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Why Is Competitive Research Important And How Can You Do It Right?

May 2022
Why is competitive research important?

With businesses growing, competition is also escalating. To maintain business stability in the market, it is vital to do competitive research. Understanding your competition and managing your business is not the only component of competitive research. It is a much broader term. 

Competitive research includes recognizing your competitors and analyzing their strengths and weakness. Additionally, evaluate the pros and cons of their products so that you remain careful about how you are going to stack your products. With deep study, it is easier for your business to run and avoid the mistakes that are made by your competitor. In turn, this makes it less difficult to run a business in a competitive market and attract customers.

Your business can use various resources to perform competitive research and form a competitive assessment structure, collect all the relevant information about the competitor, and make necessary strategies based on the research done. This will help your business remain at the top.

Benefits of  Competitive Research

The above-information makes it more clear as to why competitive research is important, but we will further elaborate on it and discuss it in detail.

1. Market Understanding

With competitive research, you can learn about trends in the market that might be missed otherwise. Learning trends makes your work more enhanced, as you know what additions are required in your business and what you need to eliminate from your stock. By doing so, your customers will be more attracted to your business and you can boost your sales.

2. Recognizing the Gaps

Competitive research helps discover gaps in the market where competitors have not yet reached. Figure out the strengths and weaknesses of those gaps and why the population there is still underserved. With complete study, you can get the opportunity to start or expand your business there.

3. Marketing

If your products and services are meeting the needs of customers, then there is a  higher chance of them returning to your business. However, if they moved on to your competitor, this means they are not satisfied with your products or services. Customers’ preferences should be given top priority. By doing competitive research, you can analyze why customers choose competitor products over yours. Figure out how to improve your products and services to capture the market again.

4. Plan for Business

No business can survive without a plan. So, make sure to analyze all relevant facts and figures and make a plan that will help lead your business to the top. The most vital outcome of competitive research is that it assists with strategic planning. This planning helps you improve your products and services and enhance the promotion of your business. 

How to Perform Competitive Analysis

There are numerous steps that are required in order to perform competitive analysis:

  • Competitor research
  • Learn about their products and services, and find out if they are a direct competitor.
  • Understand their sales and marketing strategy.
  • Discover whether their strategies are fruitful or not.
  • Access their content strategy.
  • Find out the level of engagement they can attain with their content management.
  • Figure out how the promotion of their strategies is done.
  • Keep an eye on their social media to figure out how they are using it to market their content.

For competitive analysis, it is best to decide whether you want to carry out an in-house analysis done by your team, or if you need to hire a team of professionals that will help you with the analysis. Let us discuss both of these options in detail.

The Pros Of Hiring A Consultant

  • With their expertise, they help gather all vital information.
  • Complete knowledge of tools and techniques.
  • They are not new to this concept and have performed these hundreds of times before; so they know the systematic pattern that needs to be followed.

The down-side of hiring a consultant from outside your business is that there can be issues with your business partner or senior manager, as they may want to follow a different approach. Giving a clear picture about researching your competition may be difficult to get them understand.

The Pros Of Doing In-House Research 

  • Close tracking of crucial points that are needed to analyze first.
  • You can generate more data in the future if needed.
  • It is easier for a business owner/manager to take suggestions from within their staff than an outsider.

The main disadvantage of in-house research is that specialized knowledge is required, and you may not be able to get the data you wanted. This is especially because competitive analysis is not a one day task, it requires months to carry out the research.

However, there is always a middle ground that you can choose. The day-to-day tracking can be done by your in-house team, and have the deep research and quarterly updates performed by a consultant.

Steps For Competitive Research

Whichever way you choose for your competitive analysis, you need to follow some specific steps. The steps are as follows:

Step 1 – Customer Identification

As we have discussed earlier, there is no business without a competitor or there are numerous competitors that are struggling to capture a large portion of the same market. There are multiple ways that can help you identify your top-most competitors. In the past, there were fewer rivals and similar businesses. Though, now, you may have to fight with a hundred competitors selling the same product that you are offering to your customers.

With a minimal amount of research, you can gather complete information about your leading competitors and other essential players that are fighting for the same audience of buyers. It is a wise idea to keep track of the digital marketing footprints of your rivals such as online news websites, online communities, social media space, threads, and review sites. It is crucial that you figure out who your competitors are so that you can make a counter plan to capture their audience.

