5 items tagged "competitive strategy"

  • 6 Steps to create a winning market entry strategy

    Market entry strategies

    market entry strategy is a key tool for clarifying what you aim to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it when entering a new market. While an export plan tends to focus on just a few products or services, your market entry strategy will provide you with a roadmap for your whole business.

    A typical market entry strategy can take six to 18 months to implement. That timeline is well worth the effort as it will ensure you have the best distribution channels in place, that you are launching the right product and that your goals align with those of your stakeholders.

    Here are five steps, recommended by Carl Gravel (Director International Expansion at BDC) you can follow to build a winning market entry strategy and start exporting into previously unknown territory.

    1. Set clear goals

    Be specific about what you want to achieve in your new market, including the level of sales you can expect to reach. Keep referring back to these goals as you flesh out your strategy to help you stay on track and confirm that your opportunity, products/services and overall business goals are aligned.

    2. Research your market

    Use every means at your disposal to get to know your new market—including going there in person. Gravel suggests attending trade shows as a participant or exhibitor to meet people, learn about the competition and make business contacts in the area. Market research is a specialism. Especially when it comes to selecting and entering new markets.

    When getting to know your market, it’s important that you learn about it in every dimension—not just business

    -wise but also socially, culturally and politically. If you’re entering a region with a different language or cultural norms than Canada, think about how you’ll communicate with key contacts.

    Explore all the rules that could affect your product and how you produce and deliver it. You’ll also need to understand your labelling requirements to ensure your packaging complies with local regulations. Learn about different distribution channels, too. At this stage, says Gravel, it’s advisable to seek information and counsel from embassies, consulates and industry associations.

    3. Study the competition

    A detailed competitive analysis based on your research and visits to the target market will help you make key decisions—for example, if you need to modify your product or service to customize it for that market. Competitor analysis also is a specialism not every organisation posesses in house.


    Gravel says most businesses underestimate the degree of competition existing in new markets. Getting the expert advice of a consultant www.Hammer-intel.comcan help clarify the challenges.

    4. Choose your mode of entry

    There are many ways to enter a new market. You can use the services of a distributor or agent located there. You might become a franchisee or acquire an existing business. You can even construct an entirely new brick-and-mortar facility.

    Gravel says in his experience a lot of companies start by going into the U.S. first—and most choose to partner with an existing distributor. If you choose that path, make sure your strategy includes a unique value proposition for the distributor. Your partner will want to understand what’s in it for them, and how your product or service is different enough to stand out in the marketplace, but not so different that buyers won’t understand what it is.

    5. Figure out your financing needs

    Find out if you'll need to get any financing to support your export venture. You may also want to get insurance that protects your company against losses when a customer cannot pay. EDC offers credit insurance that can help you avoid cash flow issues when an international customer fails to pay.

    6. Develop the strategy document

    Once you’ve worked out the details of your strategy, you’ll be ready to write it out. Once created, this document will be your blueprint going forward, detailing your goals, research findings, contacts, budgets, major action items and timelines, and how you’ll monitor and evaluate your success on an ongoing basis.

    “Be as structured as possible,” says Gravel. “Once you have a plan, it is easier to follow the action items and not be overwhelmed.”

    He also advises having your accountant, lawyer and an external specialist review your strategy. You want to ensure you haven’t missed something that will prevent you from entering the market or require you to pull back after you get there.


    Source: Business Development Bank of Canada

    Delivered by Hammer, market intelligence (www.Hammer-intel.com)


  • Competition is not only there to beat! We can learn from them as well

    learning from the competitionOur competition isn’t just there to beat. They can also teach us how to get better at what we are doing so that we can beat them at their own game. I see my competition as a bar set for me to jump over.

    In the business world, anything goes. While some people like to think of scoping out and spying on the competition as a bad thing, I love looking at everything they are doing through a spy glass. This gives me insights into what's working and I should focus my time on and what isn't working and I shouldn't waste my time.

    Here’s what my competition is teaching me about productivity across various aspects of their company that's helping change my business for the better:

    1. Content.

    While I never copy my competition's content, I read what they have, if they use a call to action, how they approach what is shared and how often they update their content.

