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4 Steps to Conduct Successful Competitive Research

competitive research

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
  • Newsletters
  • 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. 

AnalyticsB2BTop Stories

Business Growth Strategy: Market Penetration & Market Development

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Identify the low-risk business growth strategies

Successful leaders understand that if their organization is to grow in the long term, they need to find new ways to increase profits and reach more customers.

Whether that’s developing better products or adopting more efficient processes, there are numerous ways for business growth. But how do you know which one will work best for your organization?  

The best practice tip is to use Ansoff Matrix – a strategic tool to quickly devise potential growth strategies and weigh up the potential risks. The matrix shows four business growth strategies that can be applied to identify opportunities to grow a business by developing new products and services or entering new markets.

Ansoff Matrix Business Growth Strategy

If your company wants to grow revenue with existing products or services, the lowest risk business growth strategies for expanding your customer base and increasing sales are:

  • Target new customers in an existing market (market penetration); or
  • Sell to similar customers in new markets (market development)

Market Development vs. Market Penetration

Market penetration focuses on the sales of existing products to existing markets, whereas market development is finding and developing new markets for existing products.

While market penetration is the lowest risk strategy, market development comes a close second because these two strategies avoid risk-taking product development, unlike the diversification and product development strategy.

Market penetration is the recommended strategy to start with, but it can have a reverse effect when the market is saturated. Sooner or later, you may need to take account of a higher risk, higher reward strategy to support continue steady growth. This is where market development fits in as a favourable strategy.

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How to implement Market Penetration strategies?

Market penetration is the least risky business growth strategy since it focuses on selling existing products in familiar markets. Most companies made it as a starting line and promote growth without the high-risk nature of tapping into new markets.

Even so, this strategy is highly competitive as you’ll be capturing the market share from your competitors, this is called a ‘red ocean strategy’.

There are several market penetration strategies, including:

1. Attract new buyers in your current market

This strategy is to convert occasional users to regular users by increasing brand loyalty.

Free trials or samples, promoted with advertising and experimenting with pricing strategies can be a successful way to capture the new consumers who are just ‘testing the water’. By allowing them to experience your product, you are getting yourself an opportunity to impress them.

2. Make your product more appealing than competitors’

The strategy, in this case, will be adjusting the 4 basic pillars of the marketing mix; it can be altering one or more of the elements such as product or promotion approaches.

Setting yourself apart from other products with very similar features — by offering better customer service, more competitive pricing, or more product promotion or expanding more distribution channels are among the competitive approaches in getting competitor’s customer to switch to your product and increasing your market share.

For instance, McDonald’s launched McCafe by serving premium roasted coffee for a reasonable price and placing itself as a secondary coffee provider to compete with Starbucks.

How to implement Market Development strategy?

If market development is the option for your business, the objective will be to develop new markets for the existing products. It is a higher risk but higher reward strategy to help your business continues to grow steadily. No fierce competition with existing competitors hence is called ‘blue ocean strategy’.

There are two broad market development strategies:

1. Enter into a new geographical market

This is a strategy where you can target the users in different markets with similar needs to your existing customers. It is mainly adopted by multinational companies to expand their businesses.

Expanding into a new market requires careful considerations and proper analysis to make sure you have a solid grasp of market growth rates, demand, barriers to entry and competitors, before making the initial investment.

Different geographical market has different preferences and needs. You’ll need to understand the market situation to consider creating buyer personas in the potential market. This is where market research call into play.

▶ Analyze your business’s potential to expand into new markets with IH Digital’s Market Readiness Research (MRR) Package. Learn more here.

2. Suggest new uses for your existing product

Exploit the alternative uses of your product enables you to hunt for new customers and expand into new markets.

Humans have exceptional creativity in improvising tools to get the job done, so how your product is being used may not make certain. Interviewing your customers can uncover the innovative ways that they are using your product, and you’ll be able to turn their inputs into fresh ideas to promote your product.

The small changes such as repackaging the product may open up a new market. For instance, a business selling tea leaves to the hotel or restaurant market may start selling to consumers by repacking the product in tea tins.

If a new customer segment can be acquired with an existing product, this amounts to market development.

