Competitive research refers to the collection and review of information about business rivals. The process involves identifying your competitors, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses and discovering the business opportunities to surpass them.
Whatever business you run, it is almost certain that there are other companies out there offering a similar product or service like yours. You need to keep tabs on them to gain an edge over your competitors.
Understanding what your competitors are doing will help you position yourself, and your product or service, within the market.
Although performing a competitor’s analysis isn’t rocket science, it does go beyond the simple Google searches. Let’s delve into how to accomplish a competitor analysis in a systematic way to yield the most insights.
How to conduct competitive research?
1. Identify your competitors
First, you’ll need to figure out who are your competitors so you can compare the data accurately. There are two types of competitor to identify: direct and indirect.
Direct competitors are targeting the same audience as you. They sell the same product or service and trying to solve the same problem.
Indirect competitors sell a product or service that is slightly different from yours to the same audience, or they may sell a similar product or service to a different audience.
Being able to identify these two type of competitors is important for two reasons. It enables you to see the growth opportunities for your business, and it could highlight a threat to your business of which you are unaware.
Your ultimate goal at this stage would be to cast a wide net for businesses who are competing with you and have a thorough understanding of the competitive landscape.
2. Analyze competitors’ online presence
Once you have identified your main competitors, you would have to know how they are attracting the customers through their website, blogs and their social media presence.
You can start by exploring your competitor’s digital footprint by looking into:
- Website content and blog articles
- Social media posts
- Online communities
Once you’ve located their content, you can take notice on are they doing anything that you are not doing. If your competitors are consistently publishing four times a week compared to your one article per week. That could be a part of the reason why you have lower website traffic than your competitors.
This insight helps you to get a grasp of where you should be focusing your attention and resources.
3. Examine competitors’ marketing strategy
Looking at your competitor’s positioning strategy will give you a good sense of your market’s demands and expectations.
This is where you start gathering ideas for your marketing plan, by discovering what the customers buying from them, how they differentiate their products or services from the competition and what benefits do they emphasize in their marketing copy.
These insights help you to determine who your competitors are communicating with and how they position themselves within the market, which pays dividends when you work on how you will position yourself in the market.
The best way to collect information about your competitors is by pretending to be their customers. Subscribe to their blogs so you can know what types of content they are publishing.
You can also consider shopping in their stores so you can know what makes their product or service unique and what the brand experience is from a customer perspective.
4. Check online reviews
After gaining insights into how they position themselves in the market, it’s the time to start evaluating the strength and weakness of their strategies. Try to read through the reviews of your competitors, there could be an opportunity for you to stand out.
Reviews tell what’s good and what’s bad about them. If they are selling a product similar to yours, this is a good way to find out if the audience is interested. Not only can you learn best practices from competitors, but you can also identify key areas where you can improve your product or service.
Want to outpace your competitors? Work with IH Digital.
After performing a competitive analysis, you now have a better idea and understanding of what your competitors are doing. It is time to think critically about how you can use this information to devise a strategy that can improve your business results.
Research does not always have to be a complicated and time-consuming process when you have IH Digital that does the work for you.
We offer APAC market research for businesses in the region by combining all market research, audience research and competitor research in one package – Market Readiness Research (MRR).
IH Digital | Asia-Focused Digital Marketing Agency
IH Digital is an Asia-focused digital marketing agency providing Consultancy, Strategy, Content, Social Media, Media Buy, Web Development, SEM & SEO.
Interested to work with us and conduct competitive research? Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Market Research team soon.