Competitor Research: Are You Doing It Wrong?
Online research that is done for academic or business purposes is a task that requires patience and time for it to be valuable. The goal is to extract useful content from low-quality information. There are a lot of websites on the Internet that contain all sorts of content. Most of these sites are not worth using as a source because the content is written so badly. If the filtering of information is not done correctly, then the research of a competitor may be inaccurate.
Beyond Google Searches
Google is a good starting place for researching a competitor, but is not the only way to gather date that is needed about a competitor. A competitor’s website is another place to start and may provide a wealth of information. Various tools that relate to a Google search can also be used to learn more about a local competitor. These include Google Trends, Google Alerts, and an online tool called SpyFu. Review the tools that can provide the most useful information.
Try a Little Reporting
Many resources found online allow marketers to learn more about a company’s competition. Resources include analyst firms, such as Gartner, that report on specific industries. Trade associations and various advocacy groups also report on companies in various industries. This is a great way to see if any trends exist and who may be a new competitor for a business. Another online resource to find information about a competitor is Hoovers.
Scour Social Media
The use of social media by companies is on the rise as the need to attract customers is becoming fierce as competition is increasing. Social media is used by millions of potential customers and is a good tool to use for marketing efforts. This is a great way to learn interesting information about competitors. The way this is done will involve monitoring Facebook posts, tweets, and media mentions. The monitoring of social media channels is a cost-effective way to learn about the competition of a business. Sites that offer reviews of businesses, such as Yelp, are also a good source of information.
Speak to Customers
Existing customers of a business are a great resource gain insight into the competition. There may be a reason why a business has won customers from a competitor. This includes customer service issues or problems with a supplier. Ask current and former customers about their preferences. Businesses can be learning a lot about a competitor from customers.
There are a variety of conferences and industry trade shows that are a great way to see what is new and who is a new competitor of a business. Many marketers often go to trade shows as part of their job and need to visit competitors’ booths and collect information. This is an opportunity to gather literature, see their products and view how they interact with customers. Take time to do this and the information that is gathered can be used as a great source of research material.
Businesses in the same industry often use the same suppliers. Make a list of questions and make sure to take time and get to know them on a personal level. The goal is to ask the right questions. A supplier is not likely to offer information about their customers, but they may provide information concerning specific products.
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