    Look to see if your competition is using video, infographics or some other type of content that resonates with your shared audience. It’s also good to know where they are sharing this content to see if there are any places I'm missing opportunities to add or share information. Reading the competition’s content showed me how to say it differently. Had I not looked at the competition, it would have taken me longer to shape my content strategy. I avoided misstepped that would have cost me prospects or customers.

    I recently found out that my competitor has a piece of content that ranks well. They attract nearly half their organic traffic to their site each month from one term. I created a much better version of this and push it hard. I don't look at this as bad or negative. I see this as a big opportunity to give users an even better experience.

    2. Online marketing.

    To see if my marketing strategy would work, I considered what the competition was using as their primary messages in terms of a value proposition and the visuals they used to communicate that. I didn’t want to copy it, but I wasn’t going to do anything so different that the audience would be confused. I tracked my competition’s online campaigns on various sites and paid advertising platforms like Google AdWords to see what they were saying.

    Kompyte and Perch are new tools that make it easier to stay on top of what the competition is doing. By using these I speed up how long it takes me to formulate the differentiation position that dictates the messages I select.

    Related: How to Compete in a Crowded Marketplace

    3. Search.

    By looking at their website and overall content platforms, I compiled a list of keywords the competition uses. I took these keywords to search engines to determine if the rankings they received were better than my own. When they were, I compared the keyword terms and added those to my online presence, including website, landing pages, pictures and headers. 

    Available analytics tools from ComScore and others yield deep insights into the results of what your competition is doing. This has changed how I approach search engine optimization and resulted in a higher ranking for my company.

    4. Customer engagement.

    I learned what works effectively with my target audience by observing what the competition did on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Rather than experimenting with the type of social media content, time of day and frequency, I saw how their followers and fans responded. This saved me many trial runs and resources.

    In the long run, I approached customers and prospects differently than if I did not consider what the competition was doing. The result was conversations where previously there had been silence.

    5. Brand management.

    Since I had never developed or managed a brand before, the competition provided a baseline for me to learn how the process works, how to define brand attributes and then how to use this image to craft and manage the reputation process. It also guided what I could do with my own brand to set it apart and provide more value, yet included the attributes that our shared audience wanted.

    6. User experience.

    Reading the comments and feedback that the competitions’ customers provided in social media, blog posts and forums is an invaluable source of intelligence about a shared audience. I even asked a few questions on these posts to get the competitions’ customers to explain how they felt about their experience with the competition. This told me what type of user experience they are looking to develop.

    Related: Don't Declare War. Respect Competitors, and Capitalize on Your Own Strengths.

    7. Product development.

    To shape the type of solutions my business offers small business owners and companies, I tried what the competition offered. My product development became more productive when I could see what features were working and what were not. Then, I exploited these differences and added my own spin. Studying the competition triggered new ideas about how to approach development, making it easier to pinpoint where and how changes in my product could propel it farther ahead.

    8. Social media.

    Studying how the competition used social media saved considerable resources. I started looking at what sites they used and discovered the results of those efforts in terms of fans and followers. I also considered what they were doing on professional sites including LinkedIn to see how they presented themselves professionally. When I tried the social media sites the competition was not using I found they were missing some key platforms, giving me an advantage.

    9. Research.

    My competition did the heavy lifting for me when it came to target markets and state of the industry. They did not do all the research and hand me a white paper, but using Google Alerts to keep tabs on the competition provides an ongoing stream of information about their strategy, performance and any pivots. This can all be discerned from sales letters, email campaigns, press releases and mission statements. This was certainly more productive than creating my strategy in a vacuum and hoping it would meet the market need and beat the competition.

    10. Company culture.

    Although I was not privy to the internal workings of the competitions’ organizations, I did create a more productive team by studying how they defined their culture and addressed values, motivation, training and retention. Their hiring literature and employee programs provided new insights on best practices designed to get the most from my team. That enabled me to design a culture around what I wanted to achieve and put it into place quickly, with few changes afterward. Additional information about hiring practices, benefits and perks helped me provide a more effective way to onboard talent.

    I'm too busy to reinvent the wheel. Everything I observed my competition do shortened my learning curve and sped progress toward what I was trying to achieve.

