‘Know your enemy’, as the old saying goes. Okay, labelling competing brands ‘enemies’ is a bit extreme. Think of them more as that guy who always beat you at cross-country. Except this time, you’re going to win.

But it is good to know them. And of course, watch your competitors movements with vigilance.

Competitor analysis is simply knowing and having an understanding of your competition. Use this knowledge to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses so that you can act accordingly.

Direct vs Indirect Competition

Conducting thorough and regular competitor analysis will help you define ‘direct’ competition and separate it from ‘indirect’ competition.

For a classic example, indirect competition would be a Pizza Express and a McDonald’s on the same high street. They both serve customers fast food, but they offer different products, and cater for slightly different budgets. So, they’re in indirect competition with each other.

Regular analysis is critical here. Even after you’ve established such competitors and labelled them as direct/indirect, you should nonetheless keep an eye on them. Even a small change in operations could result in a formerly non-competitive brand or business becoming a threatening one.

So, back to our high street. If Pizza Express started selling low-cost burgers, they will be in direct competition with McDonald’s. It’s as simple as that.

Once you’ve established your direct competition (while keeping an eye on the indirect) it’s time to begin your competitor analysis.

Learn from Their Mistakes!

Perhaps the most crucial thing competitor analysis can teach you is the mistakes or shortcomings of your competitors. By looking at past and current strategies, you can fast-track improvements in your own business and bypass the exasperation of endless trial and error.

Determine the Target Market

If you are in direct competition with a business, you’ll most likely share a target market.

You can observe your competitors and see where they succeed, as well as their shortcomings. For example, if they lack an effective customer loyalty system, consider applying some time to create a solid one yourself.

This could include running competitions on social media (‘like and share’) to extending outreach or offering appealing benefits to returning customers.

Build A Niche

See what your competitors offer and if they’re known for ‘something’ in particular.

Push products or services which differ from these, and work at developing an in-demand niche. Strengthen your target market and create the ideal product for them which is not offered by your competitors.

Predict Potential Threats

That can also be read as: be dynamic.

What worked for you today may not work tomorrow. The market undulates, and so do the needs of customers. Keep track of the movements of your target market and the competition, so they don’t catch onto something you’ve missed. No exaggeration; it could be catastrophic for your brand.

Solidify Your Online Presence

Social media spelt out against a white background with fabric patterns

A business could offer the most fantastic product out there, but without effective marketing, it will get lost. Identify their marketing strategies and strive to out-do them.

If you don’t yet run a blog (and especially if your competitors do), build one for your business. Keeping customers engaged is the key to success and brand awareness, while blogs can also be hugely beneficial to SEO.

Make your brand recognisable with strong branding and a consistent social media presence, whether it’s via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest (ideally, all of the above!).

At Ducard Digital Marketing, Devon, we specialise in growing your brand through fantastic content and building a top-notch social media presence.

If they do have a blog and active social media (as most successful businesses do!), make sure yours is substantially better! Deliver a clearer message, inspiring content and imagery, and totally identifiable colours and graphics.

Taking the time to conduct competitor analysis can be crucial in ensuring your business succeeds in an increasingly competitive market.

Consider how you’ll apply our tips and, if you would like more support, be sure to get in contact with us. Stay ahead of the game!