Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How to Better Understand Competitor's Clients Outside Brick and Mortar

Suppose you don't have competitors with physical locations.  Are there ways to learn more about their clients?  It's not very easy, but there are now tools to help.
  • Read your competitor's blog, if it exists.  The author may discuss recent clients or talk about their best leads.
  • Follow competitors' social media properties, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  Clients may post comments, giving you a look at their situations and demographics.
  • Read reviews on sites such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yelp.  The postings may also provide clues to the competitor's client list.
  • Are competitors attending and networking at leads groups?  Listen to their "commercials" for mentions of good qualified leads.
  • Finally, search for your competitor with Google or Bing, especially for articles where the competitor's business is discussed.  
Take good notes of what you find.  Over time a composite image will be revealed of your competitor's clients.  And analysts like me can help identify trends and patterns.  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

With Your Own Eyes

Almost all businesses struggle with competitive intelligence.  But small businesses have a tougher time with limited resources.  But even the most cash-strapped business owner can gain valuable insights about competition with creativity.  I've always thought the best information comes through one's own eyes.

For brick and mortar competition, there's nothing like the "big sit."  Watch the kinds of customers who patronize competitors and record basic data in a notebook.  What kinds of people are they?  what kind of traffic is generated at peak times and days?  How do they compare to your own customers?  Perhaps an employee, family member or friend can help you gather data from some randomly selected days and times.  A few hours' worth of observations a month can speak volumes about the competition.

And don't forget "mystery shopping".  In-site visits, telephone inquiries and interviews with known customers can shed light on service quality, pricing, menu of products and services, and so much more.  Strapped for time?  Market Tune Up can do the looking for you!

Suppose you are a service provider who works from home?  I'll share some ideas about competitive intelligence gathering tomorrow!