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How SMBs Can Conduct a Thorough Competitive Market Evaluation




How SMBs Can Conduct a Competitive Market Analysis



 

Staying ahead of your competitors requires constant vigilance. It's not a one-and-done process. It involves a thorough and insightful competitive market analysis. Depending on how dynamic your industry is, an analysis should be undertaken anywhere from every other quarter to once a year. By understanding competitors' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you can fine-tune your marketing strategies to gain a competitive edge. And this process is not just for large corporations. It's important for SMBs as well. However, conducting a competitive analysis requires more than a cursory glance at rival brands. Tangelo Media delves into the most thorough way to perform a comprehensive and actionable evaluation.

 

Define Your Objectives

Before diving into the competitive landscape, it's essential to clarify the objectives. What specific insights are you seeking? Are you looking to identify gaps in the market, benchmark your performance against competitors, or uncover new opportunities for differentiation? By defining clear objectives, you can tailor your analysis to focus on the most relevant metrics and insights.

 

Identify Direct and Indirect Competitors

Begin by identifying your direct and indirect competitors. Direct competitors offer similar products or services to the same target market. In contrast, indirect competitors may serve different needs but still compete for the same consumer dollars. Or they might offer a varied product or service but one that could still solve the customer's need. To identify your top competitors, put yourself into the persona of your target audience. How would they go about finding a solution? Try a Google search for your business type and location and look for a mix of companies that sell something similar to you and address the same (or similar) target audience. You should look at established companies and emerging players in the market, so don't stop at only those well-known competitors who are ranking higher in search results. Just because they're not at the top of Google's search results, it doesn't mean they aren't targeting your audience in other ways. Tools like market research reports, industry publications, and social media monitoring based on specific hashtags can help identify other competitors.

 

Analyze Competitor Product or Service Offerings

Once you've identified your competition, delve into their products, services, and value propositions. What unique features or benefits do they offer? How do they position themselves in the market? Assess their pricing strategies, distribution channels, and customer service initiatives. Understanding what sets them apart can inform your own product development, pricing decisions, and marketing messaging. You can use tools like surveys to enhance your evaluation.

 

Evaluate Marketing Strategies

Examine the marketing tactics employed by your competitors across various channels. This includes their website, social media and email marketing campaigns, advertising, and content marketing initiatives. Pay attention to the tone, messaging, and imagery used in their communications. What platforms do they prioritize, and how do they engage with their audience? Do they use influencers? Identify strengths and gaps in their approach to inform your own marketing strategy.

 

Assess Social Media Presence and SEO Performance

In today's digital marketplace, a solid online presence is crucial. Conduct keyword research to understand their SEO strategy and identify opportunities to improve your search engine rankings. Analyze their social media profiles, follower engagement, and original content creation, such as blogs and whitepapers, to gauge their effectiveness in building brand awareness and driving engagement.

 

Gain Valuable Understanding from Customer Feedback and Reviews

Customer feedback offers a goldmine of insights into how your product or service is viewed, and it also helps you identify your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. Monitor their online reviews, social media comments, and customer forums to understand what customers like and dislike about competitor products or services. Pay attention to recurring themes and pain points raised by customers. This feedback can help you identify areas for improvement and differentiate your offerings in the market.

 

Stay Up to Date and Iterate

As we said before, competitive analysis is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process. Markets evolve, competitors change their offerings or merge or acquire other players, and consumer preferences shift over time. Monitor your competitive landscape, track industry trends, and adapt your strategies accordingly. Regularly revisit your analysis to identify new competitors, assess changes in their strategy, and refine your approach to stay ahead of the curve.

 

Summary

Conducting a competitive market analysis is crucial in shaping your business strategy and gaining a competitive advantage. By defining clear objectives, identifying competitors, analyzing their offerings and marketing strategies, and staying updated on market dynamics, businesses can uncover valuable insights. This information can inform your decision-making and help you gain a competitive advantage. If it's not a process you have the bandwidth to tackle in-house, consider hiring an agency to help you.


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