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Ways to Acquire Competitive Intelligence

You might have a good understanding of your competition, especially if you have been in your industry for a while. But do you know enough to build a truly well-informed marketing strategy? How can you learn more about your competition? Here are a few tips for conducting competitive intelligence, even in the tightest of industries.

  • Check out your competitors’ locations. Visit your competitors and assess their signage, messaging, location and anything else you come across. Make notes on their overall style, image and organization level.
  • Review their advertising. With most media shifting to digital format it has never been easier to access competitors’ advertising pieces on-line. In addition, many media representatives are eager to provide additional information hoping to get more of your business.
  • Do business with your competition. Ask a third party to purchase competitors’ products to evaluate their service level, delivery timelines, marketing communication involved, cross selling and product quality. This is typically called Mystery Shopping.
  • Talk to your customers. Your customers are likely to have interacted with your competitors at some point in the past, perhaps recently. Ask your customers for their opinions on the competitors, their approaches. You can also ask them to share any newsletters, emails or brochures they have received.
  • Stay informed. Sign up for their email newsletters and events. If your competitor launches a new service or product, you will know immediately what it is. You can learn about your competitor’s special offers to make sure your pricing is in line with theirs.
  • Visit their trade show booth. When exhibiting at trade shows, the booth staff is always open for interaction. Exhibitors have multiple marketing materials available for all attendees. It is one of the most effective tools for collecting competitive intelligence.

To learn more about strategic marketing planning, download the executive guide featuring practical tips for success from 65 CMOs.