then a great way to make sure that you keep on top of them would be to develop effective competitive strategies in your target markets. Also, this analysis will give you that edge when it comes to beating your competitor who’s focusing on the same target market as you are, i.e. gaining their customers.
Understand their customers
Try to understand how your customers and prospects see the competition from their point of view. Another way to analyse your competitors is to keep track of them and learning general information and their normal patterns of activity. This monitoring could include keeping a regular tab on their various social media outlets, reviewing their accounts and having a look at their customer’s experience from their website and customer review websites.
Differentiating between their prices and your prices is critical. If you find that your competitor generally charges lower prices, then perhaps it’s time to review your pricing structure. But only after you fully understand how they can afford to keep their prices low. How long can they keep their prices low and how does your supply chain differs from theirs. Taking all of these things into account will surely give you a firm heads up.
To be successful, you need to maintain an agile and adaptable business ready for the evolving market conditions and competitors. So when evaluating your competitive landscape, it is essential to look at what your direct competitors are doing. It is just as important to look for the market-shaping critical trends, so you understand where you are going.
To thrive your business must understand the big picture and look at your landscape from every angle. Rigorous competitive analysis is vital to a successful business, and without it, you will always be on the back foot. Here are some questions to answer:
- Who is your competition for the products and services you are trying to get customers attracted to?
- What if you changed your offer and targeted a different group of customers? A group which would be easier to sell to?
- Why do your prospects buy from your competitors? What advantages do they perceive that you don’t offer?
- What are your competitors USP? What’s so special about their features and benefits? Are your products and services missing a trick?
- How are you better than your competitors? What do you offer that they can’t? Do they realise this? How can you take advantage of this differentiation in your marketing and actual sales?
- Where’s your competitor vulnerable? How can you exploit this and take advantage?
- And, could you change your marketing strategy to achieve dominance in a particular sector? Should you change your approach?
This article discussed how to conduct and prepare a Competitive Analysis and offered some questions around your competitors’ products and which sectors you are all competing in. Also why do their customers buy from them and what makes you better then them. Do your competitors have vulnerabilities, and understand how can you change strategy to take advantage.