16 Feb Defensive Competitor Analysis: Building Your Business To Thrive
Let’s imagine your business as a castle.
Strong, shining and vibrant, it’s situated in a prime location, standing magnificent, for the entire world to see.
You’ve done well.
You’ve put in hours and the hard work that it takes to create such an accomplishment. And the structure shows your attention to detail and your dedication in its construction.
But as is the case with so many beautiful things, your castle attracts those who would seek to destroy or conquer it. And while you’ve done your best to offensively study your enemies, and feel prepared to take them on, the question filling your head is, “What now?”
How do you beat your competition?
While visualizing your business, as a physical structure may seem difficult for some, it can be a valuable tool for thinking about how to take your business to the next level. We’ve equipped you with the knowledge of how to offensively use competitor analysis. The next step is to create a plan to defensively sustain your business.
One of the best ways for you to use the competitor knowledge that you’ve compiled (and that you should be continuously compiling!) is for you to take a look at how you can strengthen your business based off of it. While finding out that your competition is better in a certain aspect of business is a good starting point, it doesn’t do much good if you do nothing to improve your own work in those areas.
Take a moment and list three ways that your competition is stronger than you, and then start to build your defense based off of the strengths that you see, using one of these four strategies.
1. Position Defense: Continue to invest in your current markets and attempt to build your brand name and customer loyalty
2. Mobile Defense: Make constant changes to your business so that it is difficult for competitors to compete with you (for example, introducing new products, entering new markets or simply making changes to existing products)
3. Flanking Defense: Defend your market share by diversifying into new markets and niche segments (be careful not to stretch yourself too thin, though!).
4. Counter-Offensive Defense: A retaliatory strategy, when a competitor attacks your business, you strike back with your own attack (for example, if a competitor introduces a product you exclusively offer, you could introduce one of their top products, to counter).
Noticing the strengths for your competition will allow you to tune in on what they’re doing to create them. Many businesses, according to studies, will follow patterns and predictably run their businesses marketing. By tracking their actions you will be able to react proactively and also build your defenses before they even launch their attacks.
Find Industry Allies
Social Media has made company interactions more accessible than ever before. And while this can make you feel like your competition is closer than ever, be careful not to make the mistake of thinking that everyone in your industry is direct competitor.
Indirect competitors can actually be a large part of finding your own success in the business world. Indirect competitors include those who are in your industry, but who have a different core market they are trying to reach. Sheena Tahilramani, co-founder of 7 Second Strategies, says to focus your attention on bigger companies who are substantially larger than your own, and can’t cater to smaller orders. “Bigger players are always looking to refer clients that they can’t work with to smaller reputable businesses,” says Tahilramani.“With appropriate communication and mutual respect, a non-competing company in your industry can actually give you that competitive edge.”
Talk About Your Competition
Another advantage to having done a thorough competitor analysis, is that you know ways you are superior to your competition! While it might seem like a good idea to stay away from your competitors, it actually can be beneficial to take your knowledge and point out your strengths.
For instance, if you know that your competition has a poorly developed social media presence on Pinterest, then highlight your own activity that much more! Capture the interest of consumers on that platform by investing time to consistently post, promote pins and interact with your target customers.
Tom Demers, managing partner at Cornerstone Content, suggests mapping out and implementing a marketing and social media posting routine that highlights your strengths (which can be tailored to the information about your competition’s weaknesses, based off of your analysis).
Monday: Focus on why your company excels
Tuesday: Focus on recognition, or an award your company has received
Wednesday: Show a practical use for how to use your service or product
Thursday: Focus on highlighting your strengths based off of “Things Every Smart Company Does”
Friday: Highlight a culmination of the posts you have posted
The journey of competitor analysis doesn’t have a defined end point; it is something that continually requires attention, hard work and dedication. But throughout the process of your hard work it can be encouraging to know that the endless possibilities will point you in the direction of endless growth and improvement for your business.
While taking a look at the competition might not show results, immediately, it’s a practice that will ultimately allow your business to thrive. With the tools we’ve given you, and a mindset for greatness, not only can success be achieved, but the process of getting there will be that much easier.
One of the most important factors, in this journey, is for you to remain flexible and with an open mind. What you find, and how you react is completely unique to you, your business and the target market that are trying to reach. Don’t be afraid to bend, stretch or create your own rules for success. It may, ultimately, be those risks, which allow you to soar farther and higher than your competition.