Choose the suitable business growth strategy

In a nutshell, the difference between market penetration and market development relies on whether the existing products are offered in higher volumes in the existing market or a new market segment. Both strategies have their benefits and limitations.

Refer to the table below for the suitable strategy to adopt for expansion:

comparison table for business growth strategy

If you’ve been planning to expand your business in Asia but you don’t have accurate information about the new market to decide on your business strategy, we can help you to conduct market research to access and analyze the market potential.

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 in expanding your business? Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our marketing expert soon. 

Account ManagementAnalyticsB2B

Gain Customer Insights Through Social Listening

Gain Customer Insights Through Social Listening

Insights like social listening are crucial to a successful marketing strategy. Researching and understanding your market, audiences, and the sentiment behind your brand, are all essential efforts to achieve an optimal business strategy. And the best way to collect these insights is through social listening. It’s not simply monitoring the discussions and mentions of your product and brand, but it’s also understanding the customers’ response and feelings towards your brand.

What is Social Listening?

Social listening, also known as social media listening, is part of the market research to analyse conversations on social media channels. Its primary goal is to gain consumer insights and observe trends and general sentiment about your brand, products, competitors or industry. It also helps you understand why, where, and how these conversations are happening, as well as what people think—not just when they’re tagging or mentioning your brand.

Rather than doing all the guesswork about what your customers want or think, you can know exactly what they want. With social listening, you can devise future campaigns, create a killer content strategy, and even surpass your competitors. By using social listening to direct your business strategy, your company will surely save both time and money.

Why your business needs Social Media Listening?

1.    You can keep track of your brand’s performance

One of the greatest benefits of social media listening is that you are able to identify and analyse customer comments, complaints, and sentiments around your brand in real time. You’ll uncover insights about the positive or negative feelings people associate with your brand, and the specific features that they concern about.

Understanding the public perception of your brand is an essential starting point to take your strategy to the next level. If you are getting positive sentiment, find out the reasons behind it as those information can guide your marketing strategies. If sentiment is negative, look for the problems and make changes right away.

2.      You can discover new opportunities

Social listening helps you to perceive the upcoming industry trends. By knowing the popular hashtags or emerging topics within your industry, you can get a better sense of where your market is moving to. This information can help you to reposition your brand’s product, content, and general messaging and become a trendy discussion point.

When people are complaining about a competitor’s product or customer service, you can grab the opportunity to step in and ask them to explain what shortcomings they found. If you engage with them, they will give you meaningful feedbacks or ideas which help to find your sweet spot.

If you can modify your products to address the concerns people are talking about, you can satisfy more of your customers and hopefully, outpace your competitors.

3.      You can increase customer acquisition by optimising content

Simply being on social is not enough. Content is equally important to drive engagement and conversion, so you want to get it right. Social listening helps you to discover what topics and hashtags your audiences are interested in. Through it, you will then know exactly what you need to talk about or what type of content to deliver in order to reach as many people as possible.

Social media holds many opportunities for broadening your reach to prospects. Rather than just capturing inactive followers, you convert them into your customers. After all, your followers aren’t simply your loyal customers sticking to your brand; they’re also people who enjoy your content or willing to share ideas with you.

More importantly, it is much easier to convert your active followers into leads and, eventually, customers – compared to random strangers, hoping they can magically turn into loyal customers.

Enhance your market research or strategy with social listening

If you’ve been struggling to keep abreast of the industry trends, it’s high time you listen to your customers on social media. Get to know them better to create a winning and up-to-date strategy with social listening.

At IH Digital, we use Digimind – a global social media monitoring and marketing intelligence platform that provides comprehensive enterprise tools and resources for social listening, social analytics, and competitive intelligence.  

IH Digital is a B2B marketing agency in Asia that provides full marketing services, including market research, social listening and more that works across the region. 

We offer APAC market research for Asia businesses using the 3-Step Market Research Method. We combined all essential marketing research steps in one package known as the Market Readiness Research (MRR), aimed to help you understand your target market  from competitors to audience.

Interested to work with us and conduct Asia market research? Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Market Research team soon. 


