Before we start this elaborate discussion, let us put forth a few questions:
Do you have any colloquial idea about your direct and indirect competitors? How often have you had a chance to interact with your competitors? What did you learn from them? When was the last time you analyzed your competitor’s actions?
If you want to rule the market, you need to be 100% sure of what you have answered for these questions. You cannot give a blunt answer to go further. If you are not able to answer perfectly, it’s not too late. All you need to do is start researching who your competitors are, and what you are planning to do with them. Using the right competitor analysis tools is also the best way to make it happen.
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”- Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather
This iconic quote from the classic “The Godfather” would speak volumes about what you have got to do in the market. In every business, you would have your own set of allies, diplomats and opponents. You have got to be watching them keenly. It doesn’t mean that you have to consider them as a threat and fear them. But you should be knowing what your competitors are doing. If not, they might out beat you in this whirlwind atmosphere where you need to always stay a step ahead of the curve. You cannot let them ruin the game. In every industry, there would be certain competitors who would steal the apples and oranges out of you. They attract your clients, pose a threat to your business and try to lead the way. Being their competitor is not always a smoothie ride. You get exhausted and frustrated on the go. There should always be a healthy competition, not a sword and arrow clash. To ensure that the fiddle goes well with your competitor, you need to analyze them. You need to understand their strategies, what they are up to and how they are upgrading themselves.
“Competition is always a good thing. It forces us to do our best. A monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity.” – Nancy Pearcy
Monopoly would diminish the winning spirit in you as time flies. It is our competitor who motivates you to be daring and take up challenges in the market. Before you contemplate on how to do competitive research, you need to be sure about the path. When you go about your competitor analysis, you should make sure that you are properly prepared. It is similar to warming up before you take part in the actual sport. These are the steps you can follow to ensure that competitive analysis is successful:
Make a list of who your competitors are. They could be your indirect competitors, potential competitors or direct competitors. Create a profile for them. It can be those who would be offering products and services to your targeted market or a startup who would be venturing out in the upcoming year.
Apart from those smaller fingerlings, you need to take a look at the bigger sharks who are dominating the ocean of your market. Your business would flourish only if you know who you are swimming against. Hence it is better to highlight your top competitors, the big players and anyone who has the capability to change the course of your industry.
Analyze the market before you analyze your competitor. You should know how your market runs, who are your key competitors and much more. But more than anything else, you need to sync up with the current market scenario. You cannot lead the game when you are not a part of the game. Hence you need to understand in-depth about your market before racing against your competitor. Sometimes, you might need to collaborate with the local market, especially when you are an MNC trying to set foot in a new realm. This is very much common in the automobile industry. Honda joined hands with Bajaj in the mid-1980s which proved to be a successful strategy. You just need to take a keen note on what is happening around your market to be a better player. This is going to let you hold a place for yourself in the market. Your market would sometimes demand you to give up on a key project. Whatever it is, you should be agile enough to bend as per your market demands. This would let you remain in a safe shell when you need more upcoming investments and returns. You would always have a grip over the market in spite of the changing competition.
Your competitor should be your teacher, not a foe. You would have a lot to learn from them if you take a close look at what they are doing. You are supposed to bookmark your competitor as your biggest learning lesson. That would help you to set your market strategy straight.
Look at your competitors the same way you look at your customers. How do they function? What have been their key objectives? What do they aspire to change in the market? How are they serving the needs of their customers? Put yourself in their shoes and learn. Every customer would love it when you can offer them with personalized experiences, high-quality products and listen to them more keenly. You need to be customer-obsessed to win more deals. Companies such as Ritz-Carlton and BufferApp are doing an exceptional job in creating more personalized customer journeys. Ritz-Carlton was able to give a customized hotel stay experience for its customers. BufferApp is known for its faster approach in answering client questions and demands. While conducting competitor analysis, you need to view your competitors the same way you view your customers. Your current value depends on how your customers are able to relate to your brand. This is what is going to make you indefinite in the swirling competition. Hence you need to be wary of the competition and what is going to set you apart. This would allow you to capture a place for yourself in the market. Your competitors are going to serve your customers. Hence you need to empathize with them first to move on to the next phases.
When you get a clear picture of your competitor, what they have been doing and how you can handle them, kudos! You have to analyse your market. Once that is done, your next motive should be to conduct a competitor analysis. You need to go through the following four stages to conduct it successfully:
Once you identify who your true competitors are, you need to get into the metrics to compare and contrast your competitors. This would give you the courage to sail high on competition. You should understand where and how you are behind the league.
When you have got the strategy in hand, you need to go about setting an example for your market. This can be done only when you are aware of what you are doing. When you can develop more product and service strategies pertaining to the current market scenario, it would be a sure-fire way to capture the interest of your audience.
Sometimes, you need to break the age-old trend in the market to set across a new example. You should be doing it quite well and frequently. Nobody would take notice if you are following the lead. YOU need to be the lead. Hence it is always good to set the industry trends that add value to your customers.
You ought to market your products to the right customers. Your competitor might be a great marketer. You need to outsmart them with your witty business development, sales and marketing team. Get a clear strategy on the picture.
Do you want more leads? Do you want to skyrocket your brand value to the next level in the upcoming years? What have been your plans? Set them clearly. Carrying out competitor benchmarking is also a great idea to go about. All you need to do is have a proper plan and strategy based on your interest and results.
