One of the most important parts of your market research is your competitor analysis
It's nothing to be ashamed of. Every successful business in the history of the world has had to conduct some sort of competitor analysis or research in order to find out how to best position their brand.
Below are some reasons why you need to undertake research about your competitors:
- To better understand the market you're operating in
- To find out what is successful & unsuccessful
- To suss out a niche for yourself in the marketplace
- To inspire you to make informed business & brand decisions
- To get an idea of what you're up against
- To 'take advantage of' weaknesses found in the competition
And just so we're clear, here is what a Competitor Analysis is NOT:
- It is NOT a tool to help you copy other businesses
- It is NOT a way to scrutinise and compare yourself to others
So, how should you go about doing one?
I personally like to lay it out in a simple spreadsheet, and include the following sections:
Discuss what products/services your competitors are offering. What are their pricing strategies? How does the customer obtain these products/services?
Depending on what type of businesses you are analysing, this could include their annual turnover, the number of employees, their social media following or their RSS feed followers (if you're analysing companies who blog).
USP (Unique Selling Point)
What makes them stand out from the crowd? How have they positioned themselves? Are they experts in something, or do they give away a lot of stuff for free? Does their brand personality make it a unique experience?
Discuss what is making their business successful, and where their strengths lie. Do they produce fantastic content on their blog? Do they provide excellent customer service? Are their eBooks incredibly popular?
What is their business missing or lacking? Are there any areas that you would improve if you were in charge? Do they update their products regularly enough? Is their branding outdated?
You can include as many areas of analysis as you like in your research, depending on how in-depth you want it to be, and what type of business you are.
Simply click the image below, go to 'File' in the Google Doc and select 'Make a Copy'. Now you can edit to your heart's content!