All truly successful businesses have these few things in common – each operates in a social environment and serves a specific audience. And when your potential customers finally realize their needs, they will start searching for a proper solution.

The invisible barrier on your customer’s journey to use your service is market competition.

Nowadays, each industry, sector, segment, niche consists of many different companies which offer same or similar products and for some reasons, your potential buyer makes a decision to buy from someone else. There will be a WHY in the air and simply knowing what they offer is not enough.

According to Crayon report State of Competitive Intelligence, 2019  businesses reported an average of 25 competitors in their market. 87% shared that their market has become more competitive in the last three years, and 49% said it has become much more competitive.

You will be at a great disadvantage if you’re not investing in competitors research while your competitors are. The ignorance of what’s happening in the market never helped anyone.

Below, is a plan that IntroMarket Research uses while conducting a competitors analysis:

  1. Identify competitors

No matter what kind of business you have, you most probably have online and on-site competitors. If you are running an online store, for example, you potentially have thousands of competitors around the world.

We recommend starting with the identification of your top 3-5 competitors

The criteria to take into account are the location and type of service/product range.

NOTE: It’s worth starting from identification of your competitors that easily will serve the same geographical region.

  • What is their return/shipping policy?
  • Do they offer discounts?
  • How many products are on the discount?
  • Can the user leave a note while making an order?

2. Detailed analysis of their offer

Competitors offer analysis is all about details. It’s important to put the right questions and stick to the point. Below is a set of questions that will guide your research:

    • Are they selling their own branded products or act as a reseller?
    • If it is a reseller, what brands?
  • What is the price range for the products?

NOTE! Is the price below or above the market average?

Price usually serves as a competitive advantage and appeals to a group of buyers that can afford it. Eventually, it will help you to identify the target audience of your competitor.

3. Marketing strategy analysis

Behind high conversions, there is a marketing strategy that relies on tons of data.

The best way is to start from the website:

    • Is it responsive and user-friendly?
    • How difficult it is to navigate and find the right product?
  • How do they describe their product/service? How many details do they provide?

As David Ogilvy said, “The Consumer isn’t a moron, she’s your wife’ so don’t be lazy to create your own best descriptions”.

We recommend using tools like SimilarWeb, SpyFu, SEMRush, Alexa, etc that will help you analyze your competitor’s website analytics. Mainly:

  • Traffic data (source, countries, education and similar)
  • Backlinks
  • Keywords, organic and paid
  • Ads

As a part of marketing research you need to research your competitors’ activities in social media:

  • What social media do they use? (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and similar)
  • How often do they post?
  • What kind of content do they share?
  • Is it engaging and receive a lot of interactions?

NOTE! Identify which post has the highest engagement and use the most relevant cases in your own strategy.

  • Search for brand’s name hashtags to identify influencers
  • How many followers do they have? Eventually, it may help you to understand your potential market size and if there is an interest in certain product categories and services.

It is worth making Google research on your competitors:

  • Who is writing about them?
  • What are the platforms?
  • There is a chance that you and your competitors’ audience overlap and it’s useful to know where do they put their content. The targeted group may be an active reader of the platform.
  • Identify influencers

We also recommend making it visual. We suggest creating a swipe file where you can save all the visuals that will represent each competitor. It will help you to summarize all the data you will obtain during the research.

  • Analyze positioning and USP

Positioning, in fact, is how your competitors want their customers to see them. It is something that will eventually differentiate them from the other market players.

USP will eventually resonate with the needs of your customers. For example, USP of Domino’s pizza:

You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.

No one wants to wait long for their pizza and they are telling their customers that they know it and will do everything to make it fast and delicious.

4. Customer review map

Analyze the reviews of your competitors. It depends on the business where you will find the reviews. For e-commerce, it can be Amazon, eBay, Facebook reviews section and similar. For service type businesses use platforms like Clutch.

The higher the number of reviews, the better result you will have. While doing it, pay attention to the details. There will be patterns that will repeat e.g bad customer support, delays in delivery, low-quality product, functionality problems or vice versa outstanding customer support, excellent UX design, useful functionality, etc.  

It is a great way to identify your customers’ needs and add more value to your business without talking to them.

Below is a sample of the review that will say what the customer is looking for:

The front cover is really beautiful and the perfect inspiration to read right before journaling.

The lines are very light on the pages (you can see in the photo) but I feel this is perfect because they are visible enough to write in straight lines but light enough to not be distracting while doodling.

This is a high-quality journal for the price. I would definitely recommend it as well as purchase it again.

The benefits of competitors research are wide-reaching. According to the Crayon, 91% businesses say they’ve seen quantitative results and 95% say they’ve seen qualitative results from their CI efforts. Now, you are one step closer to increasing your market share.

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