Thinking how to do a competitor analysis? If you are taking up these five steps seriously, you are all set to set a role model for your followers. As you have prepared yourself for competitor analysis, you need to understand how you can do it.
You need to have a clear perspective of who those competitors are. Are they a startup who entered the business lately? Are they a high-flying business unicorn dominating the market? You need to analyze all these factors before you start out. You can divide all your competitors into two main categories: Direct and indirect. Direct competitors offer a similar substitute product.
What products does your competitor offer? What are the additional products that they have specialized themselves in? Are you following their footsteps or offering a different service? You need to be aware of all these all together when you need to build a successful product in the market
Are you ready to explore what your competitors have been doing all along? Do you know their strengths and weaknesses? Would you be ready to learn more about their sales strategies? The cross-selling sales strategy of Zomato might not fit in with the generic strategy of differentiation, that Google follows on the basis of Porter’s model. Hence you need to differentiate which strategy would match up well for your business. Are they into reselling partners? What is their ideal sales volume? Get to understand all these factors.
You should be able to analyze the activities of your competitors perfectly. Are they into vigorous sales and marketing? Are they implementing any new strategies that you have been missing so far? Clearly analyse all these factors before you make a leap. If your competitor has been doing a great job, take a moment to appreciate them in your mind. If they are lagging somewhere, take a dig at that and learn from their mistakes. Observe and create a report on how many salespeople were involved, if they are offering any discounts, who is the high-cost provider and what their pricing strategies are. If any of your prospects have got attracted with your competitor’s sales strategies, make sure that you follow up and understand what made them move on.
Content is the unquestionable king of every industry. As claimed by a few industry professionals, content strategy is the only real strategy. Your competitor might be doing a great job with their evergreen blogs. As Neil Patel, the most acclaimed marketing professional says, “Don’t optimize for conversions – optimize for revenue.” Being a content marketer comes up with a lot more challenges. All you need to do is to create a content strategy for yourself. Look at what type of content your competitor is publishing. Understand where you are missing out. If your competitor is publishing more E-books, make sure to publish it. Having the right team of content writers, graphic designers and digital marketing analysts would let you be on the top of the game. Make sure that the content you produce is more authentic and plagiarism free. Your team should focus on improving the brand value by offering insightful content to your audience. Repurposing the content which has been published shortly is a good practice. Distributing it across different channels would also give an idea to establish a strong bond and foundation in your content marketing sector. You get to prove yourself in the market in the midst of your competitors by adding value to your audience. Your content strategy should not stop you from getting an added edge over your competitor. Hence work on improvising it.
Your competitor might be that person who specializes at getting more views on their social media posts, blogs or infographics. If they are doing an exceptional job in that aspect, you need to prepare ways to outperform them. To understand how to rank your content well, you can learn from the resources shared by Hubspot on content strategies. You can increase the organic traffic of your website and also focus on increasing the domain rating.
Are they being active on the forums? Are they currently focusing on improving their website views? Do they promote their content regularly on their social media pages? Understand more about these promiscuous factors to create your own content promotion strategy. You need to be sure of how you are going to market and promote your content. This will let you reach out to more audiences. Every competitor is unique. You just need to understand how your competitor has been sustaining in the market by promoting the content. If you are able to figure it out, then the positive results would come back to you like a boomerang.
How about stalking the social pages of your competitors and understanding what they have been up to all these days? Well, it’s totally legal and an extremely common practice nowadays. If they have been really active on LinkedIn, make sure that you create a name for yourself on the platform. Get active on social groups, build your personal brand and voila! You have your own follower base on LinkedIn! It is always better to not chalk out that one social media place which has been the kingdom of your competitors. You get to understand what your competitors have been up to all these days. This will also let you make better decisions by leveraging those competitor analysis tools.
SWOT- As it translates to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, is the best way to understand where you can give a pat on your back and where you need to really, really improvise. Search for answers for a few questions:
These are just a handful of sample questions. You can make a list of other such questions and look for the right answers. This is going to help you in setting your business strategy. Let your team probe over these questions. If there are any underlying defects, then you need to find a solution for that. You just need to sort it out with the right team support. It can either be your in-house team or an efficient product outsourced team. To put it in a nutshell, you need to compare your core objectives with that of your competitor. You need to understand where they are strong and comparatively weak. Record that and leverage those metrics to your advantage!
Your competitor analysis strategy is going to determine where your business would be in the upcoming years. Having a strong competitor analysis strategy would be the root cause for success and sustainability in the market. It would let you win more deals and make a dent for yourself. By sorting out any existing gap or services you need to offer your client, getting a clear knowledge of who your competitors are, understanding what your competitors are doing, taking a peek at their content marketing, promotion and distribution strategies, identifying your strength and weakness along with your competitor’s, you are going to create an undeniable place for yourself in the market.
Would you like to conduct competitor analysis the right way as per industry standards? Then all you need to do is consult the best UX Research team. They would be there to guide you throughout the entire process professionally.
If you are planning to move on to UI/UX Research or enable competitor analysis services, then Pattem Digital would be the best choice. We help you handle everything from documentation to support. Talk to us if you need any kind of assistance!
We would love to hear from you and we appreciate the good and the bad.