Understand Your Target Market with Asia Market Research

asia market research by ih digital

Successful companies penetrating Asia markets performmarket research to keep pace with the market trends, make strategic decisions on business activities, and gain a competitive edge. Whether you are doing a business start-up or business expansion, research is vital to understanding your target markets and subsequently creating a marketing strategy that plays well in the market penetration or business expansion process.   

What is Market Research? 

Market research is a process of evaluating a business environment by collecting and analysing the facts about a market, which is crucial for the decision-making process. Insights from research help established businesses identify gaps in the market that will enable them to harness available opportunities while avoiding risks.

Why Asia market research is essential to your SEA business expansion? 

1. It helps you make informed decisions about the gaps in the Asia market.

Having a great product is not the end-all of any business in Southeast Asian market, as competitors will always seek ways to gain market share. To secure your market share pie in the region, you have to truly understand your consumers – what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. That’s where market research comes in.  

Knowing what the current market demand is can help you to make informed decisions about your business activities, including the feasibility of a new product or demand for service before launching your target Asia market — potentially saving you thousands of dollars.  

2. It helps you strategise a thorough and successful marketing plan that works in Asia. 

Business success requires detailed planning around the opportunities available in the Asia marketThis way, your business gets to survive in highly competitive markets like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and moreThat’s why you have to ensure that your plans are rooted in the information and facts gathered through market research.  

Furthermore, obtaining information about your consumer’s demographics, buying behaviour, and intended use of the product or service, can be useful in developing a product or service that suits their needs. Through this, youll know precisely what will work, and what won’t. And you can plan ahead of your competitors in capturing any Asian market.  

Now you know the importance of market research in any overseas business venture, let’s move forward to the 3-step Market Research Method by IH Digital. 

How to successfully conduct market research in Asia?  

Step 1. Understand the APAC Landscape through Social Listening  

To conduct market research in Asia, you need to perform social listening, which is basically keeping track of social media mentions and conversations in the market. At IH Digital, we do this by using Digimind – a global social media monitoring and marketing intelligence platform that provides comprehensive enterprise tools and resources for social listeningsocial analytics, and competitive intelligence.  

In this stage, you will obtain key information on your industry, target market, including key consumer insights, and product trends, as well as top rises and decliners. By properly listening to your audience on social, you can identify what they need, what they are concerned about, and what they expect out of your business or brand. 

Step 2. Gain Market Intelligence with Competitive Research 

After understanding your audience’s needs, your next step is to identify your industry competitors in the target market. You can do this by researching otheir market and product positioning, online presence, and marketing spend. With competitive research, you’ll get more insights into the market and inspiration to further improve your plans 

Competitive research starts with determining who your competitors are, what they are offering, and how they are attracting customers. This can help you better understand your customer expectations. 

Once you’re clear with the basics, you should look at the strategy they are using. By doing this, you can figure out two things: the factors that lead to failures, and the opportunities that your service can fill in. Having a stranglehold in both areas is key to your success in the new market. 

Step 3. Recognising your Target Audience with Focus Group Study 

By focusing your efforts on the right market, you can see faster results and greater overall performance from your marketing campaigns. However, to know if you are aiming at the right market, one vital thing to verify is your target audience. This third step will help you recognise who you should be targeting in the new market. 

And when you’ve identified them, make sure to verify it by organising focus groups. A focus group is in-depth profiling of your target audience, including: 

  • Keywords they use on search engines
  • Media consumption
  • Social habits 

This research method allows a small group of people to discuss a specific subject, enabling you to gatherextensive feedback and develop a deeper understanding of your target audience. Furthermore, the results will help you obtain well-defined brand positioning and improve your marketing assets.

▶ Are you a Singapore-registered business? Get funded for your market research initiatives with the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant. Learn more here. 

Need help in conducting market research in Asia? 

If you’ve been planning to expand your business in Asia but you have no information about the new market, we can help you make the right decisions. 

IH Digital is a B2B marketing agency in Asia that offers APAC market research for businesses in the region. We combine all essential marketing research steps in one package known as the Market Readiness Research (MRR), aimed to help you to be market-ready with the significant 3-Steps Market Research Method. This package is specially designed for both businesses seeking to introduce its offerings to a new target market or increase penetration in existing markets.  

Interested to work with us and conduct market researchContact us today to schedule a consultation with our Market Research team soon.