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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Competitive analysis strategy and methods

Conducting a competitive analysis is a crucial aspect of product development, and it should not be overlooked.
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People usually think that once they know what their competition is offering, they know all they need to know about their competitors, but it goes much deeper than that. Conducting a competitive analysis is about truly getting to know your competitors; their offerings, strategies, strengths and weaknesses. Once you research the competition, you will know what they do, how they do it and why they do it in that particular way.

As mentioned earlier, the main reason for conducting a competitive analysis is to get a competitive edge over your competition. This means that you can use the information you have gained from the research to make your own product or service outshine the competition.

When it comes to new product development, researching the competition is a great way to get ahead and stay ahead in the local, national and global markets. On top of that, conducting a competitive analysis is  also a good strategy for scaling your business without having to fear the competition. This is why doing it right is crucial to the growth of your business. Here are five tips that can you help when performing a  competitive analysis.

Researching your competition is a great way to learn about your target niche. In fact, it can actually enhance your very own market research, which is another important aspect of product development. Based on what you have uncovered about your competitors, you might find that some of the information can actually be of use to you as well. For example, your competition might use a specific supplier that provides high-quality and affordable standard components, and you can also benefit a lot from using that same supplier.

Learn from your competitor mistakes

The internet has a lot of information about your competitors that you can use to learn what mistakes they have made and how to avoid them. Not only will you be able to avoid their mistakes, but you can also leverage them to push your product ahead of theirs. For example, if customers keep complaining that your competitor’s product does not perform a particularly crucial function they need, all you have to do to get ahead is provide them with that functionality and they will prefer your offering instead.

When you know what works for your competition, you can try to do something similar. This does not mean copying what your competition is doing step by step, as this would be plagiarising their approach, which is wrong. Just copy the idea behind what they are doing and give it your own spin. For example, if your competitor is offering a free eBook with their purchase that will help customers make the most of their product, perhaps you can try offering free video tutorials on the same.

Now that you know the importance of carrying out competitive analysis, you will not skip this important step when developing a new product or service. Doing this will give you insights that will help you make a product or service that has the potential to outsell and outlast the competition. In fact, after the competitive analysis is complete, there is a high chance that the competition will not frighten you anymore.

Every company has competition – businesses who sell the same products or services as them and take their potential customers – whether on local, national or international markets. That is why it is a good idea to come up with a list of competitors so you know who you are dealing with. Sometimes there may be a hundred companies that you need to deal with, but a much practical approach would be to list down your top ten competitors and focus on them instead.

Look Them Up on the Internet.  This is where your investigative skills come in handy. This means going on the internet and looking at their website and social media pages, as well as seeing what people are saying about them on business review websites. The internet is also full of useful tools, such as Google Alerts, that enable you to keep tabs on your competitors.

When your competitor is hosting a conference or trade show, attending it is a great way to see what they are offering and get a glimpse of their overall strategy for the market. At these events, your competition will be boasting about their greatest products and services, giving you an opportunity to gather some first-hand knowledge you can use to your advantage.

When you are in or planning to enter an emerging market, there is a high chance that new players can come in and steal your potential or current customers. So always be on the lookout for new businesses. Also, do not just restrict your definition of new players to startups only because even old companies that were previously selling their products and services in other markets can shift gears and enter yours, becoming the new players in this scenario.

Conducting a competitive analysis is a great way to develop a product that outshines the competition or reveal opportunities as they present themselves on the local, national and global markets. Any business that wants to get ahead, stay ahead and expand should seriously consider scoping out the competition by performing a competitive analysis.

Become Their Customer to gain insights into your own business or the product you are developing depending on the good and bad things you learn from them. This goes beyond merely just buying from them, but actually interacting with them to see what type of service they provide to customers. Since you are researching your competition, do not be afraid to bombard them with questions and take note of important insights.

Focus on innovation

Most business owners think that in order to be successful, they need to create a product or service that is completely new. But, In fact, all they need to do to create a successful business that sells their product or service locally, nationally or globally, they just need to innovate. Simply put: to innovate means to come up with a new way of doing something. Innovation is about modifying an existing product or service in order to make it better than its original version.

Innovation is a crucial component of business success. And once you understand what role it plays towards making your business more successful, it will become a no-brainer.

Whether on local, national or global markets, there is a saturation of businesses selling the same product and service to consumers. This means competition is stiff and the more customers can separate your product from the rest, the better your chances of surviving and becoming profitable are. That is where innovation comes in. You can look at existing products or services on the market and find a way to make them unique so they provide more value to the customer when compared to similar products. By making sure you provide customers with something that your competitors are not, your business will stand out and become more profitable.

Whether your business is big or small, due to the advancement of globalisation, access to global markets has become easier through the years. If you look at the businesses in your area, you will most likely find Chinese and Indian vendors selling to the very same customers you are trying to sell to. This means you can also sell your product and service on global markets as well; just like the Chinese and Indian businesses in your backyard are doing. But in order for your business to survive and remain profitable in global markets, you need to provide customers with something innovative.

From the moment you come up with your product design, prototype and all the way to the finished product, the goal is to meet the needs of your consumers. But the problem is that consumers are not static entities, meaning their needs evolve over time. The best way to ensure that you are always meeting these expectations is to be innovative. Your business must be able to predict these ever-changing expectations and improve your product or service. If you sell the same product or service without noticing the needs of your customer have evolved, your business will be stagnant and will eventually be forgotten.

When you focus on innovation you are able to grow your business. This means you are able to take on more customers and hire more people to work on your next best product design or prototype. Whether you are a big business or just starting out, by innovating, you can grow beyond your wildest expectations. In fact, according to an innovation survey conducted by Deloitte, 60% of the respondents said innovation is important to business growth. So if you want to scale up your business, be innovative.

As you can see, innovation is not about coming up with product design or prototype or service from scratch. It is about improving what is already there and making your business more profitable, whether you are targeting local, national or global markets. By looking at the above-mentioned roles that innovation can play towards making your business more successful, every serious business owner should give it some consideration.