    I learned from their mistakes and from their processes, ignoring what didn’t work and benchmarking best practices. Scope out your target audience and the overall external environment, but it’s just as important to track the competition.

    Related: What You Need to Know A

    Source: entrepreneur.com, 2016, John Rampton

  • Competitive Strategy – 6 Ways to Enhance Competitive Intelligence from the Salesforce

    Heard-On-The-StreetWe have been developing a new competitive intelligence process for a client. The B2B company wants to better collect, analyze, and disseminate valuable insights on competitive strategy.

    As with many competitive intelligence systems, especially in B2B settings, much of the most timely and otherwise unavailable intelligence will come from the salesforce. Similarly, the salesforce is in one of the best positions to take advantage of competitive intelligence to better position products, value propositions, and offers to customers to stymie competitive strategy. It is vital, however, to ensure the competitive intelligence process is not simply asking for competitive intelligence from salespeople, and then giving it back to them without adding sufficient value.

    6 Ways to Enhance Competitive Intelligence from the Salesforce:

    • To combat this possibility, here are six enhancements to competitive intelligence that originates with the salesforce to deliver new value:
    • Aggregate information from multiple people to provide a view no one individual has in order to see patterns or spot trends.
    • Perform additional and deeper analysis on the raw information to create new understanding.
    • Communicate information to senior leadership that salespeople feel intently, but that is typically lost in the corporate shuffle (i.e., a regional or niche competitor who is not big enough to get corporate-wide attention).
    • Disprove or verify early rumors salespeople have reported to address the word on the street.
    • Exploit the availability of non-sales sources to enhance the raw intelligence and deliver new information to them.
    • Make if more efficient for sales to gather and especially share competitive intelligence with a process that funnels competitive intelligence to them when they need it.

    Source: Brainzooming

  • How to use CI in the right way?

    CI pharma ci competitive intelligence consultants pennside partners c 400In July 2015, Novartis launched its new heart failure drug, Entresto, which Forbes in 2014 predicted would be a blockbuster — with expected sales of $10 billion annually — as the potential market in the US exceeds 5 million people with a heart failure condition. Yet, in the first quarter of 2016 the company sold only $17 million of Entresto in the U.S. market.

    The failure stemmed from resistance in the U.S. by both insurance companies and cardiologists to a new and expensive drug (which costs more than $4,000 a year, compared to pennies a day for existing drugs). Pharmaceutical companies spend millions upon millions preparing meticulous plans for new drug launches – and yet their route-to-market strategies haven’t changed in decades, even though the reality of the market has.

    The really frustrating thing is that so few companies learn from such mistakes; the usual response is “hindsight is 20-20” and the failure is chalked up to bad timing. Maybe a brand manager is moved to a different department, but little else changes – the same consultants are hired, the same “best practices” are pursued – and organization itself rarely actually learns. The failures continue.

    In May of 2015, a food-safety commissioner of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state with 205 million people, was claiming that a package of Nestlé’s popular Maggi noodles had been found to contain seven times the permissible level of lead and had recalled the batch.

    Maggi’s sales accounted for quarter of Nestlé’s $1.6 billion sales in India. It has been one of the most powerful and trusted brands in that market and held a commanding 63% market share. The event that started in Uttar Pradesh rolled like an earthquake over Nestle and resulted in five-month ban on Maggi. Nestle lost $277 million in sales and paid $70 million in a recall. The damage to the brand name has been even larger — half a billion dollars. Paul Bulcke, Nestle’s CEO, was quoted by Fortune as saying, “This is a case where you can be so right and yet so wrong… We live in an ambiguous world. We have to be able to cope with that.”

    Nestlé was not able to cope with that – but a competitor was. Baba Ramdev, the yoga guru owner of the fastest-growing local consumer goods company in India, launched a competing product, advertised as “healthier” than Nestlé’s and at a lower price point than Maggi.

    We must start to think differently about how business, management, and strategic intelligence works. What companies today need isn’t meticulous plans, but to constantly reassess the business and its markets and competitors. In other words, the goal for strategic intelligence is not to collect market information to make plans, but to use that information to generate insights that in turn support ever-changing perspectives. Eventually, these perspectives may result in action. Or not. The test of a capability is not in management action but in management learning. Avoiding a $500 million mistake is surely just as valuable as launching a $500 million product.

