Most companies have the best intentions when they set out to create a marketing plan. But there is one thing that we consistently see underestimated – and, in many cases, overlooked by many in the marketing services industry. That is a thorough, non-biased competitive analysis. We are not referring to an understanding of your competition from your own perspective, but a thorough understanding of your competition through your customer’s eyes.
Here’s how we suggest you format your competitive analysis:
- Take your top three to five direct competitors in your category. Be sure to include yourself on that list as well.
- Now, pretend you are a customer looking for that product or service within your category.
- Start by doing a little research on each company, just like a real prospect would. Look at each company’s website. Look at any printed literature, ads, mailers or other form of communication. Do a keyword Google search. Compare creative styles and messaging. In other words, find everything you can on each company.
- Next, actually shop each competitor, including yourself. Go through the motions and experience that a prospect would experience. And be sure to keep a non-biased attitude, just like a customer would.
- Now, for the most critical part of this exercise, ask yourself, truthfully, who would you buy from and why? Warning: The truth may be eye opening.