How to Identify Key Competitors in Marketing

Business leader One of the first steps in developing a successful marketing strategy is identifying and analyzing your fellow competitors. You can do this through detailed market research, including surveys, Internet searches and going through the sales process with another company. If you do not know who your competitors are, it is likely that someone else can offer a competitive advantage, for example, a better website or the same product at a lower price. After you have identified your competitors, you must stay current on their offers and products, in order to stay competitive in your business. This article will tell you how to identify key competitors in marketing.  
Take stock of the main product or products you sell. You will compete for consumers with other companies on these products. List the products in a column on a spreadsheet and piece of paper.  
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    Pretend you are a consumer. Search for those products using a phone book, an Internet search on more than 1 major search engine, on Amazon and through social media sites. Write 5 to 10 names of competing businesses in the rows on your paper or spreadsheet.
    • Looking in the phone book may help you identify local competitors. Looking on social media accounts will help you to identify new, emerging competitors.
    • It is important to search both locally and nationally. With the rise in the global economy, there may be a company in another country that offers the most similar product to your own.
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    Identify your competition in your industry, your market and your strategic group. You can establish industry competition based on your service, such as supplying foreign tea imports. You can establish your market based on tea sellers in your area, and you can establish your strategic groups as all stores offering the same prices and marketing strategies to sell their tea.
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    Ask consumers in your area who they buy from or which services they use. Word of mouth is often the best way to tell the success of other businesses. Ask friends and family, and then consider employing a market research firm to survey a wide array of people.
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    Take note of any competitive advantage these businesses have, once you have your list of competitors. Some may offer promotions, bundles, free shipping, extra services and more. You should have a good idea of whether these competitors offer exactly the same thing, or a slightly different product.
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    Go through the sales process with these competitors, to determine how their entire sales process works. In some businesses, such as retail merchandise, this will be easier than others. If you do not have the option to analyze the competition from website through sale, then you should read reviews and peruse the Better Business Bureau website.
    • If you are looking at local companies that offer the same thing, you may be able to call them and inquire about their sales practices. Try not to mislead them into thinking you are a buyer, as this is considered a somewhat unethical business practice.
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    Sign up to receive your competitors' catalogs, mailings or e-newsletters. It is important to be well versed on your competition at all times, since businesses are always changing and growing. If you can mention what other companies offer, and how your business does it better, it is likely to help during the sales process.
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    List your strengths and weaknesses with each of the competitors you have researched. Be honest with how well you compete against your competition, so that you can strengthen your weaknesses and thus your marketing strategy.
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    Define your competitive advantage. Ask if there are any features that you offer that the competitors you have found do not possess. You will want to feature this in your marketing strategy.
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    Search again for companies that may offer that same competitive advantage. Before you begin developing print and online advertising campaigns that tout your advantage, you want to make sure you are the only business, or original business, providing that practice.
  Edited by Blink44AVA, Chris