Competitor Analysis is an important part of the strategic planning process.
Why analyse competitors?
Some businesses think it is best to get on with their own plans and ignore the competition while others become obsessed with tracking the actions of competitors and many are happy to track the competition, copying their actions and reacting to changes.
Competitor analysis has an important role in strategic planning:
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Competitive advantage and differentiators for businesses
A competitive advantage over competitors is gained by offering consumers greater value, whether by offering lower prices or by providing greater benefits and/or service that justifies higher prices.
Four generic business strategies can be adopted in order to gain competitive advantage. These four strategies relate to the extent to which the scope of a business' activities are narrow versus broad and the extent to which a business seeks to differentiate its products.
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Use of SWOT analyses and Key Issues help to determine the market segments in which to compete and how to position your firm against your competition.
In reality external factors to some extent determine your objectives and therefore strategies need to be developed to meet those objectives.
A strategy statement should make clear how marketing objectives are to be achieved and should provide a summary of the more detailed strategies.
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Segmentation and Targeting
Profiling of customers places them into general groups which have something in common - for example age, social class, spending power, sex or buying attitudes. This is described as segmentation.
It is very unusual to find a product which is equally acceptable to all these different types of customers.
Identification of market segments whose needs are not met by existing products provides the basis of a good business.
Sometimes different segments present conflicting demands. By considering the needs of different segments and the company's strengths, it is possible to choose one or more segments on which to concentrate marketing efforts.
Choosing a segment entails gathering information about that segment, its future potential, the strength of the competition and the company strength you will bring to bear. This is targeting.
Once you have a clear idea of your existing customers, the type of people you wish to have as customers, the need you are trying to satisfy and what customers are looking for in your product or service, then you can plan your Marketing Mix.
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