This is an image of a world and graphs for a articles about Weekly Winning Strategies series by octopus competitive intelligence agency octopus market intelligence services Mastering Market Analysis & Securing Your Position Mastering Market Analysis & Securing Your Position: Weekly Winning Strategies 2 Competitor Analysis is Your Key to Winning the Market: Weekly Winning Strategies. Identifying Competitor USPs: A Guide to Sharpen Your Market Analysis How to Identify Your Competitors from a Solopreneur to Apple. Don't just focus on tactical work and superficial metrics. Why AI Speeds Up the Competitive Intelligence Game, but it's never game over. Critical Thinking in Competitive Analysis with the Power of Porter's Five Forces to Master Market Dynamics

Weekly Winning Competitive Strategies

A collection of winning competitive strategies for everyone to improve their competitive advantage. Update weekly, every Saturday.

12th April 2024

Critical Thinking in Competitive Analysis with the Power of Porter’s Five Forces to Master Market Dynamics

It’s important we shift our focus beyond traditional SWOT analysis. To dive into deeper waters of critical thinking in competitive analysis with tools like Porter’s Five Forces. Now, this is not an alternative. It’s a strategic necessity. Especially in a landscape rife with uncertainties and ever-shifting dynamics. You work in one of those, right?

Heading into the danger zone

Porter’s Five Forces is more than a tool. It’s a lens to examine the competitive battlefield. Revealing not just your adversaries but the entire war zone’s topography. This framework, a brainchild of Michael E. Porter, scrutinises five domains:

  1. The threat posed by new market entrants,
  2. The bargaining clout of suppliers,
  3. The bargaining leverage of customers,
  4. The menace of substitute products or services,
  5. The ferocity of competitive rivalry.

Understanding these forces is not optional but essential. Take the threat of new entrants. It’s not about who’s joining the fray. It’s also about what unique strategies or innovations they bring. This insight can steer you towards upgrading your offering. Ensuring you aren’t just reacting to changes but anticipating them.

It’s not about how much they cost

The framework’s real prowess lies in its panoramic perspective. It’s not peering at your direct competitors. It’s about understanding the entire ecosystem, from supplier dynamics to shifts in customer preferences.

Gauging customers’ bargaining power isn’t about adjusting prices. It’s about aligning your entire value proposition to resonate with market demands.

The Five Forces model is an example of strategic thinking playing an important role. It makes you think about your situation. You’re not box-ticking; you’re engaged in a deep, critical market landscape analysis. That’s the critical thinking in competitive analysis

Your thinking, not theirs or generative AI

Your insight into these nuances is key. Moreover, Porter’s Five Forces is not a static tool. It requires constant reassessment and reevaluation as market conditions change.

You need to question assumptions and look beyond obvious trends. It’s not about isolating the presence of these forces. It’s also about noting their magnitude and dynamics.

If you don’t want to fall off your bike, look ahead

Let’s be real: Porter’s Five Forces isn’t about identifying current market pressures. It’s a forward-looking approach that prepares you for potential shifts in market dynamics.

This could involve questioning the long-held belief that buyers have low bargaining power or even reassessing the threat of substitutes in an evolving technological landscape. In fact, cut to the chase: If you are in a high-growth SaaS company, this is exactly what it will do. Every time.

Critical Thinking in Competitive Analysis

In today’s world, this is not just helpful—it’s critical. It’s about constructing strategies that don’t survive but thrive, ensuring long-term dominance in an evolving market. This is how you build a business, not just to last but to lead.

7th April 2024

How to uncover your competitor’s go-to-market strategy

This week’s winning competitive strategies article discusses go-to-market strategies. To uncover your competitor’s go-to-market strategy, you must examine their business model in depth. This work involves analysing their marketing channels and sales processes. Their customer segmentation and product positioning. Understanding your competitor’s strategy is crucial because it provides insights into market trends. It often reveals potential gaps in your approach. It has a habit of offering you an opportunity to differentiate your product or service. And importantly, it can also reveal discourse between three things:

  • What does their marketing team tell the world what is their go-to-market strategy is
  • What the salesperson actually says what their go-to-market strategy is
  • What their customer think their go-to-market strategy is

The difference should be quite telling, revealing a few things about their culture and communications. It shows that battle cards are only worthwhile if they are based on the real world. It allows you to exploit what their customers think and what they actually want. Or what you need to say to get them to become your customers. 

