Who are your competitors, and why do you need to know what they are doing to attract business?
Our competitor monitoring service aims to explore all of the public facing actions that are employed by others (your competitors) to entice interactions with their brand. It requires the analysis of digital activity (such as SEO ranking and content optimisation), social media activity including campaigns, tactical marketing (advertising and PR), product and service development, and the identification of growth strategies.
Isolating your main competitors from a crowded marketplace can be a difficult challenge. Similarly, your business service may be so niche that you feel you only have one or two close competitors. Here the challenge does not lie in identifying companies who offer the same as you; it is in narrowing or expanding the field according to consumer need.
Successful competitor activity monitoring starts with the selection of the right competitors. This filters out those who do not meet the same consumer needs as you whilst adding those who may, on the surface, be very different to you. Of course, not all aspects of your competitors' activities will be worth examining. Therefore a second filtering process will need to applied to avoid unnecessary explorations.
At the very least it is essential that businesses and service providers monitor competitor activity to some degree to ensure that they keep up with the pack. Some knowledge is better than none at all. However, to really take advantage of gaps in product or service provision and identify untapped opportunities, general weaknesses, or even location, competitor analysis will help you to enhance your strategy and become 'the' premium, go-to, brand.
It is vital to maintain visibility of all aspects of your competitors' marketing. This could include their digital presence such as their social media or website, their print advertising, events, packaging or service offering. Particularly for small and medium sized enterprises, it can take a great deal of time and resources to monitor competitor activity and gain meaningful insight as a result. At Mackman Research, we help you to track your competitors effectively. This ensures that your marketing is superior to your competitors. We advise you based on your competitors' strategies that are successful and those that are not so that you can examine your marketing accordingly. This will help you to determine how to engage your customers in an optimal way.
The first phase of competitor activity research is to identify the competitors that pose a threat to your business. Sometimes these can be businesses who offer something quite different to you but seem to always be busy. Other more obvious competitors are those who deliver almost exactly the same products or services as you do. We will help you to filter and define who your competitors really are.
When selecting competitors, these do not have to be the key industry leaders. Using our thorough secondary research, we can advise on the most appropriate competitors to monitor if you have not considered all potential competitor types. Measuring your business against different tiers of competitors from large to small and direct to indirect means that comprehensive results can be obtained from competitor activity analysis.
Your fiercest competitors will be direct competitors who occupy the same space in the market as your business. Indirect competitors offer alternatives to your product or service. It is also important to monitor alternative products or services that deliver similar benefits to your customers, but are not directly competing with you. For instance, music streaming services are an alternative to CDs; by ignoring newly emerging competitors, you could risk missing new players that could change your industry completely.
Researching and assessing competitor activity will help to develop (or validate) your position in the marketplace. It also contributes to the breadth of products or services that your offer, and the geographical spread in which you are prepared to operate. Finally, it also allows you to capitalise on any gaps in the service offerings of others. This creates a benchmark against which you can measure your own progress.
As part of our competitor monitoring service, our reports are designed to visualise your competitors' activity. We map out their reach and define their appeal. Furthermore, we aim to make recommendations that meet with your aspirations; we reveal quick fix areas of improvement that can help you to begin to overtake other businesses.
Competitor activity research can use a variety of methodologies to gather information. From digital audits to mystery shopping, competitor activity brings together research disciplines to create an overview of who your competitors are, how they operate, where they pose a threat, and where they fail to meet the needs of your potential consumers or customers.
As with many types of research, we recommend that competitor activity monitoring be revisited on a regular (annual or bi-annual) basis. Timescales may be dependant on industry and speed of technological and cultural development. However, it is crucial that you don't take you eye off the competition. Finally, we can create a bespoke competitor monitoring framework. The framework can be handed to you, including training and guides on how to maintain competitor monitoring. Alternatively, we can conduct repeats and updates on your behalf, ensuring that we include new entrants to your field.
Find out how we work to collaborate with you, helping you keep one step ahead of the competition.
We view our competitor monitoring service as a continual process, and that is why our competitor research is designed to be flexible, make comparisons, and be built upon over the course of your business's lifetime.
Whilst we would like you to always keep a watchful eye on the competition, our approach discourages you from fixating on your competitors. This avoids allowing their actions to completely dictate your own marketing strategy. Instead, we help you to monitor your competitor landscape to identify any competitive advantages and remain ahead of the curve. In addition, we work with you to devise strategies that are sustainable and realistic. For example, although competitor activity analysis may show that your top competitor is reducing their prices on certain items, being reactive and lowering your own prices to match is not always a viable prospect in the long-term, and may not meet with your value proposition.
We gather our information and data using a variety of research methodologies. We design bespoke competitor monitoring projects that are unique to your business and sector, making sure that our searches are both targeted (examining your direct competitors) and broad (exploring potential or unknown competition). Added to this, and depending on your needs, we may also dip into trend analysis to include emerging and future competitors.
Your customers are essential to the success of your business. Therefore, our competitor activity reports always focus on their needs, making it easy for you to visualise gaps, threats, and importantly, opportunities.
Our experienced researchers have been helping brands to grow for 20 years. We have a broad understanding of many market areas, having worked with clients in such sectors as academia and education, manufacturing, professional services, consumer, government and the third sector. We take the time to get to know your business and the niche that it occupies. This means that our competitor monitoring service offers the most valuable insight for your investment.
Our boutique research agency offers a plain speaking, no-nonsense service that aims to empower you, the client, with valuable and usable insight. Read about our projects and find out what our happy clients have to say...
Contact Mackman Research today and let's get started on your competitor activity project.
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