To compare ourselves to others is natural. When running a business, it is even more natural to compare ourselves to our competitors.
In fact, it is a good practice to know our competitors well. To know what they are good at and how our product or service is different than theirs.
Competitive analysis, formal or even informal, help carve out the unique niche within the niche or marketplace so that your business stands out and gain that competitive edge. When you are different than others, you will attract that special type of customer who will be loyal to you and become your champion.
Good marketers and entrepreneurs focus on making their business better, creating better customer experiences and building top of mind awareness, always.
BEFORE YOU COMPARE:
Although keeping an eye on the competition is an important business practice, remember that although you may be offering similar or the same product or service, and selling in the same market, you may be at different stages of your business. You may be just starting out whereas the business you are reviewing could be further ahead.
Your budgets may be different, your branding will most definitely be different and your style will be different. You may have variances in the product or service offerings and you may be operating solo vs in a team or partnership environment.
Even with the differences, there are similarities and lessons to learn from this exercise.
And they ask a few key questions to stay well aware of their competition.
Here are seven questions to ask yourself about your competition:
- Assuming that your customers know about you and your competitors, which product, service or in general terms, company do they seem to prefer? (be honest 🙂 )
- Why do they seem to prefer one over the other?
- What do people like and dislike about your competitor‘s product, service or business overall?
- How does your competitor communicate their key messages?
- Who does a better job of closing the deal, getting sales and referrals?
- What do you believe would make people switch from them to buy your product or service or work with your company?
- What do you believe might convince your customers to switch and buy from them?
If you are unsure about any of the answers, begin to investigate your competition and talk with your customers. Ask questions when they shop at your store or come for their next session to see you. Or create a survey with just a handful of questions.
OVER TO YOU
Being aware of your marketplace is a necessity. Knowing what questions to ask and where to look for information about your competition, is part of the job.
You don’t need to conduct formal research, although if you can you should. Keep an eye on your competition by watching their social media, website, email communication and most importantly, talk to your customers about where they shop, get their information and what they would like to see more of from you.
Because when you have the knowledge you can build better marketing, better customer experience, and a better business.
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