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Knowing your competition for marketing

It is important to know your competition for marketing, as it is impossible to address the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors if you are unaware of who they are, and do not do an analysis of them. Here are some tips:

Identifying your competitors- You will want to identify your direct competitors first, or the ones who are competing for the exact same customers with the same or very similar products. In other words, if you sell burgers, your direct competitors are other places that sell burgers. You then want to identify the indirect competitors, which would be those who may take customers by offering alternatives to what you offer, for example friend chicken, tacos, etc. Then there are the future competitors, or those that could compete with you if they moved into your market. Such as the restaurant that could easily add burgers to their menu, but don't currently offer burgers.

Finding your competitors- There are thousands of companies that offer competition to you, but they may not all be competitors worth analyzing. For example, if you offer gourmet burgers, you may not need to worry about the drive through burgers. So, choose the companies that are actually your competition, those that will impact your market share the most. In other words, when someone wants a gourmet burger, who else do they choose in your area besides you? These competitors are the ones you need to be most worried about.

Analyzing your competition- It is time to do an external analysis. You have to determine what your competition's strengths are, and what opportunities and threats they bring to the table. It helps if you create a competitor analysis grid, where you assess the competition in a grid format to make it easy to see the strengths and weaknesses. You will want to write up the results. Part of your analysis should include looking at what their customers have to say about them. You can usually find the information by looking at website critiques, their Facebook fan page, and other sources of information online.

Know your competitive position-
It is important to then take your analysis and align it with your own strengths and weaknesses with what you discovered about your competitors. This is your competitive position. You will want to look at what threats and opportunities your competition offer, and then see what opportunities best line up with your strengths.

Once you know your competition and your competitive position, you can create a marketing plan that capitalizes on what you do best, and takes advantage of what your competitors do worst. This is what makes it so you are the company that pops into the mind of your potential customers, not the name of your competition. It helps you to focus your marketing plan on your strengths, and do what you can to eliminate your weak spots.

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