Staying one step ahead of the game is crucial in today’s volatile marketplace. Business can do a Companies House webcheck, for example, to find information and conduct research on industry competitors. The benefits of doing this are far-reaching. They include:
- Gathering new ideas for your own business
- Finding out who your customers are and where to find them
- Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their business model and strategies for your own benefit
- Establishing your own business model that avoids their mistakes and uses their successful strategies
- Improving sales forecasting
In addition to this, looking at your competitors will show your fellow co-workers that dynamic and constant change is a positive thing. Competitor research fosters a company culture of continual improvement and growth. It also promotes a healthy respect for other companies in your industry.
With a particular focus on business and marketing strategies, you should ask the following questions when
conducting your competitor research:
- Who are your main competitors?
- How long have they been trading for?
- What products and services do they offer?
- What is their pricing policy and is it successful for them?
- Who are their customers? (Where do you find them and are they already your customers?)
- What marketing strategies do they use? (Social media, direct mail, PR campaigns, etc.)
- Are they financially secure?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- What is their culture like and how do they attract and retain staff?
- What is their business strategy?
The answers to all of these questions are merely a few clicks of a mouse away. Web-based research through online directories can yield some insightful results. Often web-based research can be cost-effective and powerful tool when you consider the long-term financial benefit to your company. Market research tools come in a variety of different price-ranges and deliver incisive results that answer all of the questions.
Along with using paid market research tools, you can also conduct your own free research by analysing their advertising, mail-shots and making a direct sales inquiry to them. From this you can ascertain their sales pitch and promotional narratives (how they sell their products). You will be able to gather valuable insights from this.
The same applies for their social media: follow and like them to view how they portray themselves to their audience.
In addition, you can see how consumers and the company engage in an open dialogue with each other. On their website you can assess their technological sophistication, and the extent to which they use e-commerce. By conducting web-based research, you can gather powerful insights into your industry and usher in positive changes.