When you’re running a business one of the most important things you can do is keep up with the competition . To do that, you need to know what they’re doing, otherwise you’re working in the dark, by guesswork. If you don’t make an effort to know what other big companies in your niche are doing, you could end up wasting resources. If you’re planning a new product, and you’ve not kept one eye on what your closest competitors are doing you could find you’ve planned your launch for the same window as they have. This means two very similar products arriving on the market at the same time. The most likely scenario is that both companies get a relatively even share of the market, but neither claim as much as they were expecting. The worst case is that your competitor steals your thunder and you’re unable to recoup the cost of design and development incurred as you readied your new product.
Developing an insight into your competitors means you can avoid situations like this, altering branding and release dates to make sure you’re presenting customers with an entirely distinct offering, to maximise your share of the market. Think about the release schedule for Hollywood movies – all to often, release dates will shift and slide to make sure similar movies aren’t released in the same week, and each gets its moment in the sun.
One of the best ways to get started on your competitor research is to speak to a market research firm. As well as offering access to their omnibus survey, and other consumer insight gathering services, they can help you to gather competitor insights as well.
From brand tracker surveys that help to reveal their strengths and weaknesses, to analyses of how other companies in your niche balance their marketing, finding the right market research agency can open a whole new work of insights for you.
Perhaps the most important part of the equation is their ability to synthesise all of that research together to come to conclusions about the threats your competitors might pose to your business in the short, long and medium term. If you’re going to be outpaced technologically by your rivals in te next two years you need to know about it so you can either hire developers and kickstart your own revolution, or spin your marketing around to focus on traditional values rather than innovation!