Competitor research has become an integral part of our Web marketing strategies. There are a number of reasons why you should be pro active and not reactive when it comes to competitor research. Primarily it enables you to understand the market dynamics, what your competitors are doing, and what makes them better or worse than you. By studying these aspects, you can ultimately improve the performance of your Web site and business.
For a better competitor research, first you should identify the real competitors of yours. They may not be the one who you think are. In any field, there are different levels of competition. You should look for companies with whom you can compete shoulder to shoulder. For example, it will be foolish to compare a new entrant in the retail business with the business of Walmart that has established its reputation decades back.
There are several advantages of doing competitor research. It is an opportunity for you to identify the successful brand marketing strategies adopted by your competitors and to adopt them for your business in a better manner. The successful new businesses may have fewer legacy techniques that work now, not a few years ago, so you can adopt them without thinking twice.
There are two basic frameworks that allow you to do competitor analysis: SWOT analysis and Five Forces analysis.
“SWOT” stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The test helps you analyse your position in relation with that of your competitions. The key data analysed through this research include comparison of financial data, strengths and weakness of management team, strength and weakness of marketing strategies, analysis of patents or intellectual property protection assets, and assessment of distribution channels and strategies. A SWOT analysis may also look at external market conditions to identify potential opportunities and threats.
The “Five Forces Analysis” technique was developed by Michael Porter, a professor at Harvard Business School. He defines five forces that define the competitive landscape for any company: customer bargaining power, supplier bargaining power, product substitutes, barriers to entry, and potential new competitors. Analysing these factors provides a foundation for establishing your firm’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your rivals, according to Porter.
There are a number of automated tools that help you do competitive research. They can make the process easier by allowing you to focus on the areas that you are interested in. A web design, London agency such as Mac Expo U.K., offers competitor research services as part of their Web marketing services portfolio.
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