By Richard G. Ensman Jr.
The secret to cost-effective competitor analysis is to identify exactly what you need to know, and zero in on that data. Some common questions you might answer through a competition analysis:
- What are the unique selling propositions of my competitors? What can they do that I can’t?
- What are my competitors’ customer service capabilities?
- Where are the gaps and weaknesses in my competitors’ business operations? How can I turn these into competitive strengths of my own?
- How do my competitors’ prices fare in relation to mine? Do prices vary from season to season? What discount programs do they make available? What key marketing strategies do my competitors pursue? Do they tend to focus on particular segments of the buying population? What media buys does my competition make?
- What’s the quality of my competitors’ products? Do customers perceive this level of quality?
- How does my competitor perceive me?
- How would I describe the financial posture of my chief competitors? Can I estimate their profit margins? Are their behind-the-scenes operations more or less efficient than mine? Are competitors’ costs being soaked up in some way?
- What distribution channels does my competitor use? Who are the intermediaries? How fast is distribution?
- Who supplies my competitor? What unique financial arrangements does my competitor have with suppliers
- What is my competitors’ market share? Is it going up or down? Why?
- What is my competitors’ vision for the future? Does it include expansion plans?