So how to do it

So here’s how to do it:

Buy competitive intelligence software, press that button, and bingo, it’s all laid out for you. Maybe not. If only life were so simple. 

So again, here’s how to do it:

Basic Research

  1. Start with broad market research to understand the industry landscape.
  2. Use tools like industry reports, market surveys, and customer feedback to gather intel.
  3. Read their websites, brochures, and other stuff they produce to attract more customers. 

Digital Footprint Analysis

Look at their online presence. Assess their social media, other websites that mention them, blog content, and online advertising. This digital analysis reveals a lot about their target audience and marketing tactics.

Sales Strategy Evaluation

Analyse how they sell. Are they using direct sales, channel partners, or e-commerce platforms? Are they still using a fresh-faced, unmotivated and bored graduate to go through a demo? Or worse, another more junior graduate to determine if you are worthy of a demo? Understanding their sales channels can reveal much about their market approach. You will soon see that you can do better, and differentiating is relatively easy. 

Customer Feedback and Reviews

Check customer reviews and feedback on platforms like:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • Glassdoor
  • Industry forums

These actions provide insights into what customers value in their offering.

Pricing and Positioning

Look at how they price and position their products or services. Is there a pricing strategy at play? Or has someone just put their finger in the air to see what sticks? Are they positioned as a premium brand or a cost leader? This can tell you about their target market segments.

Talk to them

Talk to your competitors, review their go-to-market strategy, and analyse what’s good about it and what you can learn from it. 

uncovering your competitor’s go-to-market strategy

Remember, the importance of this analysis lies in its application. It’s important to write down what you find in a simple report and compare what they do with what you do. Isolate what you think their actual go-to-market is. Try doing this before looking at what their website messaging tells you. Use these insights to refine your strategy, fill gaps in the market, and uniquely position your brand. This isn’t about copying what others do but about learning from the market to carve out your own space. And yeah, it’s about stealing their customers once they realise what a great alternative you are. 

30th March 2024

Why AI Speeds Up the Competitive Intelligence Game, but it’s never game over

In today’s changing business world, it’s not about keeping up; it’s about speeding ahead. We’re talking about a swift pace that rivals the intensity of Formula One racing. Artificial intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of this high-speed chase. It’s not only transforming the competitive intelligence game; it’s completely redesigning the race track itself.

Here’s the straightforward truth

If you still think AI is the death knell for competitive intelligence and plan to stick with your old methods, you’re not just mistaken—you’re lagging. Watch your competitors speed past you. Understanding that AI isn’t a destructive force in competitive intelligence is crucial. It’s a powerful enhancer of your competitive strategies.

It’s more complex than deploying ChatGPT or Claud to gather lots of information, and that approach could be more effective. Will it change in the future? Unlikely. Even if it does, verifying and authenticating it is the real challenge. However, blending traditional and new competitive intelligence skills is more crucial than ever. Key skills include seeking information, posing relevant questions, and employing competitive intelligence techniques to confirm, analyse, and validate sources. These remain the bedrock of effective competitive intelligence.

Utilising validation to fill knowledge gaps guarantees the integrity of our analyses. We must audit our work as we do now. Ensure our conclusions are meaningful and accurate while avoiding misinterpretation. We speed up our processes and enhance our capabilities through careful, segmented analysis. From creativity, hypothesis formation, and even doing a good old SWOT analysis. Competitive intelligence practitioners must evolve from observers to skilled users and contributors. The passive approach was ineffective, even in the so-called “stone age” of 2022 :-). So now it stands no chance.

