Do you have a program in place for keeping tabs on your competition? Have you tried out their latest products, seen their current marketing campaign or introduced yourself at industry-wide meetings?
Knowing your competition should be an important part of your on-going marketing plan. The information you gain can be invaluable to your success.
|KNOW YOUR COMPETITION
Unless your product or service is so unique that no one else is offering it, setting yourself apart from your competition can be key to your success. But how much do you really know about your competitors? Who are they? What do they stand for? What are their Unique Selling Propositions? What are they up to in the marketplace? And – most importantly – what are their vulnerabilities?
8 Ways to Check Out Your Competitors
Once you’ve identified your competitors, there are many ways to learn about them, including:
- Visit Their Websites. It might seem obvious, but a surprising number of business owners fail to do this.
- Visit Their Retailers. If you sell a retail product, get out to the stores on a regular basis and take a look at the competitors’ products.
- Order Their Marketing Materials. Ask a staff member to order your competitors’ brochures, catalogs, price lists, annual reports, etc. Learn all you can from these materials.
- Buy Their Products. If it’s feasible, order something from your competitors every few months. This is a great way to get a first hand look at their products and their customer service.
- Attend Industry Group Meetings. It’s often possible to meet your competitors face to face in a friendly environment. People like to chat about what they’re doing, and often say more than they should.
- Go to Major Trade Shows. Walk the trade show floor, go to the receptions and attend the seminars. Talk to everyone you can and learn as much as you can.
- Read the Trade Journals. Subscribe to your industry’s trade journals and read them cover to cover when they arrive.
- Use Google Alerts. Set up Google Alerts for your competitor’s company, brand and product names, as well as other industry-related terms.