Monitoring Competitors with Marketing Research
Monitoring competitors is a vital component to a successful competitive intelligence strategy. By monitoring competitors your business can stay “in the know” about your competitor’s actions, knowing exactly when and what they are doing so that you can anticipate their effect on your business’ success. While there are many different methods of collecting competitor information, marketing research can offer you a vast array of insight from a multitude of sources.
When it comes to market research and staying ahead of competitors, 70% of executives consider predictive intelligence the most critical data insight, followed by trend analysis. With such a strong emphasis placed on intelligence information it’s very likely your competitors are already utilizing competitive intelligence, monitoring your actions; make sure you are not falling behind in your industry.
Which Competitors are Companies Looking at Most?
When it comes to competitive intelligence resources, the external organizations looked at are more than just direct competitors. While direct competitors may offer the most explicit connections between your business and others in your industry, it can be shortsighted and lacking in scope to only look at their actions. This is why we take into account all variables, utilizing market intelligence, to formulate our analysis.
By looking at competitors/market figureheads such as indirect competitors, aspirational competitors, customers, partners, and even your own company you can get a more encompassing view of your industry. Direct competitors may offer a more straight forward view of where threats may be coming from but learning from some of these less direct forces may help spark more innovative decisions; allowing you to jump ahead of those competitors rather than just maintaining the same pace.
These less direct competitors and industry influences can be just as substantial in affecting decision making. Just because indirect competitors aren’t currently competing with you directly doesn’t mean they won’t become direct competitors in the future. By monitoring their habits you can learn if they are planning on entering your target market or if there is an opportunity they are lacking in where you could take advantage of their lack of foresight.
Likewise, it is important to monitor aspirational competitors. These are the larger companies who might have been around longer than you and offer bigger opportunities for competition. You might not be on their level yet, but it is one of your goals to become a company of their size and scope. Not only do you want to keep an eye on them for the purposes of one day competing directly with them, but they can offer insight into how you can better operate in the present. Maybe you can scale down some of their strategies that have been successful and apply them to your current competitive landscape. This way you can rejuvenate your market by incorporating unique ideas that direct competitors aren’t even considering.
Customers offer great insight into your market. If you have been operating in the same way for years and no longer seeing the same results it may be due to a change in consumer tastes. Consumer tastes are always changing. Whether it be due to a change in technology, economic status, or exposure to new information; consumers can raise or lower their expectations for a product or service.
It is also important to note that not all consumers are the same. If you are looking to expand into a new market it is important to take into account the local attitudes and perceptions of consumers in that area. They may not be the same as those of your current market and your current strategies might not work as effectively.
While partners are not competitors, they are groups and organizations that influence your market. They operate in a similar space to you and so they might have some insight into better methods. If you are looking to streamline your operations it might be good to look at partners in order to get some ideas of what works best.
Finally it is important to look at yourself. Reviewing your own company while completing competitive intelligence research is an often overlooked aspect. You might think you already have a pretty good overview of your own company but sometimes it is necessary to have a third party overview to get a realistic view of your own operations.
When you operate in the ecosystem of your own company for so long you start to accept things as the normal, default approach to doing business. While these methods might work, it can be hard to realize when change is needed. Competitive intelligence consulting can offer a lot of great benefits but one that is most overlooked is getting an impartial look at your own company. Getting this insight is a great way to know that what you have taken as a standard might not actually be the best option for your company.
What Sources are Used Most When Analyzing Competitors?
When completing competitive intelligence research we use open source intelligence (OSINT) information. OSINT is publicly sourced information. OSINT resources consist of company websites, social media accounts, news publications, trade show information, and consumer reviews. All of these sources are readily available and offer a wealth of information into understanding a competitor/industry.
There is a lot to learn from a competitor’s online presence. By watching their social media interactions, hiring updates, and third party reviews we can get a better idea of who that competitor is and where they might be headed in the future. By listing new job openings in a new region we can assume expansion plans are on the way. If reviews are lacking on a new product, we can sense a discontinuation or revision in that market. All of these signifiers offer clues of where a company may go, months before they take action.
While this information is publicly available it can often be overwhelming to review it all. That is why ArchIntel offers competitive intelligence analysis that can save you the time of reviewing and provide you with only the most pertinent information. Services such as a daily news summary can offer you the information you need in a digestible manner, with daily updates.