Helping your small businesses to win and grow, an introduction to competitor analysis

If you are following my approach with the intention of writing your own strategic marketing plan, once you’ve established your objectives and you know what success will look like for you, you can begin to consider where you fit in amongst your rivals.  Who else might be competing for the same pound as you?   That’s why I’ve chosen to illustrate this piece with the analogy of the lion and the cheetah; they are clearly two distinct creatures, but they’re competitors in nature.  They both seek the same prey, namely, mammals.  Marketing theory teaches that there are 3 classic types of strategy for outwitting your competitors:
1. Differentiation – where the product offers a unique benefit to the customer, which cannot be easily replicated.  A differentiation strategy will be founded upon creating a strong brand identity and developing loyal customers.  Within my analogy, the cheetah represents a differentiation strategy.  Thanks to its unusual ability for speed, it can outrun lions and it can hunt down the speedier mammals which might escape the lions.
2. Cost-leadership – where the business determines to reduce their costs to give themselves an unfair advantage.  Driving costs down does not necessarily mean that the business will deliver the cheapest products.  Indeed, they might quietly enjoy the benefit of higher profits.  It is likely that a strategy of cost-leadership will only be pursued by large companies which are in a position to dominate and intimidate their suppliers
3. Focus – The business which follows a focussed strategy does not aim to serve the whole market but concentrates its efforts on a specific segment.  I will address the topic of segmentation and targeting in a separate blogpost
Once you have identified your strategy in relation to your competitors, you will be in a better position to decide what message you need to share and to whom.

If you would like to explore your position in your market please have a look at the getting ready to win checklist in the resource centre of the website or contact me [email protected] and look out for the next marketing clinic event.