Understanding Competition Through Market Research

Understanding Competition Through Market Research

Market research can be a daunting term for many small business owners, but it is a crucial factor in a successful business. Market research provides valuable insight that reduces risks, predicts industry trends, and helps you see overlooked opportunities. The following tips can help you understand your market and competitors, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and uncover possible opportunities.

Use your resources

Go beyond checking out your competitor’s website and a google search, although that is exactly where you should start. Check out some of the resources provided by Google, like Google Trends or Google Alerts. You can get alerts for your business as well as your competition. You can also check government or public records regarding your competition.

Social Media

Use social media to your advantage. Customers will be more open to criticism or praise on social media. Not only can you check what others are saying about your competitors, but also see how they are handling their social media accounts. In today’s marketing world, having a great social media presence is extremely important. Also, Facebook offers a service that allows you to “watch” other pages similar to yours. In Facebook’s own words, “Pages to Watch allows admins to create a list of Pages similar to their own and compare the performance of their Page with that of the businesses they care about.”

Surveys

Your customers are one of the best resources you can use to identify your competition and see who really stands out. You could ask them to complete a survey at checkout or when filling out paperwork with questions like, “Where else would you purchase services like ours?” or “Where do you buy these brands?” You can derive important information from your customers.

Mystery Shop

Most small businesses are aware of their competition, especially if you combine that with being in a small town. So it might be a good idea to team up with a fellow small business owner to check out each other’s competition. By doing this, each company has a neutral third party perspective without giving away your intentions to the competition. This could work even if your competitor doesn’t have a physical store. You could fill out online inquiry forms or email/call them, which is a great way to check out their customer service.

Check in with suppliers

Although your supplier might not give you specifics, you can ask how many units were ordered and deduct your own conclusions, which will give you a better understanding of your competitor.

Ask a professional

Finding time to do these things while running a business can be difficult. If you simply do not have time or if you just need help, asking a professional to help is the best route.

Once you have completed your research, look for ways to improve your own business. Are there certain demographics not being reached? Try making a marketing campaign for them. Is your competitor’s social media presence wonderful or somewhat lacking? Learn from their triumphs or failures and improve your own social media. No matter what you discover, market research is crucial to improving your business.

If you have any questions or need help with conducting your own market research, give us a call at 662-869-8665.