    What builds management perspectives? What insights will cause an executive — in R&D or Marketing or Finance — to not only change his or her perspective, but to be able to juggle different perspectives? In his best-selling book, Superforecasting, Philip Tetlock states “The job of intelligence is to speak truth to power, not tell [the powers] temporarily in charge what they want to hear.” But what is truth in an ambiguous world? Is there just one?

    Intelligence analysts live in a different knowledge context from managers. Management may have to play an internal political game with issues that intelligence analysts don’t even know about! Moreover, insight is in itself an ambiguous concept: how can management and intelligence work together on creating insights that have real competitive implications? Strategic intelligence leaders in large corporations (as in government) have no idea, since they mostly work in a different sphere. This disconnect between the institutional production of (more and faster) intelligence and the personal use of intelligence by corporate decision makers seems the most vexing issue for corporate leaders. The solution is probably not easy, but it comes down to four radical changes:

    • Manage talent differently. Executives must actively recruit and promote on tolerance of ambiguity mindsets where the unexpected builds perspectives.
    • Use competitive intelligence differently. Companies must utilize the intelligence team specifically for insight management, not as an information search-and-distribute function. At the minimum, institutional intelligence’s crucial role should be supporting a change in perspective. Optimally, it will foster an organizational culture thriving on ambiguity outsmarting stability-seeking competitors.
    • Work together. Easier said than done, but the parallel from the military is that the intelligence analyst should be side-by-side with the decision maker at all times, not down the hall or in a different building.
    • Study personal use of intelligence. Corporations spend a fortune studying aspects of employees’ behavior, developing organizational learning, assessing performance, and providing feedbacks. They spend almost nothing trying to understand, chart and overcome obstacles for using intelligence inside the organization. This is not another “HR job.” It is at the heart of avoiding half-billion dollar loss like Nestle’s or nasty disappointments like that of Novartis.

    Author: Benjamin Gilad, Magnus Hoppe (2016)

  • What do you want to achieve with CI? Summarizing 5 specific goals

    What do you want to achieve with CI? Summarizing 5 specific goals

    Businesses have never been more agile than they are right now. Bringing a product to market, releasing a new feature, launching an ad campaign — these initiatives, though they will never be easy by any means, are not as daunting as they once were.

    As markets become more crowded and pivots become more frequent, investments in competitive intelligence (CI) are growing like never before.

    This makes sense; as the intensity of competition climbs, businesses increase their CI investments in order to … remain competitive. That, of course, is the overarching goal.

    But what are the specific goals of competitive intelligence? In what specific ways does an investment in CI enable you to succeed?

    If these questions are on your mind, you’ve come to the right place.

    5 major goals of competitive intelligence

    The following non-exhaustive list was written in alignment with the five major competitive intelligence stakeholders: sales, marketing, product management, customer success, and executive leadership. Today, we’ll discuss one goal per stakeholder.

    With that being said, please note that there is plenty of overlap between stakeholders. Improved market positioning can translate into more deals, and an improved product roadmap can translate into higher rates of customer retention. We’ve aligned each goal with a unique stakeholder in order to emphasize the breadth of the impact of CI, but this is not to suggest that each stakeholder cares about one thing and one thing only.

    1. Win deals

    Getting a prospective buyer to choose your product or service over a laundry list of alternatives is no easy task. In order to make it happen — and make it happen consistently — sales reps need to be well-versed in the art of communicating differentiated value — i.e., they need to routinely convince prospects that your solution brings something truly unique to the table (assuming that is, in fact, the case).

    That’s impossible in the absence of competitive intelligence. If you know next to nothing about your competitors’ products or services, how are you supposed to convincingly argue that yours is the best option?

    By empowering your reps with the insights they need to consistently win deals, competitive intelligence can help your business succeed.

    2. Improve market positioning

    Let’s take a step back for a moment. Before one of your reps can have the opportunity to seriously engage with a prospective buyer, that prospect needs to feel as if there’s a legitimate reason to evaluate your solution. Unless they’re extraordinarily bored, no prospect is going to give a salesperson the time of day until they see something in your company.

