Three of the most common questions in competitive intelligence
However different from each other our clients are, they often want similar information. Building a competitor profile can involve drilling down into some incredible detail, and asking a lot of questions. However, most competitor profiles have the following three questions at their core.
What are our competitors charging?
It is essential to know what the competition is charging for its products and/or services. This intelligence is useful for setting your own price point, leading a successful sales pitch, or undercutting your competitors.
This is a question most often asked by our B2B clients; and technology and software is an area that really likes to get this information nailed. B2C clients also need this intelligence; however it is more straightforward to come by.
We look at this in detail. We look at the specifics of pricing – how much, what is the unit of pricing, what are optional line items. We find out what discounts are available (such as bulk discounts, or long-term discounts), and how much these are. Is there a pricing tier system? Are there additional costs, for example for professional services? We build a complete picture of what the competition is charging, enabling our clients to take a strategic approach to price setting, pitching and negotiation.
How is the competitor organised?
Why is it important to know about your competitor’s organisation? It is a great way of assessing their strengths and weaknesses. Have they got a strong sales team, a weak technical support team, or too few QA employees? How do they compare with you? Can they take on larger projects/orders than you? Assessing several competitors gives you a good idea of where your organisation fits in.
So, areas for research here include number of employees by functional area, how many have specialist skills, how they are structured, and across how many locations. We look into a company’s budget and how it is allocated internally across teams.
We look into competitor organisations using both primary and secondary research. We talk with current and former employees and recruitment agencies. Online, LinkedIn or resume databases can be good ways of building up a profile of the competitor’s organisation.
What do competitors say with their marketing?
In order to plan your own strategic marketing campaign, you need to know what’s going on around you. What are your competitors up to?
First, what is their go-to marketing message? How successfully do they communicate their message – and how do they measure this? Do they get the right response from their audience? We find out how they position themselves against their competitors, which include our clients.
There are several ways to gather marketing intelligence. Obvious secondary sources will be the competitor’s available marketing collateral. We conduct primary research by talking with both target audiences and marketing specialists and agencies. More narrowly, using a web archive site such as Wayback Machine is a good way of seeing how their marketing has developed over time and helps gauge in which direction the competitor is moving.
There are many more questions to answer when building a competitor profile. However, the three questions above are an excellent starting point. They give you an idea of how to price your product, how to market it, and how the structural strength and weaknesses of your organisation compares with others. That’s a solid start.
We are always here to help you answer these questions, and any other intelligence that will to help give you that competitive edge. To find out how to find out more – please contact us.