Imagine you’re stepping into a boxing ring, ready to fight. Sounds pretty scary, but wait, it gets worse. You’ve no idea who your competitor is. You don’t know what their strengths and weaknesses are. You don’t know which moves to expect from them or the best way to take them down. You’re effectively going in completely blind, and as a result, your chances of winning the fight are considerably less than if you knew who you were competing with and had done your homework.
The same goes for your business.
You’re competing against other brands, and in order to stand a chance of surviving and hopefully thriving, you need to know what you’re up against.
This is where competitor research comes in.
Before you conduct competitor research, you need to know what it is, what it’s for, and what it involves.
What is competitor research? Essentially, it’s the process of gathering and evaluating information about your competitors in the same space.
For example, if you’re running an online jewellery boutique, you’ll need to research what other successful online jewellery boutiques are doing.
Why is competitor research performed?
The primary goal here is to gain insights into your competitors strengths, weaknesses, strategies, and overall performance.
From there, you’ll be better informed to make better decisions for your own business.
You might notice a common theme among all the successful businesses in your space, in which case, it may be advisable to adopt the same theme. You might notice a gap in the market, or a trick that your competitors are missing. You might recognise a marketing technique that will be beneficial for your own business to use.
There’s a whole heap of information and knowledge to be gained from examining your competitors, which can be used to move your own brand forwards.
How does competitor research take place?
Well, it can be as in-depth as you want it to be, depending on what resources you have available to dedicate to it.
You’ll need to identify your competitors, and follow this up by assessing the products or services they offer.
Look at how they interact with their customers, where they position themselves within the market, and how they attract their target audience. Assessing their price points, unique selling points, and customer reviews can all give you valuable insights into your competition.
To put it simply: Yes! But in the words of almost every four year old to ever exist, ‘why?’ Well, there are a whole heap of reasons, actually.
Gaining an understanding of your competitors and how they relate to your audience also gives you key insights into your audience themselves.
Understanding your audience is how you grab their attention and maintain it.
Having a clear idea of who your target audience is, and how best to communicate with them will help you to determine how to best position your business.
It can also help you to tailor your products and services to meet your customers’ needs and values.
By studying competitors, you can gain a deeper understanding of the market dynamics and industry trends, which is valuable information for making informed decisions for your own business and adapting to changes in the market.
Recognising what competitors are doing right and following them will only get you so far.
To outshine competitors, you need to recognise what they’re not doing and what they could be doing.
Spotting these gaps in the market or potential opportunities for gaining more customers will help you differentiate yourself from competitors and give you a unique selling point.
Assessing the products and services offered by competitors and analysing their price points will help you gain an understanding of where you should pitch your products.
You may also notice which products are the most popular and which aren’t doing so well. Use customer reviews to improve your products and services to offer something even better than your competitors.
Researching and analysing competitors can help you identify opportunities and threats in the market, and subsequently, you can develop informed strategies to gain a competitive advantage.
Scanning the websites and promotional material of competitors is a great place to start when performing competitor analysis.
To get a deeper understanding of how they are marketing themselves and where they position their brand within the market, you’ll need to get closer to them.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!
Fortunately, technology means you don’t need to start rummaging through your competitors bins, or peeking through their windows.
Follow your competitors social media accounts, such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, to see how they’re interacting with their target audience and any special offers they’re running.
Check out the accounts of users who regularly interact with your competitors, such as those who like posts or make comments.
This can help you stay ahead of the game and get a clearer understanding of the types of people you want to appeal to.
You can use Google Alerts to be notified whenever your competitors get mentioned online.
This could reveal a particular product that is doing well, or a problem a customer has had.
Any information about the competition is beneficial to help you alter the way you position your brand.
Signing up to your competitors newsletters helps keep you in the loop with any product or service changes that are happening, any promotions, sales, or business expansion.
Analysing the tone of voice the newsletters are delivered in will also help you understand more about your target audience and how they like to be communicated with.
To Sum Up
Competitor research should be an ongoing process throughout the lifespan of your business.
Ideally, you want to look at what your competitors are doing before you even launch your business, and don’t take your eyes off of them even when your business is thriving and at the top of its game.
Recognising what competitors are doing well, what they’re not doing so well, and how you can be better, is invaluable information for the success of your business going forward.
Sounds like a lot of hassle?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Reach out today to find out how we can help you with competitor research.