Are you 007? Spying on Your Competitors
One of the key elements of a good USP is that it’s unique. It offers something nobody else in the marketplace is offering. In order to come up with something unique, you need to know exactly what your competitors are offering so that you can offer something that’s more attractive or valuable for your target market. Study your competitors’ products and strategies so that you can create something that really stands out.
Also remember, don’t pay too much attention to your competitors so that you get stalled from taking action.
Spend time researching your competitors’ products. If possible, buy them and use them yourself. In particular, look at how they meet (or don’t meet) the needs of your customers. Stay up-to-date on each new product line your competitor introduces. It also helps to understand how your market feels about your competitors’ products, so keep your eyes and ears out for any mentions of them.
Study Their Marketing
Gather your competitors’ marketing materials and study them. Look at which benefits they are emphasizing to their customers. Make sure you pay attention to the specific language and communication methods your competitors use to relate to their customers. Is it more casual or more formal? Do they focus more on visuals or audio materials?
Take a look at the channels your competitors use for marketing also, since that’s where your customers are. What different marketing methods are your competitors using in each channel? You’re going to try to do something different with your message, so you need to have a very clear understanding of what your competitors are already saying. The last thing you want to be is a copycat.
And don’t forget to look at the keywords your competitors are targeting since that will show you exactly which search terms you might have to compete for, or which ones you want to avoid.
Understand the Relationship with Their Customers
Find out what your competitors’ customers think about them. Look at websites that have customer reviews of their products. Search for the company’s name on related forums. You can often turn up information by simply searching your competitorís name in Google along with related terms like ‘great deal’ or ‘terrible.’ Especially when customers are dissatisfied, you can discover areas where you can excel.
Customer Service Considerations
Even if you offer similar products in a similar way, customer service is one area in which it’s easy to excel over the competition. When researching your competitors, pay attention to how they treat their customers and how their customers feel about it. If you have better customer service, this is an incredible edge.
Your Competitors’ Report Card
After you’ve gathered all of your information and checked out your competitors everywhere possible, add up all the data. Create a ‘report card’ for your competitor that shows where they excel and where they fall short. Take a look at your strengths and weaknesses and compare. Your company’s natural strengths in the areas where you excel without necessarily trying to offer the best starting point for creating your USP. For example, if you’re naturally faster at what you do than the competition, this is a good point to emphasize.
This type of competitive research used to be time consuming and expensive, but now it’s incredibly fast and easy, because most of it can be done through the Internet. Find your competition everywhere you can online and follow everything they do. You don’t need to pay money to conduct surveys or focus groups. With social media and online forums, you can simply find your competitors and be a fly on the wall. You can sit back and observe, and the market will tell you everything you need to know.
Yes, you can be your own business 007! Until next time, have a great day!