The role of competitive intelligence includes informing, refining, and testing these AI models. AI doesn’t just save time; it kickstarts our thought processes. Crucially, the human intelligence aspect of competitive intelligence becomes more important. The increasing reliance on AI and engaging the right people in the right conversations brings deeper insights. This human-driven insight becomes very valuable as the world leans more toward AI. And it will be often overlooked.

Here’s a stark reality 

You need to leverage advantage if you’re not a lever to avoid being in your market analysis. AI can sift through massive data sets, uncover hidden patterns, and accurately predict market trends. So, what should be your strategy? It involves a three-pronged approach:

Question Everything 

In the AI era, no question is bad. Your curiosity is your guiding light. To help identify emerging market trends, shifts in consumer behaviour, or technological advancements.

Pursue Knowledge

AI is your mining tool in this information gold rush. Dig deep, and then dig deeper. The more you understand your market and competitors, the better you anticipate their moves.

Embrace Adaptability

This is more than a catchy phrase – it’s a necessity for survival. In an AI-transformed world, adaptability isn’t just a skill; it’s a lifeline. Integrate AI into your strategies and become a master of market dynamics.

Ignoring this is tantamount to accepting obsolescence. AI is reshaping the frontier of competitive intelligence, but never use it as a crutch. And avoid using AI without thinking. If we do, we spend time making decisions based on wrong information—or information your competitors also have access to—making competitive intelligence a pointless exercise.

Why AI Speeds Up the Competitive Intelligence Game

It’s time to accelerate your engines and embrace this new era. Don’t just ride the wave of change; master it. Welcome to the future of market analysis, supercharged by AI. Buckle up; it’s going to be an interesting journey!

23rd March 2024

Don’t just focus on tactical work and superficial metrics

Many within competitive intelligence focus on tactical work, like keywords, pricing, and current product specifics. The superficial metrics include how many customers perceive them as great or which quadrant they and their competitors sit in.

Some may sit for hours contemplating this or, indeed, buying the report that tells them how to think. Or what a group of fresh-faced graduates think. No offence to fresh-faced graduates. We’re just jealous 🙂

The usual questions

Then there are the common competitive intelligence questions like:

  • What strategies will increase our market share?
  • How do we outperform our competitors in key areas?
  • What moves will help us dominate in our industry?

While these questions are understandable and perfectly reasonable, they are only sometimes the most insightful for those aiming to excel in competitive intelligence. The answers are often available through thorough research.

Reflecting on common inquiries over the last few years, we realised something significant:

Most questions we receive are focused on analysing competitors. How can a company understand its competition to improve its own position? How can it surpass competitors to achieve greater success?

The Most Crucial Question

Yet, here’s a question rarely posed:

What makes your competitors’ customers so loyal?

Notice how this shifts the focus from your strategy to understanding the competitors’ customer relationships?

What makes your competitors’ customers so loyal?

That’s the key question in competitor analysis.

This unique approach focuses on understanding competitors’ customer satisfaction and strategies. This insight is critical for you—it allows you to attract and retain the right customers.

Many analysts prioritise understanding market trends first, expecting to analyse competitors later. But the actual sequence is reversed. Understanding your competitors leads to market growth and other important metrics.

Information on market trends and strategies is readily available online, but the core of successful competitor analysis lies in understanding market dynamics and customer satisfaction. Get this right, and organic growth will follow.

If you’re analysing competitors, the important questions are: What satisfies their customers? And why?

Discovering Competitors’ Success Secrets

Whether new to analysis or experienced, the most impactful task is to comprehend your ideal competitor’s customer base and identify their needs and preferences.

Talk with at least five individuals who represent these competitors’ customers. Your sales team should already be doing this. Get them to do something different rather than just asking for their business and trying to build a business relationship. Encourage them to understand their challenges, goals, struggles, and desires. Note their responses.

Inquire about their satisfaction with your competitors’ offerings. Does it meet their needs? Are they genuinely interested? If not, why not? Adjust your strategies based on this feedback. Don’t cling to preconceived notions if your ideal market indicates otherwise.

