The Importance of Competitor Intelligence to Your Business
Definition of Competitor Intelligence: Identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses comparative to those of your own products/services
The main reason of looking performing competitor intelligence is to gain valuable INSIGHT into what your competitors are doing and what they are offering. It takes constant analysis to ensure your place in the market. Getting intelligence on your competition plays a vital role in shaping your strategies and determines your strengths and weaknesses within your market.
There are many things that can affect your sales and profitability but the most important one is the gaps and weaknesses within your business that you are unaware of. In order to discover what these are it is necessary to obtain insights into what your competitors are offering and then ensure you are keeping up with customer expectations.
In order to gain more valuable data, it is a great idea to look at your own business as well as your competitors and get information on where you are stand and what your strengths and weaknesses are in comparison to similar businesses. It will allow you to identify opportunities for improvement in your customer service, your sales processes, and many other areas.
How to approach completing Competitor Intelligence to gain the most valuable insights
- Ensure and commit to conducting these regularly in order to keep with the market and to understand what is happening from a customer’s perspective. Completing a one-off analysis will not keep you ahead of your game as things are changing very quickly in this modern environment.
- Make sure you have a programme in place so that you can run the analysis as required and ensure that this a formalised process that can be done regularly.
- Keep up with who your competitors are and target any new ones as they enter the marketplace. It is also important to review the competitors each time you do an analysis to ensure that they are still relevant in your market.
- One of the most important things is the data that you need to capture from the analysis. What information is important to you? Areas that can be covered are broad but essentially you need to know details product offerings, prices of products and/or services, the customer experience, the product quality, the warranties offered, any inclusions, the website experience, the contact facilities, the returns policies. The list is endless but the analysis should only obtain insights into what is relevant to your industry.
Benefits of Competitor Intelligence
There are many benefits in running regular programmes and these include:
- You keep in touch with your market and stay up date with what is happening and what competitors are offering
- You will understand your market from your customers' perspective which is very important as the ability to listen and take note of what the customer experience is crucial to keeping your customers and obtaining new ones.
- You will be able to identify areas of where you need to improve and also identify areas where you are doing well
- You identify opportunities and get new ideas
- You identify threats so that you can alleviate them quicker in order to stay ahead
If you want to have a good position in the marketplace, you need to understand your competitors and where you can improve, especially from the perspective of the customer.
Mystery Shopping and Competitive Intelligence
Once you understand your competitors you can make informed business decisions in order to stay ahead in the marketplace. Mystery Shopping is a research methodology where experienced and fully trained shoppers to act as prospective customers. This can be done via phone, online enquiries or in person.
These are all just a few examples of what data you can obtain through conducting competitor intelligence and you can define your own objectives to obtain the data relevant to you and your business. The way that you and your competitors engage with customers needs to be measured and will lead to you understanding your place in the market and give you a better picture of what is being offered the competition.
By studying your competition, you can forecast problems beforehand and make the necessary arrangements to avoid or combat them head-on. This could determine whether you win or lose with your products.
These are just the top benefits to be gained. Other than these, there are numerous other benefits and opportunities to be discovered when you carefully study and analyse those businesses that you are competing with in the marketplace.