6 items tagged "Competitor"

  • 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 Intelligence and Twitter: How to Monitor Competitors and Create an Awesome Strategy

    For a site that only requires 140 characters to get your message across, there is a lot of confusion about how to effectively use Twitter to monitor competitors, and how to analyze that twitterinformation to create an awesome social media strategy.

    Competitive Intelligence and Twitter:

    Why even use Twitter?

    Almost every major brand has jumped aboard the Twitter wagon, but just showing up is not enough. You’ve seen them in your newsfeed, possibly from a company, or perhaps from your Mom who just signed up to the service: the dreaded Pointless Tweet.  Pointless Tweets are messages that do not provide value to your reader. Repeating your marketing message or Tweeting inspirational quotes is not a way to engage your customers.

    Used properly, Twitter provides a platform for you to engage with customers and potential customers, provide instant customer service, and establish your company as an industry leader.

    How to find competitors through Twitter.

    To search for competitors, and discover who they engage with, simply type their names into the Twitter search. You can see the competitors’ Tweets by clicking ‘People’, and learn who is Tweeting about them by clicking ‘Tweets’.

    Want to get fancy?  Twitter also has an Advanced Search feature that lets you track by location, or search for Tweets with links from a specific user, or even for Tweets that are only positive or negative.

    What information should I track?

    1. Number of followers
    2. How frequently your competitor Tweets
    3. The engagement impact of each Tweet – How many retweets, replies, and favorites
    4. How often your competitor responds to customer inquiries
    5. What times of day they are Tweeting

    This should be tracked daily in an excel spreadsheet, or you can take the simple, automated route and sign up for Rivalfox’s upcoming beta release. Over time, the data will provide you with valuable insights, e.g. which type of Tweets create the most engagement and whether the time of Tweets correlates to more followers. Armed with this information, you can fine-tune your own awesome Twitter strategy.

    Creating Awesome Strategy

    When it comes to Twitter strategy, you do not need to reinvent the wheel.  Utilize what works for your competitors and change what doesn’t.  The most important goal is to share thrilling creative content, provide excellent customer service, and to engage potential customers by reaching out directly to their screens.


    Source: rivalfox.com, 13 oktober 2015


  • How to Spy on Your Competition

    In this article, you'll learn...150206-curious-businessman-spying-lg
    • How to gain competitive intelligence from public sources
    • Tools to monitor online advertising and SEO tactics of their competition

    Marketers want to know what their competition is up to. Setting up Google Alerts and following your competitor's Twitter feed can get you only so far, and the old "hide your badge trick" at tradeshows is just annoying. Does it ever work... or does it just arouse suspicion?
    So what's the best way to gather competitive intelligence?
    Some of the information you want is not public. Other information is just hard to find and takes some work. Luckily, with the troves of information now online, plus some new tools, it's never been easier.
    January is auspicious in the history of covert intelligence-gathering. At a lunch on January 24, 1946, President Harry Truman appointed the first Director of Central Intelligence.
    In honor of that just-passed anniversary, we're going to look at some CIA-style techniques for spying on your competition. I won't tell you all of my secrets, nor pick favorite tools, but here are five bits of tradecraft.

    1. Ad Spying
    Ever wanted to know where your competitors are advertising and what they are saying? Maybe you come across their banner ads here and there, but how big of an investment are they making? Are there places where they are advertising and where you should advertise, too?
    Some tools let you actually see where companies are advertising. Two of the more prominent are AdBeat and WhatRunsWhere. These tools crawl sites every day to find out what ads are running, and you can find out just what ad creative your competition is running and where.

    2. SEO Keyword Spying
    Knowing what keywords your competition is bidding on can be very valuable. Sure, you can try out keywords and see what ads pop up, but a much better way is to use a tool to automate the task.
    Two tools that do so are SpyFu and iSpionage. Enter a keyword or domain, and you can find out which keywords your competitors are bidding on, what ad copy they're using, and which landing pages they're using.

    3. Web Traffic Spying
    SimilarWeb is a cool tool that lets you look at the traffic to and from any website. My favorite way to use it is to see what sites are sending people to my competitors.
    By looking at the top referring sites (which you can see for your own site with Google Analytics), you will gain some insight into content that's sending clients to your competition. Maybe there's a blog that mentions them. Maybe they have some type of referral or affiliate agreement.
    You also get a nice summary of their overall traffic, what geographies it's coming from, how much is coming from social media, and some other nice nuggets of info.

    4. SEC Filings
    The lives of most CIA researchers are not as eventful as Robert Redford's in Three Days of the Condor. Not everything in the spy world is cloak and dagger. The Agency employs hundreds of analysts who read newspapers, financial filings, and other public documents to see what they can find.
    SEC filings can reveal a lot about a public company. Aside from the usual financial information, over the years I've found the following: office lease expenses, severance agreements, technology licensing deals, and details of acquisitions.
    Make sure to read the footnotes; that's where a lot of miscellaneous and interesting stuff is hidden in plain sight.
    James Underwood, author of Competitive Intelligence for Dummies, has a quick tutorial on how to find and navigate the various SEC filing documents. He includes a tip on a smoking gun that can really be valuable: "Always check to see if the auditors have filed a 'Going Concern Letter' on the company. That usually means that they have serious concerns about the future viability of the company."