When you understand what delights these customers, you have a clear goal to aim for.

Evolving Your Strategies

Start by applying your insights to smaller groups. Let the results speak for themselves. As you assist others, word will spread.

Share your learnings and refine your approach. Utilise your media platforms to discuss how you address these challenges and achieve results.

You’ll find comfort in knowing you don’t need to chase trends. Focus on understanding and applying what attracts customers to your competitors. In our Competitor Analysis, we can delve deep into identifying the right subjects, gaining their attention, and crafting strategies based on our discoveries.

Remember, the transformation you provide through your analysis is the heart of what you do. 

So, growth ultimately stems from being useful and helpful to those seeking the offerings you and your competitors provide.

Making your customers informed.

So, your task today is to connect with at least two people who fit your ideal customer profile and schedule a discussion. If compensation is required, see it as an investment. These conversations could prevent you from pursuing ineffective strategies.

That’s all for now.

16th March 2024

How To Identify Competitors If You’re A Solopreneur Or Apple

Your business may be a unique reflection of your passions and skills. However, knowing who you’re up against is crucial in the bustling marketplace. Identifying your competitors isn’t just about knowing who they are; it’s about understanding where you stand and how to outmanoeuvre them. Here’s a step-by-step guide to sharpen your competitive edge. How to identify competitors? The following is a good start:

1: Start With A Broad Sweep

  • Online Search: Begin with the obvious—Google. Search for products or services similar to yours. Don’t just stop at page one; dig deeper—way deeper.
  • Social Media Scan: Platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter are treasure troves of competitor information. Search for hashtags and keywords related to your business.

2: Get Industry-Specific

  • Attend Trade Shows: Nothing beats face-to-face interactions. Trade shows and industry events are perfect for understanding who’s who in your field.
  • Industry Reports: Invest in industry reports. They often contain a goldmine of information about major players and market trends.

3: Look Beyond The Direct Competition

  • Indirect Competitors are businesses that are outside your niche but could satisfy your customers’ needs differently.
  • Substitute Products: Be aware of products or services that could replace yours. For instance, if you’re a personal trainer, a local yoga studio might be your indirect competitor.

4: Analyse The Competition

  • Social Media Following: How large and engaged is their audience?
  • Website and SEO: Use tools like Moz or SEMrush to see how their website performs and what keywords they target.
  • Customer Reviews and Feedback: Platforms like Yelp or Google Reviews can provide insights into their strengths and weaknesses.

5: Organise And Monitor

  • Create a Competitor Database: Keep a spreadsheet with key information about each competitor.
  • Set Up Alerts: Tools like Google Alerts or Mention can notify you when your competitors are mentioned online.

6: Reflect And Strategise

  • Identify Gaps: Look for what they’re missing and how you can fill those gaps.
  • Differentiate: Knowing your competitors allows you to highlight what makes you unique.

7: Leverage Customer Insights

  • Talk to Your Customers: Sometimes, your best resource is your existing customer base. Ask them what other products or services they considered before choosing you. This can reveal competitors you may not have identified.
  • Survey and Feedback: Use surveys or feedback forms to gather insights on what your customers value in your products and where they see room for improvement. This can highlight areas where competitors might be outperforming you.

8: Keep An Eye On New Entrants

  • Emerging Competitors: The market is always evolving, with new players entering frequently. Keep an eye on industry news, startup launches, and crowdfunding platforms to spot emerging competitors early on.
  • Adapt and Evolve: As new competitors emerge, it’s essential to adapt. This might mean updating your offerings, tweaking your marketing strategy, or redefining your target audience.

Remember, identifying your competitors isn’t a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process that keeps you sharp and informed. Your competitors might change as you grow, and staying on top of these shifts is key to staying ahead. So, dive in, do your homework, and prepare to stand out in the crowded marketplace!

9th March 2024

Identifying Competitor USPs: A Guide To Sharpen Your Market Analysis

Let’s explore the concept of identifying competitor USPs. It’s a critical aspect of market analysis.

