The keyword in this phrase gives us a hint - “competitive". The competitive marketing analysis is an in-depth study of your business's competition and the markets available to you in order to ensure your advertising and public relations budget dollars are spent where they will be most effective. In order to perform strategic planning for your firm's future, it is imperative to know who the competition is and exactly what you are up against to ensure that your market share is sufficient for your firm's future. Increasing market share is the goal of any competitive marketing analysis.
Identifying the Competition
Who is the competition and how can they be located? Since you know exactly what products or services your firm provides, you can locate your competition by identifying other producers or providers in the same market that you supply. This is not a difficult task; it does, however, require some research. Competing suppliers are not hiding; they advertise just as your firm does.
The yellow pages of your local telephone book can be the starting point for competition identification. Research the Internet searching for press releases and publications which use descriptions similar to your products or services. Government agencies, Dunn and Bradstreet, business magazine features or employment of a private research firm can reveal a great deal about your competition and how they operate.
Shop Your Competition
If you want to know first-hand about your competition, shop with them. For example, if you are in the restaurant business, eat at local restaurants that are similar in price range and clientele to your establishment. If you are a plumbing business, have someone contact the competition and learn prices of service calls and specific products. Knowing as much about the competition as possible allows your marketing analysis to include details rather than generalities.
In order to truly analyze your firm's strengths and weaknesses, you need unbiased sources willing to compare your firm and the competition. You can employ market researchers, use surveys, form focus groups to obtain completely unbiased opinions on what you are doing right and wrong and how your competition stack up to your business.
Measure your strengths and ensure these strengths are maintained or improved upon. Identify your weaknesses and create a plan to improve those areas significantly. After you implement your plan, go back to your unbiased researchers and obtain another comparison to ensure that your implementation of your strategic plan has been effective.
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