Everyone has competitors... and your competitors are constantly vying for the attention of customers - theirs and yours. And as you may well know, if your competitor wins over your prospects, quite often you get "nout, nothing, zip"!
Knowing what your competitors are up to in any economy can help to protect your business and save you money by identifying new niches you can target, as well as give you options if your competitors start a price discounting war. Knowing what they're up to during a tight economy can quite literally make you money.
Competitor Analysis done for you
For anyone wanting a complete service provider, businesses such as The Search Monitor, Nielsen Online, Receptional and Launch Engineering offer comprehensive reporting and analysis to those with a bigger budget.
Full service analysis providers do in-depth reporting that includes monitoring when your competitors run special offers, when and where they advertise, along with some sort of market description of who they are targeting , and a brief on industry trend analysis.
Self-service Competitor Analysis
There are some organisations that offer self-service competitor analysis reporting for those on a modest budget with an understanding of who their competitors are.
The self-service option has some limitations, because they are restricted to reporting only on what your rivals are doing online, so tracking magazine, television and in-store promotions aren't included. You also miss out on trend analysis.
On the up side, you get to control what reports you get, how often you get them and the amount of time you spend on analysis.
Free Competitor Analysis
If you're looking at having to tighten your budget belt, then a completely free way of conducting competitor analysis is what you'll need.
Free competitor analysis has it's limitations, will take up some of your time, but on the plus side it gives you control over when and what you want to know about what your competitors are doing.
Simply by using Google and a spreadsheet you can easily find out who is doing what in your industry and discover if there are new rivals you need to be aware of.
With your new found knowledge of what "the opposition" is doing, you are now in a position to make some serious long-term decisions about what you do in your business.
And did I mention that if you're stuck for ideas on what strategy to adopt next within your business, turn to see what your competitors are up to. It could just be the inspiration you need.
Undertake your own Competitor Analysis using freely available tools like Google Alerts to discover what and how well your competitors are really doing.
To help you along the way get a copy of the How to Conduct Competitor Analysis for Free worksheet and use these simple steps to guide you as you discover who is doing what.
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