To keep up with the world of marketing and sales, I subscribe to many business marketing and sales information sites. It was on marketingprofs.com that I found an article by Julia Cupman. She presents five tips for successfully profiling your competitors. Ms. Cupman was primarily speaking of B2B businesses, but some of these things are true for B2C businesses.
To find out about your competition, “there is no more effective, reliable, or valuable source of competitor information than customers,” according to Ms. Cupman. And she is right. She points out, “Buyers have never been so willing to say exactly what they want and how they want it, or to complain and take their business elsewhere if their requirements are not fulfilled.”
How often do you talk to your customers about how your business measures up to other companies in your industry? You may talk to them in person, asking them where else they shop, and why, or you may send out a short (three question) survey. It could be one two-part question survey. For example:
- We are always looking to improve and would appreciate your insight. Which businesses do you buy from who do an outstanding job and why? (These may be companies in or out of our industry.)
If you are in a business where there are others in the same industry in close proximity, it’s time you went over to see how they conduct business. Or, if you are well known by your competitors, and may not be treated as a regular customer, send others over to evaluate the businesses. Though be sure to give the people you send specific information on what you would like to know, whether it is layout, merchandise, customer service, prices, etc. The more specific you are the better information you will get back.
A lot of information may be found on the Internet. You should regularly check your competitors’ websites. Many websites now have the mission and vision on their website, so you know where the company is headed, as well as pricing, information about their employees and new techniques they may be using. Follow your competitors on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and through other social media avenues.
Take some time to do your homework and find out what your competition is up to and the effect it may have on your business.
A tip of the glass from me to you!