Every entrepreneur’s mission starts with finding the value that their business will offer. Therefore, entrepreneurs exert much effort and time researching the market and what’s already out there. Having the proper know-how to study your competitors and understand what you need to look for is doing your homework on competitiveness research. So, this post will help you understand the process of doing this and the advances in competitiveness research that continue to evolve in the market.
What is competitive research?
As a business owner, you identify key differences and similarities between your products and services and those of your competitors. Your competitive research sets the foundation for your business to determine or verify your value proposition. Also, this analysis helps define the marketing and sales strategies to follow in your industry. Of course, it goes without saying that this helps develop new products and services for your business.
What’s already out there? Before the advances in competitiveness analysis
There are some common steps to complete your analysis of competitors to benefit your business the right way. In most narratives and contexts, a quick list of these steps would include the following:
- Know your direct and indirect competitors
- Prepare a list of the products offered by your competitors
- Determine the pricing strategies that your competitors follow
- Take note of the marketing strategies that your competitors follow
- Run a sales analysis to understand the tactics your competitors use
I agree with you. These seem very straightforward to you.
My answer is yes and no at the same time.
The steps seems easy on paper. However, if you take some time to analyze the level of detail you need to get your hand on for each, you will know that it’s a complicated type of research.
Also, you need solid technical consultants to get accurate information to organize your business plan effectively.
Afterward, you take all the data collected above and perform a simple SWOT analysis. Yes, please take note of your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This will help you position your business better, and you’ll be able to understand areas for improvement within your brand.
What’s new? The advances in competitiveness research
All the above are found in all resources related to competitiveness research.
However, technology and AI are changing the rules of the game.
I want to highlight specific points for you to consider in your competitiveness research in addition to the above.
Social Media Strategy
Yes, social media is already part of the study you completed above on the marketing strategies your competitors follow. However, the fast-growing tools and methods used in social media are a component that should be given a more profound and closer look when studying your competitors. It’s what spreads and goes out there about your business, so it is a considerable player in driving competition now!
What I need you to include in your evaluation of your competitors is an analysis of their social media usage. Checking people’s engagement on the different platforms they use gives you insights that can help your business. Think about these platforms and look for the accounts of your competitors on:
Eyes on the content
You then need to take note of the below in each platform:
- The number of followers in each account
- Are followers resharing the content shared?
- Are followers responding through comments and questions on the content?
- The frequency and consistency of posting
Are the competitors posting original content on their platforms?
Will consumers/clients likely find your competitor’s website? (This won’t happen unless they follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices) Do they use any SEO tools to promote their content? Are they promoting their brand awareness through the content they share? Are they using visual content to engage with the audience? Can you see social sharing buttons with each piece shared? Do they have links to their social media channels? Do they use calls to action within the content shared?
Your role is to find answers to these and many other questions. Then, grade the quality of social media for each competitor you have on your list. Remember that social media is evolving daily and changing the rules in many industries. So don’t get behind, and keep on track.
By doing so, you try to understand well their social media strategy. Also, you need to dive deep into the content shared on their social media, as this is becoming viral now to promote or demote businesses.
We are here to help!
I have bombarded you with many steps to consider in your competitiveness research. However, there are always resources and guides to help complete this quickly. In addition, we can help you achieve effective and efficient competitiveness research that tells you where your competitors must catch up. Remember, this enables you to identify opportunities in the marketplace and test out new, unique sales, marketing, and pricing strategies you can use.
Finally, if you decide to seek support to complete this or proceed yourself, please remember to look at how you have planned your business too. Study the sales, marketing, and other strategies using the metrics you used to evaluate your competition. Then, use the data to help promote your business and strengthen your operations.
You can check out more of our research here.
Meet The Author Of This Article
I’m Jenny Ayman, a project manager in the development field with specific knowledge and experience in capacity building and entrepreneurship programs. I aspire to transfer the hands-on experience I gain in my professional career through writing.
Also, if you need help planning your business, I recommend checking out some of our freelancer’s business plans or pitch decks!