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How you should use information about your competition in your marketing plan

It is crucial that every business owner understand that they have competition. No matter how unique you think that your product or service is somewhere there is competition for your business. Keep in mind that this competition goes far beyond the store that is located down the street or across town. Today, because of the internet consumers can shop from around the world. This means that you must expand your horizons when it comes to checking out what your competition is doing. However, if you are diligent with staying on top of what your competition is doing you are far more likely to market effectively. Here is what you need to know about how you should use information about your competition in your marketing plan-

• Gather real information-In order to effectively use the information from your competition in your marketing plan you need to gather real information. You cannot depend on stories, innuendo, or even rumors to let you know what your competition is doing. Keep in mind that you should focus on gathering real information that is helpful and not just fluff.There are several different methods that you can use to gather information from your competitors. Some of these methods are:talking to suppliers and distributors, watching the company, buying the products or services yourself, and you can look at reports and news stories about the company you are investigating. Often times it can be helpful to employ several different information gathering methods in order to get a clear picture of what your competition is doing.
• Turn the information into helpful marketing advice-Now that you have the information you need to find a way to effectively use it. Keep in mind that their weaknesses are going to be things that you can capitalize on and use in your marketing while their strengths may show up your weaknesses. When you are looking for ways to improve your marketing look for problems that they may be having. Are they taking to long to process orders or ship them? You can improve both your processing and shipping and then use that as the basis of your new marketing message. Whatever your competition may be struggling with is an open door for you to improve on and then use it in your marketing.
• Continue to analyze what your competition is doing-It is important to realize that just like any other aspect of market research finding out what your competition is doing is not a one time thing. Keep in mind that your competitors will continue to be making changes just like you. So it is important that you continue to be checking into what they are doing so that you know how to respond with the appropriate marketing.You should never allow too much time to pass before you are checking on what your competition is doing.
• Remember that your competition is not your enemy-There is an old school mentality that dictates businesses are only in business for what they can get for themselves. This is not necessarily true. Today, business owners are beginning to realize that sometimes businesses can work together to make their marketing more effective. This is especially true for a small business that may have limited resources when it comes to marketing. Knowing what your competition is doing can also be crucial for determining if there is a business that you work with on co-op marketing. When you find a business(or more), that would be willing to work with you on marketing you can often pursue marketing methods that would be unavailable for one small business trying to do it alone.

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