August 31,   2005
Volume I   Issue 14

Competitive Analysis

What is it? How do you do it? Why should you do it?

The challenge is to do
actionable competitive analysis.

It’s easy enough to do customer satisfaction surveys, or brand awareness
studies.  You can also have your marketing team build dossiers on your
competitors, listing their facilities, products, financial results and more, and
have your sales team collect information on competitors’ prices, service
levels, promotional efforts, and so forth.

Some of your best market intelligence is in the heads of your sales people.
You can have them all write daily sales reports and have your marketing
people collect them, summarize them, cross reference them in a large data

And you can include the results of the benchmarking work you’ve done
since reading the last issue of MarketIntellibits.

Or, you can stop and take a deep breath. The things described above are all
expensive, so yes, take a deep breath before you go further.

All of the things mentioned above have elements that have merit, but
obviously you’re not going to suddenly launch a massive initiative to do all
of these things.  So start with this question: What do you need to know?

That’s a tough question. It really is. So start with the basics. The objective of
competitive analysis, like everything else you do in business, is to improve
the bottom line. So start there.

First, determine if you need to play offense or defense. Are you where you
want to be, and need to make sure you stay there?  Or, is there a gap you
need to close? You may well have some of both, some markets or
segments where you’re winning, and others where you’re losing.

Where you are winning, make sure you understand why, and build on that,
and protect it. Is your profitability superior because your customers pay you
more? Is it because of your service or your product?  Keep improving
because they may be gaining on you.

Or, do you need to play offense?  Where do you need to gain market share?
Who do you need to take it from? Why haven’t you taken it already? Do you
need new customers, or do you need more business with existing
customers? Do you need new products, or do you need to improve your
mix? Do you need to rationalize, and get rid of some products, or even some

Then, how will you achieve your goals? Why haven’t you done it already?

You may not be able to answer all these questions. If so, that will tell you
what intelligence you need.

Then, put yourself in your competitor’s shoes, and ask yourself one more
question: what is the one thing, that if your competitors knew it about your
company, it would give them a decisive advantage?

MarketIntell can help you develop and manage an effective competitive
intelligence function, including market research benchmarking, and just
deciding what you need..

Click here to contact Jack Miller by email, or call  203 925 0326.

© 2005 MarketIntell. All rights reserved.

MarketIntellibits  is published semi-monthly  by MarketIntell,  a  Market
Intelligence consultancy founded by Jack Miller, a long time sales and
marketing executive in the paper industry.    

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