Entrepreneurs should educate themselves about the trends happening in the market. Competition is increasing, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with your competitors. For your advantage, you should learn about competitive analysis research.
As you might know, research helps you educate yourself about crucial knowledge regarding a topic. The analysis allows you to confirm a particular hypothesis by solidifying claims through data gathering. This process provides you with information about the different aspects of the concern.
The same thing goes with competitor research. Competitor research produces data you can use to exceed the performance of your rival businesses. The information you have can be advantageous for your product and marketing strategies.
In other words, it’s like teaching yourself about the strengths and weaknesses of the company you’re trying to defeat. However, you should keep in mind that you should also identify your areas of improvement when doing so. Compare and contrast how your services perform, so you can see what else could be done to have what they don’t have.
This article will teach you everything you need to know about competitive analysis research.
Competitive Analysis Research: A Battle Plan
The Definition of Competitive Analysis Research
Do you know how to run a competitive analysis for your brand efficiently? When was the last time you ran one?
If your last “analysis” consisted of a glance at a competitor’s website, you’re likely missing out on valuable intelligence.
This detailed guide delivers insights into how your business can gain a competitive advantage in the market.
Competitive analysis is a strategy that involves gathering information about significant competitors’ products, sales, and marketing tactics. Conducting a competitive market analysis will give you a few advantages, including putting more robust business strategies behind competitors and capturing market share.
Competitive analysis can help you understand how your competition works and find opportunities where you can outperform them.
Additionally, it allows you to stay ahead of industry trends and consistently ensure your product meets industry standards.
Conducting competitive analyses provides a couple of additional advantages:
- Help you identify your product’s unique value proposition and what differentiates it from the competition.
- Teach you where your competitors are not achieving success.
- Know what customers think is missing in a competitor’s product or service.
- Provide a starting point where you can begin measuring your growth.
Competitive Market Research
Competitive market research focuses on finding metrics that help identify differences between your products and those of your competitors. A clear, comprehensive market research strategy to differentiate your company’s identity enables you to develop effective marketing and sales strategies.
Let’s dive into how you can conduct a competitive analysis for your company.
Competitive analysis can be beneficial to every brand. Perform competitor analysis, and you’ll be able to:
- Know market gaps.
- Create groundbreaking services and products.
- Discover trends in the market.
- Market and sell better.
Learning any of these four components will lead your brand to success.
Let’s now dive into some steps you can take to conduct a competitive analysis.
- Know your competitors.
- Learn which products your rival companies offer.
- Uncover your competitors’ sales strategies.
- Familiarize yourself with your competitor’s offered perks and pricing.
- Make sure you have better shipping prices.
- Determine how your competitors market services and products.
- Develop your competitive content strategy.
- Discover what technology your competitors are using.
- Have an idea about the website traffic your competitors have.
- Review how they publicize marketing content.
- Analyze their presence on social media.
- Initiate a strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) analysis.
You can accomplish these twelve steps for a complete competitive analysis, covering everything from sales, marketing, and product strategy.
Know Your Competitors
To compare the data accurately, you must figure out who you are competing with. Your brand may not benefit from what works for a business in your area.
Remember that direct and indirect competitors are the two types of competitors.
Direct competitors are businesses that offer a product or service that could substitute yours and operate within your geographic area.
On the other hand, indirect competitors sell products that are not the same as yours. However, they could still satisfy the same customers you are targeting.
Even though it seems simple on paper, these words are often misused.
When comparing your brand, you should only consider your direct competitors. Many brands get this wrong.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should disregard your indirect competitors.
Keep these brands on your radar since they can move positions anytime and enter the market through direct competitors.
You may also want to conduct competitor analysis routinely. If you’re not constantly scoping out the market, you won’t be aware of these changes until it’s too late.
Learn Which Products Your Rival Companies Offer
Another excellent strategy in competitive analysis research is learning the products offered by your competitors. One of the essential components of any business is its product or service, which is why here is an excellent place to start.
You should look at your competitor’s product line and the quality of their services or products.
Also, you should check their pricing and any discounts they’re offering customers.
- What are their market shares?
- Do they focus on volume sales or one-off purchases?
- What are the common likes and dislikes of their clients?
- How do they deliver their services?
- What are their pricing methods?
- Are their products low-cost or high-cost?
- What makes them unique?
Uncover Your Competitor’s Sales Strategies
Getting a sales analysis of your competitors can be challenging.
You’ll want to answer the following questions:
- How do they manage their sales process?
- Which platforms do they sell at?
- What are their locations, and how does it affect their sales?
- Do they expand or plummet down?
- Do they offer sales partnerships with other entrepreneurs?
- What are the likes and dislikes of their customers?
- What are their annual revenue and overall sales?
- Do they offer products/services discounts?
- What are the strategies of their salespersons?
This helpful information will give you a better idea of how competitive the sales process may be.
For public companies, you can find annual reports online. However, you will have to sift through some data from privately owned businesses.
You can find some of these details by searching through your CRM. Also, you can reach out to those customers who mentioned they were considering your competitor. Find out why people chose your product or service over others.
Run a report showing all prospective deals where there were identified competitors.
