How to Spy on Your Competitors And Stay Ahead of The Competitive Advantage Game?

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How to spy on your competitors and stay ahead of the competitive advantage game?

There are many ways to gather information about your competitors and customers. These can include interviews, surveys, focus groups, and market research. By understanding what your competitors and customers are doing, you can create strategies to stay ahead of the curve and improve your business. This article asks how to spy on your competitors and stay ahead of the competitive advantage game.

Find out as much as you can about your competitors, customers, and offerings. Such as:

  • Who they are
  • The key people in their teams
  • The products or services customers buy
  • Do different customers buy different products or services?
  • what do their customers think your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are
  • Who are their customers?
  • How often do they buy?
  • What makes them buy from them?
  • How long do they tend to remain as customers of your competitor? And why?
  • Have they recently had an influx of customers and why?

What they’re planning to do

It’s important to go beyond what’s happening now and look at your competitors’ strategies. To include at least:

  • What types of customers are targeted?
  • What new products are been developed?
  • And what financial backing do they have?

Hearing about your competitors

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence is the finding, sorting and critical analysis of information. To make sense of what’s happening and why. Predict what’s going to happen and give the options to help you control the outcome. Competitive Intelligence offers more certainty, competitive advantage, insight, growth & security.

Speak to your competitors. Phone them up and ask for one of their brochures. Or pop by and walk in and ask for their literature. You are just passing, and you want to know their products. They may even give you verbal information or the person to speak to. And they may ask about your needs. If they are any good, they may even get round to asking you who you are. This is not a given. People see pound signs. If they do ask, then you have a choice to cross that line. There is no point in lying, and it’s not ethical. This situation is where using us within a more detailed project proves to be helpful. Like us, an external source doesn’t have to lie, and we will not get caught out. At the end of the day, we are potential customers. You’re a pesky competitor. 

Please show me the money

Ask for a price list or enquire what discount options are available for volume. This sort of question will excite anyone answering, and they may become super helpful. 

Try ringing at different times of the day. Early morning or the last thing in the evening. It gives you more chance of talking to people not used to taking questions. Or the cleaner, of course. Lunchtime calls will get someone covering for breaks. 

Talking to your competitor face to face or over the phone and, to a lesser extent, on a messenger or email, listen out for other stuff. You may want a price list, but what are they saying about their offerings? What are they not saying? What questions are they avoiding? Can they answer what’s next for their product line? Is the company culture and style of the company coming over in the call? What is it?

What’s the quality of the message they portray in the brochure? The of voice and how they describe their products or services. Does it bear any resemblance to what you have experienced on the ground?

When networking or at exhibitions, don’t glare at them like a gunslinger in an old western movie. Talk to them and be friendly. They will have similar experiences and go through the same things, and they are competitors, not your enemy. 

You may need them in the future on a personal or professional level. First impressions matter and are remembered. You may even want or need to collaborate with them too. To grow into a new market or develop a new product together.

Your customers and suppliers

Make the most of everyone you know. Your customers will come across your competitors every week. Don’t just focus on how well you’re doing. Ask which of your competitors they use, how you compare to them and why they use them. Don’t forget it’s likely your customers will say that they are cheaper than you. Well, they would, wouldn’t they?

Supplier meetings are a great way to find out about your competitors. Just ask what their customers are up to. They may not tell you everything you need to know, but you will build a picture if you ask enough suppliers. 

All this questioning is a waste of time unless you come at the exercise in a planned and structured manner. Just asking questions and noting things down is nice to know, but you will not use that information. 

You need to determine the questions you need to know about your competitors. Write them down and agree with your teams. Get your teams to get involved. Perhaps give each one of them to find an answer to a couple of the questions. Don’t ask too many questions. You don’t need to know everything tomorrow. Ask too many questions, and you will dilute your efforts. 

All the answers need to be brought together into a central place. Structured, so everyone understands their situation. Analyse the responses and ask the questions:

  • So what?
  • Why is that?
  • What’s next?

That way, you will begin to turn the answers into insight. The insight you can use to improve your offering and know what your competitors are going to do next. And how you can turn that to your advantage.

How to spy on your competitors and stay ahead of the competitive advantage game?

In conclusion, by researching your competition and understanding your customers, you can gain valuable insight that will help you improve your business. Use this information to stay ahead of the competition and continue to provide a quality product or service that meets your customers’ needs. We called this article how to spy on your competitors and stay ahead of the competitive advantage game.

Art by Jon Butterworth

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What is competitive intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is the finding & critical analysis of information to make sense of what’s happening & why. Predict what’s going to happen & give the options to control the outcome. The insight to create more certainty & competitive advantage.

This is a drawing of the Octopus Intelligence Logo By Octopus Competitive Intelligence, Due Diligence, Competitor Analysls, Market Analysis, Competitor Research and Strategic Business Development to beat your competitors, increase sales and reduce risk

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