Most businesses will readily admit that increasing their market share is a high priority. Yet, if you ask the same group about their competitive intelligence strategies, you’ll often get a muffled response that’s confused or misdirected. To achieve your market share objectives, competitive awareness and analysis need to be conducted on an ongoing basis.
As with any research mission, embarking on a competitive intelligence exercises takes time. However, the benefits of thorough reporting are extensive and reach far beyond market share growth.
With a thorough understanding of your competitors and competitive landscape, you will be more confident in your strategic plans and company positioning. You will also likely uncover ways to improve your products or services and how you communicate their unique benefits to your customers.
Luckily, there are free online tools that you can use for research. Combined with a list of what you are looking for, they may make your search more cost and time efficient. Here’s a great video about Competitive Intelligence.
Research starter list
It’s important to outline your research objectives, to help you be as productive and efficient as possible. You may not find everything you’re looking for and instead uncover other useful information, but a list of objectives will give you a sense of direction in your search. Here are some things to look for:
Basic company information ensures you know all locations of competitors
Company names including current, proposed and any past dissolved names (which can be helpful in uncovering older history)
Accounting information will be found in the company’s financial history. Look for annual returns and P&L statements.
Insolvency history will give you an idea of a competitor’s past. (This is also a useful search to perform when considering new suppliers.)
Company directors: find out the directors histories and success track record.
Website data such as traffic stats, will give you an indication of how important online marketing is to your competitors, providing a way to benchmark your own online activities.
Free online tools
Duedil (short for Due Diligence) is among the best free tools available to do competitive intelligence. With information on over millions of businesses, you will be able to search for all of the above information, and conveniently download company reports, for free.
Your competitive landscape is always changing, in some industries much quicker than in others. Once you have performed a thorough analysis, it’s important to regularly monitor key competitors and update your research to include any new information. Simultaneously, this ongoing competitor monitoring will allow you to adjust your business strategy. All of these steps combined will lead to you to a superior offering for better cut through among consumers, which naturally results in market share growth.