How to Keep Ahead of the Competition With Competitive Intelligence

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How to keep ahead of the competition with Competitive Intelligence

This article asks how to keep ahead of the competition with Competitive Intelligence. Business competition is usually very fierce. Especially if you work within fast-moving markets. And let’s face it, most markets are fast-moving now. It’s essential to base your decisions on as much certainty as possible. To be able to take competitive advantage and defend your market position. Here are eight ways to keep ahead of the competition:

1. Know your customers

Over time the expectations of your customer change. Sometimes when there are new ways of doing things, the changes can be very dramatic. It is imperative to know what matters to your current customers. Usually, it’s got nothing to do with price. It’s generally about better service levels or products. But this should never be assumed. Make sure you know your customers’ buying patterns. When they buy, how they buy and how many they buy. The easy way to do things is to build a real relationship with them. To get them to keep coming back to you, make them your friends. 

Customer social activity data offers you insight into purchasing and search engine timing. Facebook, Google analytics and others will show you what triggers a customer to buy.

2. Know the competition

  • Look for your competitor and find out more about them. 
  • Analyse them to determine what they are offering. 
  • What is their target market? 
  • Isolate their strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Look at how they differentiate themselves.
  • Find the gaps you can fill and opportunities you can capitalise on. 

3. Understand the Competition

Look at your competitors again and take a deeper look at what they really do. Do they really have to get to know their prospects to convert them into customers? How do they sell their offering? Is it unique, different or better than how you do it? Is there anything they don’t do that you do? Why is that? Is there a gap in the market you can fill? Is there a gap in the market you are both missing?

4. Differentiate

It’s crucial to provide your customers with valid reasons to use you rather than a competitor. This need should be developed to create your differentiator. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It would be best if you defined precisely to what your customers want. Then tell them and future customers in a clear and obvious way. The differences between you and other providers should result in no debate. What makes you different to them? You may be cheaper, have a better product or service, be more ethical, or have a fabulous story to attract them.

To keep ahead of your competition, make sure you tell people who you are, what you do and why they should buy from you. Simple as that. Except it’s not. I have to be an ongoing process developing your message to fit with your market. Potential customers have to get what you do almost instantly. It is not sufficient to throw a message onto social media and hopes it sticks with someone. To attract customers, you need a clear message. What can you do for the customer that no one else can? If you do and they have a need, you will win more business.

If you are a local business, then leaflets may be the way forward. And social media to lumpy mail. Items through the post are getting rarer, and it’s likely your competitor isn’t doing it. Look at your website and make sure you have a consistent message and brand. Ensure your website has the best possible SEO you can have. Likely, your competitors are not doing SEO very well, so you could be onto a winner. 

5. Look after your existing customers

Your existing customers are your competitors’ target market. Constantly trying to improve customer service and developing strong business relationships is paramount. Try being better than they expect. Be more responsive, upsell at another product at a higher discount rate. Give them better credit and introduce loyalty schemes. Give your current customers new products to test or exclusive deals on a new service. Never forget your existing customer base when expanding into new areas. Without them, you would not be where you are now. Ask if that’s a good or bad thing. Bad, then perhaps you need a new set of customers :-)

6. Target new markets and offerings

Entering new markets should increase your customer base and spread your risk. However, you will have to understand the new market, the demographics and competitors. New markets can lead to more sustainable and quicker growth. But you have to be ready for a new market. It is also important to be constantly looking to improve your product offering. Make the most of your online presence but don’t neglect your bricks and mortar. You are continually innovating. Looking to do things differently will keep your customers and the market interested. Keeping the innovation up will keep your people interested too.

7. Look After Your Team

Your business is only as good as the team you have built. Your team are best placed to tell you about your competitors. Keeping them productive and happy will ensure they should do the best for you. 

Listen to them, get them involved, ask about what needs to happen with your product or service. Ask them about what’s the latest thing that’s trending. People are often more impressed by a great working environment, flexible working. And the knowledge that their opinion is more important than a slight wage rise. 

8. Partnership Opportunities

Partnership opportunities are cool right now. Reach out to others to find new markets or demographics. These symbiotic relationships help both partners. They provide opportunity and drive interest in their cause. Partnership with non-competing businesses is also an interesting way forward. But expect to kiss many frogs to find your prince. 

How to keep ahead of the competition with Competitive Intelligence

This article asked how to keep ahead of the competition with Competitive Intelligence. Business competition is usually very fierce, and we offered eight ways to keep ahead.

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