When you were young, you probably had at least one thing that made you stand out from your peers. Perhaps you were picked for the varsity basketball team because you could run faster than anyone else in your middle school. Maybe you always got the lead in your class musicals because you were the only soprano with perfect pitch. Or were you just exceptionally cute for your age?
Whatever attribute, skill, or talent made you a special kid, the pool of competitors was small and about all you had to do to win the race was show up at the starting line. But then came that day – that day when you realized you weren’t the only one with a running game or a beautiful voice. Talk about a wake-up call!
The requirements for adult success are a bit more complicated than just showing up. If you run a business, you’ve already learned this lesson. Now you need to do something about it! And that something is a competitor analysis. Knowing who your competitors are and what they’re doing is key to building a successful business and staying ahead of the other companies in your market.
Your first job is to identify the top five rivals for your customer base. Then you have to compile as much information as you can about each one of them:
- Background information
- Number of employees
- Products and services
- Client list
- Revenue and pricing
- Social media presence
- Online marketing techniques
As you’re conducting this competitor analysis, be sure to note what your competitors are doing well. Do they use a specific kind of marketing technique that would work for you? What features and functions of their website and online marketing are designed to attract customers? What types of content are they posting on their Facebook wall? How are their followers responding?
After you’ve cataloged your competitors’ strengths, compile a list of their weaknesses, and look for opportunities to differentiate yourself by offering content or services that nobody else in your market has tried yet.
How Did You Measure Up?
When you’ve finished, ask the same set of questions about your own business from the viewpoint of an outsider. Call a few customers and partners and ask them to honestly evaluate your online marketing, products and services, and ask them why they chose to work with you! What they tell you may be spot on with your self-assessment, or they may surprise you by highlighting things you never considered to be important to a customer’s decision- making process.
Finally, compare your self-analysis with the data you’ve gathered about your five key competitors. The results may delight you, or give you a wake-up call that you need to take your marketing to the next level! Whatever the outcome, the exercise will strengthen you for the race ahead.