Research, and that Gut Feeling
In the military, we learned the more intelligence we had the better we could fight the battle and ultimately win the war. The same holds true in business.
We need to track what competition is doing, what they are saying, what they are featuring and what people are saying about them. We also want to track how our companies stack up in the marketplace. How do we do this?
THE MARKET STUDY. How are we perceived when compared to competition? What is your SWOT situation (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)?
AWARENESS STUDY. Do target audiences know your company, your products and your position in the market?
FOCUS GROUP. Sit 12 people in a room and test creative, messages, product ideas, feelings about the competitive landscape and more.
MYSTERY SHOPPER. Banks, hospitals, restaurants and retail stores can learn a lot when we check out how things are going right on the premises.
DID-YOU-BUY STUDY. What happened when you got a sales lead? Did you get the sale? Did your competitor? How was the sales experience? Does the lead still want to talk to your company? How did your sales rep do?
COMPETITIVE TRACKING. By tracking your competitors, you can get a sense of what they are featuring in the news and through social media. That information can help you sell, discover acquisition possibilities and create your own messages to position you in a better situation than you might have been without the information.
I know what you’re thinking. This research stuff is expensive and we really know the answers to the questions you might ask. Are you sure?
With the availability of services such as Survey Monkey, research can be very cost-effective. If you shop around, you will find that there are professional firms available to do research on a cost-competitive basis. And, when it comes to knowing the answers to the questions we might ask, we have found that there can be a big difference between what you believe the marketplace is thinking about you and what the marketplace is actually saying.
If you want to win the battle of the marketplace, get more information than your competition.
Ed Stevens, Stevens Strategic Communications President