Competitor research is necessary for the success of your product launch. Performing proper research can help you in various scopes of your development and launch. Pricing, sales, customer needs and wants, and market research has questions that are answerable through looking at your competitors. Here are 3 ways to do competitor research I’ve found work great to collect useful information.
Using Google Tools
Google is powerful. Using Google search can give you a ton of useful information about your competitors. You can find websites, product descriptions, reviews, social media, BBB reviews, the list goes on. Start your research here. Record as much useful information as you can. Then go back and Google your data to narrow down your research further.
Another great tool Google has is Google Alerts. Google Alerts enables email notifications when relevant content is created based on your search. It will alert and send you a link about blog posts, job openings, press releases, news articles, etc. Giving this a couple of weeks while you perform your research, and beyond, provides you real-time news about your competitors.
Social media has become a must in product and service marketing. Utilize it for your competitor research. Each platform has made it very easy to research competitors if they follow the rules and have company pages. Sproutsocial wrote an excellent post about it. You can get deep into your competitor’s operations, customer satisfaction, community participation, marketing style, content, and more.
Facebook now includes information on ads the company has used for paid reach and boosted posts. This data gives insight into specific products and their marketing strategy through social media. Are they using video? Do they have an extensive campaign? Are they still working on brand awareness? Doing detailed research on ads can tell you a lot about how they’re products are doing and what you need to do about yours.
You can also get a good look into customer satisfaction with competitors, or the market as a whole. Thorough competitor research will show you the size of the market and what percent of market share you need to be successful. If you have a vast market, you’ll do fine with 5%. If you are selling poodle nail polish, you might want 30% and over.
Looking through your competitor’s social media comments give insight into their customer satisfaction with products or services. Here’s the best part, if you see overwhelming complaints about the competitor, jump on it and promote your product to that target market. You can write a list of where their customers are unhappy and improve on those key points. Is it customer service? Product quality? Delivery? Identify your competition’s failures and improve on it. A similar product with higher satisfaction will sell better than the alternative.
“Buy” From Them
Go right to the source and get the info you need. Build a list of questions that will help you see what your competitor is doing, learn about their products, sales process, and other critical business points. Talk to their salespeople. When they think a sale is coming, they’re more likely to answer your questions to persuade you to buy. Avoid unethical tactics like promising to buy if you aren’t. Ask questions about the information you need. If possible, have a collected sheet of data on the product and ask questions to clarify what you want to know like pricing, warranty, and customer satisfaction policies.
Perform the beginning stages of competitor research to help develop your product using existing and easy to access tools. It is an essential step to ensuring the validity of your product as well as the demand. Not every product needs to be new. You can be hugely successful beyond your competitors by improving the product, process, or the people. You can read more about competitor research here.