No 2 - How to market research your competitors
You may recall that my strapline asks if you need to stand out from the crowd. I’m sure you do, but actually you won’t be able to unless you've checked out your competitors. I know that researching your competitors is a popular topic as over 4,000 people have checked out this post!
Of course the first challenge is actually unearthing who your competitors are - so let’s see how you might go about making a list:
- Look to see who complementary businesses have linked to on social media
- Ask your local business contacts who they know in your line of business
- Search on the Internet for similar products or services
- Pick up flyers and marketing literature
- Take note of local advertisements and press articles
- Look at the members of local networking groups
- Look at local printed and online business directories
- Look at the members of your local Chamber of Commerce
- Visit local exhibitions or trade fairs
Taking your list find out where they are active on social media and like them on Facebook or follow them on Google Plus, Twitter or Pinterest. Twitter lists are very useful for secretly following - Click here to find out what I mean
This is what you should now be looking at in terms of market research
- How do they come across? In a way that’s Traditional? Contemporary? Formal? Casual?
- What marketing methods are they using to promote themselves?
- What are their methods of delivery or distribution?
- Are they using any postage strategies?
- Are they more expensive, less expensive or the same price as you?
- How do they handle customer refunds?
- Are there customer loyalty schemes?
- Do they offer any guarantees?
- Are there any apparent partnerships or alliance that add value?
- What days or hours are they trading?
- Which geographical areas do they cover?
- Are they innovative? In other words using all those things you keep meaning to check out?
- What exactly are they providing in terms of products and services?
- What types of customer are they targeting ?
What about their strengths and weaknesses? In terms of strengths:
- What do customer testimonials say?
- What are they saying on their website?
- What are people saying about them on review sites or on social media platforms?
In terms of weaknesses are you doing better or have you now realised that you could?
Now, draw up a list of everything that you've found out about your competitors and put the information into three categories:
- In which areas are they better than you?
- In which areas are they worse than you?
- In which areas are they the same as you?
If this kind of information is useful to you why not follow me on Twitter - @janebuswell. I look forward to waving at you from there!