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Updated: January 9, 2023 101

101: Performing a strong competitive analysis

Whether you’ve been in business for a few months or several decades, there’s a good chance you have a sense of who your competitors are. But when was the last time you did a deep analysis to suss them out, beyond just going to their websites? Here are some tips for performing a competitive analysis of other companies who tend to give you a run for your money.

Know who your competitors are. It might seem obvious, but the first thing you should do is make sure you have a full list of the companies who challenge yours. Once you’ve determined direct and indirect competitors, figure out what products they offer, their quality, pricing, and any discounts. Ask yourself: What is their market share? What are the characteristics and needs of their ideal consumers? Are they using different pricing strategies for brick-and-mortar purchases versus online? “At the heart of any business is its product or service, which is what makes this a good place to start,” Christine White, acquisition marketer at HubSpot, wrote in a company blog post.

Talk to their customers. While you’re looking online for reviews, make note of some of the customers you want to talk to and reach out to them. Figure out what it is they want and need, and ask if those things are being fulfilled. “Think of it as a relationship: If something is lacking in their relationship with your competitor, make it known that you will fulfill those unmet business needs,” Dan Casarella wrote in an article on the website of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “At the conclusion of your conversation, thank them for their time and offer them better customer service.”

Look at their marketing tactics. One of the best ways to see how a company markets its products is to take on the role of a potential customer. Sign up for their newsletters, follow them on social media, and even purchase a product to see how a business follows up with the people it does business with. “You want to find out what offers they are promoting, how they are building and managing their contact lists, and how they are distributing content online,” Kaleigh Moore wrote in a blog post for Shopify.

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