How can you stand out in the crowd if you don’t know what the crowd looks like?
Last week, I focused on the importance of clearly defining your target audience, and provided guiding questions to help you clarify your client personas. Since you’ve taken the time to define your target audience, it is wise to now spend some time defining and analyzing your competition. The competitive landscape within your sector is likely packed with people and companies doing similar work, with similar clients, and with similar objectives. By defining and analyzing your competitive landscape, you’ll be able to identify your strengths and areas for improvement, and position yourself to excel within your market.
As you begin to look at your competitors, it will not be enough to simply identify your competitors, rather, I recommend completing an analysis of the landscape and creating a company profile that compares your company to those of your competitors. The first step to creating your competitive landscape profile is to clearly define the market in which you will be working. This will allow you to account for new businesses entering the market, and changes to your products and services.
Once you have set the market parameters, I find it easiest to create a chart or other sort of visual representation to allow for simplified comparisons. Your competitive landscape profile should include:
- Products and services offered by each company
- Strengths and weaknesses of each company
- Marketing and sales strategies of each company
Compiling this information will take some time, be patient and focus on creating drafts that can be adjusted as you find more information. When you’re finished creating the first draft, you and your team will need to draft a plan for utilizing and updating this information. How will you use this to improve your strategies? How can you address the areas that your competitors miss?