Competition Analysis Forms an Important Part of Business Solutions
Competition analysis forms an integral part of market research programs particularly in existing markets where understanding your competition and analyzing their behaviour and strategies has a direct and highly relevant impact on your own strategies. Before you undertake competition analysis research – usually through a market research consultancy firm – it is a good idea to develop an initial strategy that can guide the thrust of the research itself.
Firstly we need to determine competition analysis objectives by identifying the core data that you want to use in your marketing strategies and business development. Of course our primary goal in conducting any market research is to provide actionable data that engenders successful business responses. With this in mind our first priority needs to identify our competition objectives by defining what actions we are trying to make – business, strategy, marketing, costing etc. This tells us the data that we need to learn in the process of our research.
Secondly we need to evaluate the data currently available, the data collection strategies available and identify the gaps where we need to locate data. The data currently available will be public records, press releases, company data that is freely shared and accessible. This data will allow us to build a picture of key areas to investigate and allow us to identify the gaps in information we will need to fill in order to make policy decisions. Evaluating the merits of then becomes incredibly relevant as we need to identify the best strategies to accommodate our particular needs. With these strategies identified we can then turn to identifying the existing omissions in data collection internally and what is already missing from the data collection that will form the basis of the competition research.
Thirdly, having identified the competition analysis platforms, we need to determine the length of investigation and whether the program will be ongoing. Generally speaking long term competition analysis is the most beneficial as it allows us to track trends and shifts over time whilst giving solid information to juxtapose against existing business figures. Further these programs allow set up access and integration systems to be included so that the data is managed and disseminated in a clear and concise manner. Long term competition analysis programs tend to increase in value by offering long term market data on varying aspects of competitor performance.
Finally you will want to ensure that reporting and analysis processes are in place so that you are able to consistently maintain data quality and standards throughout the length of the program. Data management plays a huge part in this but you also need to pin down the key data analysis procedures that will allow the data to be actionable. Generally this means a comparative analysis with internal data platforms but it also can extend to include demographic analyses and marketing analyses that encompass a broader spectrum of data uses. When choosing a competition led research program you need to ensure that data is presented in ways that are relevant – reams of hard data do no-one any favours most of the time.
About the Author:
James is a business blogger based in the US. He is currently writing about the roles in which market research companies can provide crucial information that can add value (and results) to any business plan.