Performing a Simple
by Mark Levit
Marketing, in its purest form, is based on a thorough understanding of the arena in which your brand competes. That understanding enables you, as a marketer, to successfully promote and sell.
Successful marketers understand their markets, competitors and customer wants and needs. That understanding gives those marketers an opportunity to be competitive.
Identifying and analyzing your direct competition is an important first step prior to making a decision about your marketing strategy. It’s vital to the success of a brand because it reduces risk, time required, resources and expenses.
Picture your competition as a series of concentric circles, like a target with a bulls-eye in the middle. The bulls-eye represents your direct competitors and moving outward from the center the competition grows less direct.
Carefully consider, from the customer’s point of view, all the alternatives there are to buying your brand. Knowing that, you can assure your brand provides real or perceived advantages over your competitors, beginning with those who market brands that most directly compete with yours. In fact, you can even borrow tactics from second- or third-level competitors to compete more effectively against your first-tier competitors!
It’s to your advantage to know as much as you can about the details of your competitors’ businesses. Study their advertising, promotions and brochures. Analyze their pricing strategies and distribution methods. Talk to their channel partners and end users to determine what your competitors are doing well that you can imitate and what they do poorly upon which you can capitalize.
Secondary data, as well as information from your sales force or other contacts including your suppliers and customers, can provide rich information about competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Basic information every marketer should know about his or her competition includes:
There may be other facts you need, depending on the type of product you offer. For example, if you’re in manufacturing, you’ll want to know how quickly your competitors can fill a typical order, their return policies and what they charge for shipping and handling, etc.
Once you identify your most direct competition and have a firm grasp on your second- and third-tier competitors, project which actions they’re likely to take in the next year or so. Forecasts of competitors’ future activities depend on your knowing and understanding their objectives, strengths in the marketplace and resources. Key intelligence for your brand’s success:
Gathering competitive intelligence can make a difference between realizing your company’s annual plan or losing business that may never be won back.
Your competitors are probably evaluating your brand’s strengths and weaknesses right now. You should be analyzing theirs. For more information, contact our Managing Partner, Mark Levit at 212.696.1200. now!