    That something is, in large part, the product of your marketing team. Much like sales reps, marketers are responsible (among other things) for convincing prospects that your solution brings something truly unique to the table. A key difference, of course, is that your marketing team tends to touch a wider range of funnel stages than your sales team does.

    It’s through positioning that marketers — specifically product marketers — establish the differentiated value of your solution. Again, competitive intelligence is essential; when you’re unfamiliar with your competitors, you’re ill-equipped to earn the attention of your prospects.

    By empowering your marketers with the insights they need to improve market positioning, competitive intelligence can help your business succeed.

    3. Optimize product roadmaps

    Up until this point, we’ve been focused on the communication of value — a business function handled primarily by your sales and marketing teams.

    But what about the creation of value? Who’s in charge of making sure that your reps and marketers are telling the truth when they advertise your solution as the best in the industry?

    That would be your product management team — the folks responsible for (1) figuring out what to build and (2) building it. More precisely, product managers are tasked with creating and executing a product roadmap that differentiates your solution from its alternatives — i.e., ensuring that your solution actually brings something unique to the table.

    You already know what I’m going to say, right? Product managers cannot do their jobs properly in the absence of competitive intelligence. When you’re unfamiliar with your competitors, you’re ill-equipped to create something that stands out from the pack.

    By empowering your product managers with the insights they need to optimize your product roadmap, competitive intelligence can help your business succeed.

    4. Retain customers

    When you’re in a competitive market, the acquisition of a new customer is cause for celebration. Between sales, marketing, and — albeit indirectly — product management, it takes a tremendous team effort to create and close a deal in the context of intensifying competition.

    But just because you’ve acquired a customer does not mean you’ve insulated them from your competitors. That you’ve secured a yearlong or even a multi-year contract means little to the other companies in your market — they still want that customer’s business. It may not happen immediately, but you better believe that new customer of yours will be hearing from at least one of your competitors in the not-so-distant future.

    This, of course, is why you have a customer success team — to ensure that your customers continue to be your customers. Among many other things, customer success reps need to be prepared to respond in an effective manner when one of their accounts voices an interest in exploring alternative solutions in the market.

    Competitive intelligence plays a critical role in these situations. CS reps with a strong understanding of your competitive landscape are well-equipped to prove to their accounts that your solution is still the best available option.

    By empowering your CS reps with the insights they need to retain customers, competitive intelligence can help your business succeed.

    5. Inform long-term business strategy

    All the while — as sales reps win deals, marketers improve positioning, product managers optimize roadmaps, and CS reps retain customers — executive leaders work to produce and implement long-term business strategy.

    Note that this responsibility extends far beyond the scope of product strategy (although that is the primary focus for someone in the position of VP Engineering or Chief Product Officer). In addition to helping their direct reports do their jobs as effectively as possible, executive leaders work to answer questions like these:

    • How are we going to continuously grow revenue and market share over the long term?
    • Are there adjacent markets we can break into? If so, what do those markets look like?
    • In what ways are we at risk? What can we do to shield ourselves from those factors?

    The role of competitive intelligence in answering these questions may not be obvious, but it is undeniable. You can’t make a plan to grow market share without understanding who your competitors are and how they’ve positioned themselves in the eyes of prospective buyers. Similarly, you can’t make a plan to break into an adjacent market without understanding who your competitors would be. And finally, you can’t make a plan to mitigate risks without understanding the ways in which your competitors are poised to exploit your weaknesses.

    By empowering your executive leaders with the insights they need to produce and implement long-term strategy, competitive intelligence can help your business succeed.

    Revenue is the ultimate goal of competitive intelligence

    Competitive intelligence is an investment, and just like any other investment, it’s only worthwhile insofar as it yields a return. Through each of the five avenues we’ve explored here today, CI does, in fact, yield a return — and we’ve got the data to back it up.

    According to the latest edition of the State of Competitive Intelligence Report, 61% of businesses have seen revenue growth as a direct result of their investment in CI. Amongst businesses with advanced CI programs — that is, businesses that are fully capitalizing on the potential of CI — that figure jumps to 83%.

    The takeaway is clear: Embrace competitive intelligence and you’ll be rewarded with positive results on the bottom line.

    Author: Conor Bond

    Source: Crayon


EasyTagCloud v2.8