To plan your analysis, ask questions such as: 1. Who are your competitors and which should you focus on?
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Those that pose the greatest threat? (current and/or potential) New entrants that need to be profiled? Are there competitors outside your sector that need to be reviewed? Are there competitors in other countries that are relevant to your analysis? Do you need to include those that only indirectly compete with you?
An unduly broad or excessively narrow definition of your competition will compromise the effectiveness of your analysis. 2. What are each of their strengths and weaknesses? What are their opportunities and threats?
What is their competitive advantage?
How different is your offer, to that of your competitors?
How big are they? Are they growing or shrinking? Why?
What is their market share? (revenues and volumes). What are their sales by market? By brand? 6. What is their reputation in the market place? (trade and consumer) Why?
What is the profile of their senior management?
What are their corporate objectives and marketing objectives?
What is their corporate strategy? Their marketing strategy? Their market position? How are they likely to respond to your corporate and/or marketing strategy?
What about media spend? By brand?
When and where do they advertise? Why? What offers do they make? Why? 10. What is their digital strategy? Does this give them a competitive advantage?
11. Who are their customers? Do you both target the same market segments?
How good are their retention levels? And customer satisfaction levels? How well are they meeting the needs of your target audience? 12. How successfully do they promote themselves?
13. How have they set up their operations to meet the needs of particular customer segments?
14. Where are they vulnerable?
15. What trends are they following?
16. Who are their key suppliers?
17. What is their distribution strategy?
18. What is their pricing policy?
Use e-alerts to keep track of them online.
Sources of information and data: 1. Talk to your customers, your sales team, your intermediaries, media and trade body contacts.
Carry out research within your marketing intelligence resources.
Some of the main uses of your analysis 1. Your corporate strategy.
Your marketing strategy.
Your marketing plan.
New product development
Guidance on how to analyse your market and get market intelligence.
Use a marketing audit to analyse the external and internal dimensions of your market.
Image courtesy of Lee Coursey
What questions do you need to answer to complete the required analysis? For example: 1. Define your market.
How big is it? Is it growing? How does your market work? What are its characteristics? 2. What are the needs of your market? (customer needs, intermediary needs, other stakeholder needs)
What are the market trends and forecasts? What are the critical issues?
What are the most profitable/effective distribution channels?
How are costs changing? What are you suppliers/intermediaries saying
Who are your major competitors?
Where are the market's dominant brands in their lifecycle?
Where is your brand/product positioned in your market?
What is your competitive position?
10. How does your segmentation strategy reflect this market position?
11. How attractive is your market to the business?
What opportunities does it offer? What threats might there be? How are these related to the strengths and weaknesses of your company.
12. What other questions do you need to be asking. For example:
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If your market is growing, why is it growing (or declining)? Its profitability? The industry...