If you do not have this data at hand, consult marketing and sales to implement a system. It may involve prospects who are asked about the other companies they are considering.
Essentially, they will need to ask their leads (either through a form field or in a one-on-one sales conversation). Your customers will help your marketing analysts to identify their service providers, who they have used in the past, and who else they consider.
By asking interview questions, you’ll receive organic feedback regarding what customers find appealing about your brand.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Competitor’s Offered Perks and Pricing
Choosing the right price for your product or service includes many factors. One major factor is understanding how much your competitors charge for similar products or services.
If you feel your product or service offers superior features compared to competitors, you might consider making it more expensive. If you do that, you want to ensure your sales representatives are ready to explain why they should pay the additional price.
Alternatively, perhaps you feel your industry has a gap for affordable products. If that’s the case, you may aim to charge less than competitors. Also, you may appeal to prospects who aren’t looking to break the bank for higher-quality products.
While many factors are involved in correctly pricing a product, you must stay on top of industry pricing. It’s an excellent strategy to ensure you’re pricing your product in a way that feels reasonable to prospects.
Make Sure You Have Better Shipping Prices
Today, free shipping attracts consumers to choose one brand over another. If you work in an industry where shipping is a significant consideration, you should check competitors’ shipping costs. You must ensure you’re meeting those prices and not exceeding them.
If most of your competitors offer free shipping, you might want to consider creating a free shipping option for your own company. If free shipping isn’t an option for your business, consider loyalty programs, holiday discounts, or giveaways on social media.
Determine How Your Competitors Market Services and Products
Online marketing can be best measured by analyzing your competitor’s website. Check out the questions below and use them as your guide:
- Do your competitors run a blog?
- Are your competitors making e-books or white papers?
- Do they shoot videos and conduct webinars?
- Are they releasing a podcast frequently?
- Do they use cartoons and other infographics?
- Are they into slide decks?
- Do they write featured articles?
- Are they connected to any media outlet?
- Do they write case studies?
Evaluate Your Competitors’ Marketing Content Strategies
After answering the questions listed above, determine how you can exceed their blogging and article writing success.
Then, know the frequency of these content assets. Or do they publish something new every week or once a month? How frequently do their new case studies and e-books have their debuts?
Unless you stumble across a rich archive of content, your competitor might have already been publishing regularly. You may benefit from understanding their lead-generating strategies based on their discussion topics.
From that point on, you should evaluate the quality of their content. If the quality is lacking, it won’t matter how often they post since their target audience will not find much value.
When you have a solid understanding of your competitor’s content marketing strategy, it’s time to determine if it genuinely works.
Discover What Technology Your Competitors are Using
Learning what types of technology your competitors use to reduce friction and ensure momentum in your organization is critical.
Suppose you have seen positive reviews about a competitor’s customer service. While conducting research, you discover the customer uses powerful customer service software you have not used. The information presented here should give you the ideas you need to outperform your competitors.
Use Built With to find out which software your competitors use. It may also include third-party plugins ranging from analytics systems to CRMs to find the company’s URL.
You might consider examining your competitors’ job listings, particularly for engineers and web developers. Most job advertisements will mention what tools a candidate needs to be familiar with – a creative way to gain insight into your competitors’ technologies.
Have an Idea About the Website Traffic Your Competitors Have
To assess your competitors’ content strategies, check how their readers interact with their articles.
Check your competitor’s content’s average number of comments, shares, and likes.
Know if your competitor categorizes their content with tags. Also, discover if they have social media follow and share buttons attached to each piece of content.
Review How They Publicize Marketing Content
Next, you need to know how your competitors promote their content.
You should be able to answer the following questions:
- Which keywords do your competitors use that you haven’t used in your content yet?
- What is their most shared and linked content?
- Which social media do they use?
- What sites link to their website that you haven’t discovered yet?
- Who’s sharing your competitors’ marketing content?
- What’s the traffic to your competitor’s website?
Analyze Their Presence in Social Media
You should evaluate your competitor’s social media presence and engagement rates in marketing.
You must know which social media platforms your competitors are using that you’re still not on. It would help if you learned how that platform is beneficial for your competitor and how it can potentially help your business grow.
Familiarize yourself with the following information:
- What’s their content virality?
- How many fans/followers do they have?
- What kinds of content do they publish?
- How original are their contents?
Use this scale to assess your competitors’ social media presence.
Initiate a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat (SWOT) Analysis
To compare your competitor accurately, you must establish a baseline in addition. Such a move can be helpful when you need to perform a SWOT analysis.
SWOT is one of the tools used to analyze competitive pressures. The framework allows you to identify weak areas in your competitor’s market and weaknesses with which you can capitalize.
SWOTs also help you identify other brands’ strengths and potential operational problems.
Finally, you now understand why conducting competitive analysis research is vital for your company’s success. Competitive market research helps you become more aware of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. By conducting this move, you also familiarize yourself with your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
You are now aware of the twelve (12) bullet-point checklist you should follow when conducting competitive analysis research. Make sure to execute each step as instructed above correctly. Doing so puts yourself one step ahead of your rival companies.
Hence, market competitor research is your partner in securing your company’s prosperous future.
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