How to get to know your competitors for a competitive edge
We ask how to get to know your competitors for a competitive edge. Creating a winning strategy requires an understanding of your competitive environment. However, simply understanding your competitors only gives you a partial view of the competition. What you need is a holistic view of your competitive environment. And of course, to do this, you need to know something about each competitor.

So much more than just looking at your competitors
But Competitive Intelligence is so much more than just looking at your competitors. And it’s more than taking action to beat them too. It’s more than patting yourself on the back when you find you are doing better than them. We have seen this happen in the past. A client spending cash with us, we find brilliant insight with lots of future-facing actions to do. What interested them was that their competitor’s sales conversation rate was worse than there’s. Good to know stuff, not actual “need to know”. It is human nature to do this, and there is no harm in it. The problem is when nothing progresses from this back-slapping, and no action is taken from the isolated insight.

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence is the finding, sorting and critical analysis of information. To make sense of what’s happening and why. Predict what’s going to happen and give the options to help you control the outcome. Competitive Intelligence offers more certainty, competitive advantage, insight, growth & security.
Whole competitive environment
Competitive Intelligence is all about the whole environment you are competing. Individual competitors are just a single part of that environment. Granted, the noisy and perhaps the most annoying part of it. But still just a single aspect of your corporate battlefield. However, looking at competitors together as one will give a better sense of what’s happening. It will provide you with the bigger picture of your competitive environment. And it will allow you to gain an early warning of positive and negative changes in your industry. Then will enable you to take action to get ahead of the curve or even reduce the impact of the situation.

We’ve just said that there is more to Competitive Intelligence than competitors. So we now proceed to write an article associated with competitors! Our best-performing articles are about competitors. So, maybe we’re giving the audience what they want. Perhaps we are the Ed Sheeran of the Competitive Intelligence industry? We hope not, and to be fair, each report we do is different. Anyway, back to the subject.

A holistic view of your competitive environment
A holistic view of your competitive environment needs you to know your competitors. Doing scenario planning or wargaming, you need to understand how they think and react.

So get to know your competitors inside out. Not just a compare and contrast back slapping or ass-kicking exercise. But look at what actions you can do to do way better than them.

To create n holistic view of all your potential competitors and think about it in terms of their:

Standard business metrics – the numbers and current and future performance
Future Funding potential and routes
Business models they work to
Partners they work with. Not just who but what type of partner
What their products and services are,
What kinds of whole product offerings
Are they offering, because they have that information,
Then you can go deeper by asking:

What industry are they competing in?
What niche do they operate in?
Their focus is concentrated on which part of your industry?
What dont do they focus on?
What are their strategic objectives?
Do their goals and strategic objectives reveal what happens in the real world?
Customers, products and markets
They need to find ways of standing out from the crowd. Differentiate their approach from all the other options that are available to customers.

What products do they offer?
What products do they not provide?
What clients do they prospect?
What markets do you think they are in?
Who would want their product?
Who are their ideal customers?
How and why do they choose to buy from them?
How do their customers make buying decisions?
Develop a deep understanding of the common characteristics of their best prospects

Why do they use them?
What are their unique value proposition and unfair advantage?
Customer journey
How are customers going to find them?

What is their market entry strategy?
Understand their most effective ways of how they are reaching their prospects. (your customers and prospects),
How do they convert them into customers (taking from you or others) and satisfy their needs?
What key partnerships and joint ventures are they involved in?
How to Get to Know Your Competitors
There’s a common thread, especially in the tech industry. CEOs can think that beating the competition is simple. It’s just a matter of building great feature-rich products. With industry changes, various tech solutions are becoming more mainstream and accepted. Competing is so much more than super new widgets or APIs. And their tech is getting replaced quicker by new cutting edge tech. They realise that the answer is not the answer. Not anymore.

How to get to know your competitors for a competitive edge
This article asked how to get to know your competitors for a competitive edge. In conclusion, it is crucial to have a holistic view of your competitive environment. This means knowing something about each competitor. And not just their size and market share. By doing your research, you can uncover new opportunities and threats you may not have otherwise known about. Additionally, look at the industry trends and the competitors entering the market. So, get out there and start digging!

Author's Bio: 

Octopus Competitive Intelligence consulting agency