Competitor research in strategic management and marketing is a comprehensive evaluation of both the strengths and weaknesses of potential and existing competitors. This research provides both a defensive and offensive strategic context to identify threats and opportunities. Competitor profiling provides a unique opportunity to explore both the strengths and weakness of competitors, allowing for strategic decisions to be made that may reap benefits in cost savings, market share, and market reach. Competitive intelligence studies and case studies provide information necessary to develop competitive intelligence programs, such as competitor survey programs. These programs are used to determine the strength of a company’s competitive position relative to its peer group, the performance of key competitive markets, and to formulate methods for improving current strategies and enhancing future competitive performance.
Competitor profiling in a broader sense, also covers key areas such as primary and secondary research. Primary research often involves a deep analysis of specific companies, public opinions, and events to identify characteristics of competitors and their customers that serve to either weaken or strengthen the competitive position of a company. Secondary research can be used to look into areas such as product design, consumer behavior, target market research, and competitor analysis. With primary research, companies learn how competitors work their way towards success and what attributes set them apart from similar companies. On the other hand, secondary research often looks into the strategies employed by competitors and their internal systems to ensure they are able to remain on top of new developments in their industry.
Competitor profiling can help companies in two ways: by directly gathering information from competitors about their strategies, operations, and customer preferences; and indirectly through conducting market research. Many companies conduct online competitor research to understand what makes their competition successful, what makes them vulnerable to external threats, and what makes a competitor’s products stand out from the rest. Business competitors can use these sources to develop effective marketing strategies that incorporate elements of both an offensive and defensive strategy. In addition to gathering competitor information, companies must also know what makes their business competitors tick. Through analysis of search competitors and reviews of their services and products, a business can better understand their target markets, understand their competitive environment, and develop a strategy to counter their strengths.
Businesses must also monitor and trace every competitor’s activity, whether this is through search social, or media searches, or through user problem reports and comments. Analysis of competitor research is not only useful for understanding their users and their product and services; it is also useful for understanding their business, its product and services line, and its competitors. Through this research, a business can learn how competitors to solve problems, how competitors differentiate themselves from each other, and how competitors can best utilize user problem solving opportunities.
One of the most important factors to competitor intelligence is active engagement. For example, if a company does not pay enough attention to its competitors, or fails to respond when competitors try to engage them, then it is unlikely to emerge victorious from any competition. The same holds true for social media engagement. If a business fails to take note of social media reactions and does not monitor the social media presence of its competitors, then it is highly likely that it will miss a very lucrative opportunity to connect with potential customers. Without active engagement, businesses can be easily distracted by their competitors’ social media presence and can miss an opportunity to increase customer loyalty and brand awareness.
Look Like Your Competition: Not only should your competitors look like you, but they should also act and seem like you as well. There is no reason that a business should look like your competitors, because they will not have nearly the same user problem and problems as you. Therefore, make your competitors look like themselves, and treat them as if they were your customers. Encourage dialogue between your competitors and resolve any disputes by providing open and honest communication. Make sure that all of your staff and system to understand how to work around your competitors’ user problems and concerns.
Communicate With Potential Customers: By far, the best strategy to use when dealing with your competitors is to make clear your position in the market, and communicate with customers directly. Communicating with customers directly establishes trust, and shows them that you are in fact interested in meeting their needs. When a customer feels like they know “the real you,” they are far more likely to buy from them. In fact, studies show that customers will buy more products from a competitor if they know they are working with a true social media company than from a faceless company. Therefore, if you want to use paid search engine optimization to help your business get ahead of the competition, you need to establish a strong presence on competing websites and social media pages.
Find Out What Your Competitors Are Doing: Last but certainly not least, you need to understand what your competitors are doing to build their brand. Google AdWords, AdSense, Facebook pages and other popular PPC platforms are all great ways to find out what your competitors are doing and learn how you can beat them. For instance, some of your competitors may be using video production or special offers to attract customers. By studying what your competitors are doing, you can use this information to improve your own marketing efforts and position your company in a better position to succeed.