14 Ways to Track Your Competition
Once you gather all of this intelligence, it’s time to create some order so you can take action.
- Develop SWOTs. Use your research to document your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Be brutally honest about weaknesses and threats. Revisit monthly to ensure your are increasing strengths and capitalizing on opportunities. Here is a template.
- Create a strategic group map. Plot your company and competitors on a grid against two variables that are most critical to success in your industry (e.g., pricing and quality). This will illustrate the strategic space that is open. Here is an example using major retailers.
- Target three marketing improvements. Decide the most urgent priorities from a marketing perspective. Maybe one competitor has mouthwatering images on its website that entice consumers to buy their chocolate. Then work on your website to better display your candy. Another competitor holds contests that drive store traffic. Why not launch a free chocolate per month promotion? If there is a company with a great catalog, you can make it a priority to update your print materials.
You don’t necessarily have to use the same tactics, events and channels as competitors. Rather, your goal is to make sure all the marketing elements that make sense for your business are better than those of the competitors and reinforce your unique brand experience. According to Craig Fleisher, a former president of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals, “Competitive intelligence is part of the day-to-day operation—part of the fabric of the enterprise.” If you make a regular process of it and take advantage of available tools, you can track your competitors easily and effectively in just a few minutes per day.
What other methods have you used to track the competition? Have you learned any information that changed your marketing strategy?