Small Business Marketing Competitor Alert

December 18, 2008 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

At a recent small business marketing workshop a question was asked – how many of the attendees kept a watchful eye on their competitors. Of the 40 small businesses attending 30 did not know much about their competitors and one of the main reasons was that they did not know how to gather the information.

As markets get more competitive, gaining insights into your competitors can help you:

  • More easily identify your point of difference
  • Develop strategies to exploit their weaknesses
  • Counteract their activities more effectively
  • Identify why they may be taking business from you
  • Defend your relationships with your current customers

 Easy ways to find out more about your competitors include:

Competitor Websites
If your competitors have websites see if you can register to obtain updates via their blogs or newsletters. Their website also enables you to gain a greater understanding of the key features and benefits of their products and services.

Internet Search Engines
Type in keywords that potential customers may use to find your business and see where your website ranks versus your competitors. Have a look at what pages are ranking well and set up News Alerts so that you can keep up to date with their activities.

Trade Associations
Find out if your competitors regularly advertise or contribute to industry magazines or appear to have a higher profile.

Shop Your Competitors
One of the best ways of gathering information on your competitors is to shop them. Shopping your competitors enables you to experience your competitor’s product as their customers would. This is a little more difficult for services but you can always make an enquiry.

Your Customers
Loyal customers will be able to tell you why they like doing business with you and what makes you better than your competitors. Customers who have left can give you information on what attracted them to your competitors and what if anything can get them to return to you.

Advertising and Promotional Activity
It is a good idea to set up and maintain a competitor file which keeps track of all your competitors’ promotional and advertising activities. It is important to analyse your competitors advertising message and what they are communicating to the customer.

Keeping up to date with your competitor’s products, services and marketing activities just makes life easier. Instead of being surprised about what they do, you can be one step ahead of them especially in the race to attract and retain key customers.

This is the last post for 2008, commencing again on Monday 5th January, 2009 and I wish you all a safe, healthy and happy festive season. If there are any topics you would like to see covered in 2009, please contact me.


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Entry filed under: Competitor Analysis. Tags: , , .

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