Performing competitive analysis allows businesses of all levels the chance to observe competitors’ movements and gauge the effectiveness of their own strategies. Jeff Nock of Prescient Consulting, LLC shares his perspective on the usefulness of competitive analysis below.
Thorough market analysis is a necessary component of any successful business strategy. Success depends on how well a business sells its product or service, and comprehension of the market and potential competitors will inevitably factor into sales plans. Understanding what one company gets right and how another business fails can be interpreted and applied to improve any business strategy. In that way, companies can evolve and keep up with a changing market by using competitors’ results to enhance their own efforts.
“If you’ve developed a business plan in the past, then you’ve already conducted thorough research on your niche market,” says Jeff Nock, CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC. “It’s just as important to explore the competitors within your niche and track their success or failures. This will allow you to anticipate shifts in the market and respond appropriately, among other useful benefits.”
A competitive analysis must include more than a subscription to competitors’ email lists and keeping an eye on their social media accounts. While these are very useful tactics, quality competitive analysis will include an all-encompassing strategy to monitor your competitors throughout various channels on an ongoing basis. Whether businesses choose to follow only a few of their main competitors or else study as many companies as they can is ultimately a strategy choice, which is likely factored by available manpower and resources.
However, Jeff Nock reminds businesses that the competitive analysis is not something to skimp on or dedicate only a small fraction of time to. Especially not with all the help available to businesses today.
“There are plenty of resources available online to help businesses monitor and track what a competitor is doing,” says Jeff Nock. “Subscribing to all competitor channels and online domains is easy. Companies can also use tools like those offered by Google to get detailed and accurate reports of competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in real time.”
Google is the world’s leading online index of professional services and they offer a range of complex tools (many free of charge) to help businesses keep a fresh and precise depiction of their markets. Google AdWords Keyword Planner informs businesses which keywords and phrases are trending online, how often they appear on competitor sites, and what their current bidding price is. Google Trends and My Business help companies link up their efforts with the successful trends sweeping a market at any given moment. Google Analytics, meanwhile, delivers a well-rounded snapshot of how users find and interact with a given website, allowing them to make alterations and test their success or failure.
“Competitive analysis will never fail you,” says Jeff Nock. “It’s a cheat sheet to your niche market that can empower your business and ensure strength and longevity over the competition. Refusing to conduct thorough market or competitor research will only hinder business potential.”