    5. Job Sites
    Don't ignore job sites. You can find out a lot about a company's focus and strategy. Your competitor is looking for a bunch of mobile engineers? Ten new sales reps in Germany?
    Glassdoor is a site that solicits employee and interviewee feedback, so you can learn a lot about a company's culture there. You can also sense the health of a company.
    I looked up a company that had just raised a nice Series C round of financing (sounds good!), but I saw a comment about a big layoff (not so good!).
    Glassdoor also lets you set up alerts, so you get this stuff in your inbox. Even the CIA is on Glassdoor: "A mixed bag" at 3.9 stars out of five.

    Remember, spying takes patience and diligence. In the words of espionage novelist Graham Greene, "Most things disappoint till you look deeper."
    Have other ideas? I would love to hear about them, spy to spy.

    Source: Marketingprofs.com, February 6, 2015


  • How To Use Competitive Intelligence To Drive Email ROI


    Marketers who use competitive intelligence tools enjoy an average of three times more email generated revenue than those who don’t, according to a recent report by The Relevancy Group.

    Yet one of the most common questions I'm asked when I present a client with a competitive analysis is: "There's no point in doing this more than once a year, right?"
    Think again. There’s a lot you can -- and should -- do with competitive intelligence tools to drive ROI on a regular basis. Here's a short list to get you started:
    1. Learn from your competitor's tests, not just your own. We all talk about testing, but did you realize that you can double your efforts by gleaning ideas from competitors? If you see what works for them, you can test it for yourself. And if you see something that doesn’t work, you can deprioritize that test, and put more lucrative efforts first.
    2. Identify key subject lines, phrases, creative, etc. Chances are, if it engages your competitors’ audience, it will probably engage yours, too. It’s worth sorting through creative examples to get ideas for what you can test next.
    3. Quickly see what is new in marketing. It can be difficult to find the newest innovations, tools, or techniques that can drive your results and make your job easier. A competitive analysis tool can help you keep tabs on your competitors so you can identify when they are doing something that you can’t. Think about all the technologies we now use that were virtually unknown 10 years ago: real-time suggestion engines, dynamic image generation, and more. Just by asking, “how did they do that?”, you might uncover that your competitors are using a new tool or technique that you could implement to help drive your ROI too.
    4. Prove you need a bigger budget. A competitive tool can help you see exactly how much effort your competitors are putting into their email channel. Based on those competitive insights, you can prove that you need a bigger budget to keep up.
    5. Track benchmarks. It’s helpful to understand how you stack up against competitive benchmarks, such as read rates or share of voice. It can be even more helpful to know how those metrics change in different seasons and during different holidays. This can support your budget requests or even potentially help you restructure your program.
    Clearly there is a lot you can learn from your competitors. Once a year definitely won’t cut it if you want to keep your program fresh and continue to drive ROI. Instead, consider a two-part approach:
    Weekly and/or monthly: Make quick dives into the competitive tools you use to see creative changes on a regular basis. This is strictly to generate ideas that you can use to update your own testing grid. It will help you with the top three items above. A frequent check-in will keep this from taking too much time, because you’ll have enough familiarity with the competitive landscape to scroll through quickly.
    Bi-monthly or quarterly: Keep your more formal reporting to a less frequent schedule. This type of reporting is important because it will help you with the last two items on the list above. But it is the part that doesn’t change often. Quarterly may work, or you may decide that there are certain timeframes that are so important to your business that you need to adjust your reporting schedule around them. Even with adjustments, a formal reporting schedule shouldn’t be more often than every other month.
    Source: mediapost.com, November 16, 2016
  • The types of news stories around your competitors you should monitor

    The types of news stories around your competitors you should monitor

    There’s an old saying 'the news never sleeps'. And it’s never been more true than it is in today's media-saturated world. Internet news sites and the 24-hour TV news cycle have combined to create a non-stop news environment that churns out stories faster than any human being can possibly read them.

    For professionals charged with collecting competitive intelligence, this constant news output creates an unending deluge of articles waiting to be skimmed, sorted, and distributed. Where an automated competitive intelligence process used to be a luxury, it’s rapidly becoming a must-have for businesses that are serious about capturing high-quality, timely information.

    Here are six types of news stories that a well-calibrated CI process will always capture:

    Product launches

    When the competition releases a new product, service, or solution, it’s helpful to know the 'what', 'why', and 'where', behind their new offering as soon as possible. If there’s a launch day event, press release, or management statement, a good competitive intelligence process will bring them to your business’s attention.


    As exciting as new products are, when the competition tweaks an existing product, it can have important implications. An upgrade may not receive as much publicity as a new product, but it will often garner a mention in a blog and social media post.

    Industry reports

    Whether released by a competitor or an independent organization, industry reports can provide insight into where other businesses stand within the industry space. Reports released by competitors often contain valuable research, while external reports tend to offer a broader picture of where your competition ranks according to various criteria.

    Sales wins

    Attracting new business isn’t a zero-sum game, but there are still plenty of reasons to take note when a competing company scores a new client or sale. Many companies will toast their wins publicly, via press releases and blog posts. On the other hand, if your competition doesn’t advertise its wins, a thorough CI process can still alert you, via news articles and industry news sites.


    If you want to do comptetitor analysis in order to find out on what your competition can really offer its customers, testimonials generally offer the most in-depth, concrete information. CI should capture testimonials and case studies written by your competitors, as well as external reports from customers, partners, and industry review sites.


    Awards aren’t everything, but when your competitors win big, they’re receiving free publicity and fostering a sense of prestige within the industry. If your competitor is presenting the award, it can be indicative of an underlying relationship with the winning company. Your CI process should keep up with awards being given to and by your competitors.

    Source: CI Radar

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