Competitor research is an in depth analysis of your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses. This analysis gives both a defensive and offensive strategic context to identify threats and opportunities. Competition research can also help you understand how your competitors think, what they value and why. Knowing about competitors also helps you to improve upon your own strengths and identify areas for improvement. Understanding your competitors helps you to build effective strategies and to fine tune your overall organization.
Competitor research should be considered a fundamental part of any competitive analysis program. While thorough competitor analysis is always advisable, not all competitive intelligence studies focus on competitor analysis. Sometimes we look at competitors through the wrong lenses. For example, if a company is competitively positioned and there are no direct competitors, then we focus primarily on market segment or geography factors without taking into account other important elements of competitiveness such as the companies’ product mix, service, culture, and financial strength. Competitor research can reveal a lot about a company’s overall competitiveness.
Competitor research should also include a social media component. The increasing popularity of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace has created a new benchmark for companies that want to compete on the global stage. Social media allows companies to reach target markets more effectively and interact with customers in a more personal way. While some companies use this new tool to simply attract more customers, it is also used to monitor customer sentiment toward their brand. Competitor research with social media provides a rich source of data which can be compiled for many different purposes, including competitor analysis.
Competitor research provides valuable insights on the ways that competitors actually manage and utilize their resources. This type of research can also reveal trends in competitor behavior and the quality of their strategy. While social media sites have many uses, there is a clear potential for abuse. For example, some social media sites allow users to make threats and others use misinformation to misdirect or even fabricate consumer sentiments. Competitor research can help identify areas of opportunity for a company and these insights may prove to be very valuable. By tracking the conversations taking place on popular social media sites, a company can quickly identify areas of weakness and find ways to improve these areas, which can translate into improved products and services.
Search engine optimization is arguably the most important factor in a successful search engine marketing campaign and this aspect of competitor research is absolutely essential. By searching for “competitor results” and going further into the specific niche, companies can quickly identify the most successful and most relevant online competitors. This enables them to incorporate key components of their strategy into their marketing plan. It is important to note that while search engine optimization is essential to any company looking to succeed online, it is only part of the equation. There is also need for effective marketing campaigns and competitive intelligence to stay ahead of competitors in the increasingly crowded internet market.
Competitor research should not be conducted just once. Instead, companies should conduct a consistent and continuing effort to understand their direct competitors and how they operate. Doing so can provide vital insights that can prove to be invaluable in implementing new strategies, enhancing current offerings and helping to strengthen business branding. When conducting competitor research, companies should look beyond the obvious weaknesses to take a broader view of their competitors’ strengths as well as their weaknesses.
The internet provides two categories of internet competitors: direct and indirect. Direct competitors are those companies that sell directly to end users and those that work with other businesses to promote and sell their products. Indirect competitors are those who engage in business promotion through the use of media such as newspapers, magazines and even billboards. It is of paramount importance to identify and analyze all two categories to get the best insights into how to position themselves against direct and indirect business competitors.
Competitive intelligence is essential to ensuring your company’s competitiveness and staying ahead of the competition. Competitive intelligence professionals are business owners and/or consultants that collect and analyze competitor information. These professionals help business owners make informed decisions about how to stay ahead of the competition. These experts can provide you with the information you need to improve your products and services while staying ahead of your competitors. It is important for you to have access to these valuable insights as they are often the key to winning a particular business competition. Whether it is conducting competitor research or simply analyzing the information that surrounds you, obtaining the best competitive intelligence is essential to improving your bottom line.