Understanding your competitor’s USP is like deciphering a secret code – it reveals what they offer and why they succeed, guiding you to innovate and differentiate in a crowded market.

Understanding your competitors’ USPs is like having a map in an unknown forest in the entrepreneurial journey. It’s about recognising what sets them apart and leveraging that knowledge to refine your business strategy. Identifying these USPs isn’t just about knowing what your competitors are doing. It’s about understanding why they succeed in what they do.

Deep Dive into Their Offerings

Analyse your competitors’ products or services in detail. Look beyond the obvious features and delve into the benefits they offer to their customers. What problems are they solving? Often, a USP lies in the unique solution to a common problem.

Engage with Customer Feedback 

Customer reviews and testimonials can be gold mines for understanding a competitor’s USP. Pay attention to what customers are praising. Is it innovative product design, exceptional customer service, or an unmatched user experience? This feedback offers unfiltered insights into what makes them stand out.

Analyse Their Branding and Messaging

How a company brands itself can reveal a lot about its USP. Examine their marketing materials, website, and social media presence. Look for patterns in their messaging. Are they positioning themselves as the most affordable option, the premium choice, or the most user-friendly?

Study Their Market Positioning

It is crucial to understand where your competitors position themselves in the market. Are they targeting a niche segment or aiming for mass appeal? This positioning often reflects the USP they are banking on to attract their customer base.

Evaluate Their Customer Experience

Sometimes, a USP is not about the product but its surrounding experience. How do they make their customers feel? Is there an ease of purchase or a community aspect? Or an exceptional post-purchase support system that sets them apart?

Monitor Their Achievements and Milestones

Keep an eye on any awards, certifications, or milestones your competitors have achieved. These accolades can point towards areas where they excel and have gained recognition – a potential USP.

Leverage Competitive Analysis Tools

Utilise digital tools that offer insights into competitors’ online strategies. From SEO and content marketing to social media engagement. These tools can uncover strategies that are working in their favour.

Identifying Competitor USPs: A Guide To Sharpen Your Market Analysis

Remember, identifying competitor USPs isn’t about copying them. It’s about understanding the landscape in which you operate. It’s about finding that gap or opportunity they might have missed or creating a unique blend of USPs that resonate with your target audience. Thoroughly analyse your competitors to comprehend their strengths. To anticipate market trends, helping you stay one step ahead in the game.

2nd March 2024

Mastering Market Analysis & Securing Your Position: Weekly Winning Strategies 2

This article is a weekly introduction to competitive and market intelligence. This week, mastering market analysis & securing your position.

Market Analysis: Your Blueprint for Success

Problem: Understanding and Capturing Your Market
Navigating the market might seem challenging, but it’s entirely feasible. Here’s your strategy.

Comprehend Market Dynamics

Start by understanding the market landscape. What are the prevailing trends? What do customers need and want? Which are the leading products or services, and how are they positioned? Gathering this information is invaluable.

Next, Identify The Opportunities

Where does the market fall short? What needs aren’t being met? It could be a gap in customer experience or an overlooked product innovation. Pinpoint these opportunities.

Time For Execution

Concentrate on the areas the market overlooks. Turn them into your forte. Excel in them. Become the go-to for these unique solutions.

This approach is your roadmap to success. 🗺️

Straightforward yet effective.

24th February 2024

Mastering Competitor Analysis & Gaining The Edge. Competitor Analysis Is Your Key To Winning The Market

Problem: Beating Your Competitor

It sounds tough, right? But it’s doable. Here’s how.

Understand Their Moves

First, know what they’re doing. What’s their strategy? What are their products? How do they market them? Get this intel. It’s gold.

Then, Find The Gap

What are they missing? What can you do better? Maybe it’s customer service. Perhaps it’s a unique feature of your product. Find that gap.

Now, Action

Focus on that one thing they’re not doing. Make it your strength. Excel in it. Be known for it.

That’s your winning ticket. 🎫

Simple but powerful.

Weekly Winning competitive strategies brought to you by Octopus competitive intelligence

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