The most useful tool in a new business's toolbox is knowledge. Whatever your specialty is, there are other companies out there who specialise in the same thing. Knowing your competition and studying the way they conduct business is crucial to success. Here are some tips on conducting competitive analysis so that company directors can help their business outshine and outsell.
1. Study how your competitors advertise themselves. Marketing is important for all businesses to get the word out and show your unique angle in the marketplace. Burying your head in the sand in terms of knowing what your competitors are putting out there is a crippling move. Try to investigate as a consumer would, and take note of what aspects of their website, brochure, taglines, and commercial are effective. Then put that knowledge to good use when creating your own advertising.
2. Get personal. Talk to your competition's customers. More often than not, people are more than happy to tell you what exactly they're looking for in a business. Find out what they value and work those values into your practices.
3. Utilize technology. When investigating your competitors, don't shy away from the latest technological search aids. Pay attention to what people are saying on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. People are a lot more likely to be honest when they're writing about something in cyberspace rather than telling someone to their face – that way you will learn about what people like and don't like that way. You can also set up keywords that are pertinent to your business in Google Alerts so that you don't miss out on something that appears on the web.
4. Don't only investigate current competitors. Research what companies were in your industry and failed. Was their product too expensive or not user-friendly enough? What tactics did they use to reach their consumers that failed? Knowing what didn't work will help you avoid making those costly mistakes in the future.