You can offer tester products to potential customers or can perform a survey to find out what customers like about your competitor’s products and services. This will help you enhance your services and products.

There are some websites that can make your competitor research easier, such as Crunchbase or Product Hunt.

Step 2 – Examine Competitors’ Online Presence

In this step, we analyze the website of competitors closely to find out how they have arranged their brand products, their blogging strategies, how they have described their products, and how they are fascinating customers with product photographs and call-to-action methods. A deep study regarding commonly employed strategies is done in which customer support systems, promotion methods of brands, learning how they have displayed their marketing banners, and website optimization for mobile phones. This is an important step in doing competitive research and can show you what may be visually appealing to your target audience.

When executing this step, some important questions to keep in mind are:

  • Did you find it easy to navigate their website?
  • What does the user like about their website?
  • Is their website mobile-optimized?
  • Did you understand their offers clearly on their products and services?
  • Did you find their blog content useful?
  • How frequently do they post their blogs?
  • Analyze their blog topics?
  • What platforms did they use for the promotion of their products and services?
  • Did you find the content engaging for the target audience?

If you can find the answer to all of the above-asked questions, then you can easily outperform your competitor. Pay attention to all of the things that they are doing and find a way to incorporate them into your strategy. This will help you reach a bigger audience and drive your business to the top.

Step 3. Understanding Market Positioning

Analyzing their strategies and input tactics is very important in order to understand your competitor’s market positioning. By deep analyzing, you can easily figure out how they are positioning their products and services and whether they are getting any benefit from the tactics that they are using. Are they able to convince the customer that they are unique in their products, and are customers convinced about your brand? This answer will help you unlock the secrets of their market positioning plans. Additionally, competitive research will provide you with an idea of how you can use your competitor’s strategy to make your brand better than theirs.

Step 4. Correct Pricing and Shipping

Customers are not only attracted by high quality products or good performance of a brand, but the price of a product also matters. So, find a good price at which you can earn a profit and customers also get products similar or at a lower price than competitors. Analyze the price and quantity of your competitor’s products. By understanding the pricing policy of competitors, you can work on your own product prices. However, if your price is lower than that of your competitor, that does not guarantee you more sales. Customers also want some specific features that a product has to offer at a competitive price.

Nowadays, a lot of customers prefer to get their products shipped to their home. Yet, the matter of concern for both your business and customers is shipping charges. Find out what your competitor’s shipping policy is, and see if that policy may be  helpful for you to adapt in order to increase your sales and profits. Many customers often decide not to purchase products at the time of payment due to high shipping charges, so try to have free shipping or at a minimal price. In order to attract more customers, companies are trying promotions such as discounts, loyalty points, giveaways, gift cards, and the free exchange of products.

Step 5. Customer Feedback

A great way to learn about your customers is to take feedback from them at the end of any purchase. This will let you know whether customers are happy with your brand or not. Taking an individual view can give you a deeper knowledge of customers and what they think about your brand. You can take reviews on social media sites, online review sites, and blog sites. Try to fill the gap after analyzing the customer’s point of view.

After collecting the feedback, study it all carefully and understand why customers are not content with your products. By gaining complete knowledge, you can easily work on making improvements; such as quality, packaging, delivery, pricing, performance, or post-sales issues. If you provide a better experience to customers, then you can easily retain your customers and can even attract those of your rivals.

Step 6. Presence on Social Media

Changing trends have also changed the ways businesses promote themselves. Now, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram present a chance to understand the popularity of a brand among customers. Figure out your competitor’s activities on social media and try to attract more followers to your page by creating better content.

Consider what your customers like when you post something, and understand the niche that attracts them. Work on understanding their preferences so that they follow you on social media and also recommend you to others. Once you become popular, it will be easier for you to boost your sales and earn a good margin of profits.

Focus points:

  • Presence on social media
  • Channels at which your competition are present on social media
  • How frequently do they post
  • Interaction with customers
  • Content that they are posting
  • Key points that they are focusing
  • Is their content engaging

Bottom Line

For a deeper study of competitive research, it is always beneficial to understand your strengths, and weaknesses. Grab new opportunities and always analyze; helping you with better planning and achieving your goals quicker. This strategic planning will help you explore all of the areas necessary for the improvement of your business. If you have any questions or need help with your digital marketing campaign, feel free to contact us at Reversed Out Creative.


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