Market Research for Competitive Advantage – Profiling Your Competitors
Businesses everywhere are able to gain a competitive advantage by thoroughly researching their markets. By analyzing customer demographics and past sales data, companies are better able to reach customers and respond to their needs. Marketing departments in any industry are tasked with gathering information on the business’s customers and suppliers, enabling better decision making and strategy.
Various Types of Market Research
Marketing research can be broken down into various forms that provide companies with better, more usable information. From using focus groups for product and ad testing, to scanning databases of customer and sales data to determine the most effective promotions and sales methods, marketing research is a broad and varied discipline.
One of the most important branches of market research, competitive analysis, allows companies to analyze their own competencies relative to their competition. Profiling your competitors with advanced research analytics is the one of the best methods to use market research to gain a competitive advantage. Analyzing your competition allows you to identify and emphasize your own relative strengths to stand out in your customers’ minds in any number of competencies, whether price, quality, or service.
Whether you are considering launching your start-up or serve an established business, it is crucial that you know where you stand amongst your competitors. Analyzing your competitors allows you to learn more about your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to exploit them for greater revenue and lower overhead. Whether analyzing your competition for vulnerabilities, or opportunities for partnering, purchasing or aligning resources, competitive analysis provides the information you need to make better decisions.
The industry to which your company belongs is assigned to a Standard Industrial Classification or SIC code. By looking up companies that claim this industry code, you can build a definitive list of your competitors. By researching these companies, you can determine their weaknesses, strengths, threats, opportunities, market share, as well as the overall dilution of your common market. You can find out which companies lead your industry, as well as which ones are nipping at your heels.
With a little digging, you can determine what your competitors’ needs are both now and in the future. By moving first on their desired resources, you can exploit their vulnerabilities and pick up their market share.
You can use the information you gather to compare your company to your competition in terms of sales volume, labor costs and efficiencies, and other details to help you identify ways to streamline and improve your business. You simply cannot get this type of high fidelity information from any other method. While reviewing competitors’ websites and marketing messages can help you analyze and compare their offer, nothing provides the sheer depth of information available from competitive analytics.
Competitive analysis also helps you identify new and innovative ways to reach your customers. You can break the paradigm of what your product, service, or company is and brand yourself as an original, responsive, and timely business entity.