While competition may be worrisome, it's inevitable. Plus it can be a tremendous motivator for your business.
Conducting market research on your competitors will help your business overcome customer churn and industry obstacles to ensure a successful future.
Understanding the competitive landscape will provide you a unique perspective on how competitors operate and what you can do to stay ahead.
This blog post will discuss the various benefits and types of market research methods perfect for gaining a leg up against the competition.
Looking for something more in-depth? Read our Ultimate Guide to Conducting a Competitor Analysis.
Types of Competitive Research Methods
The most common methodologies to utilize for your competitive research project are desk research, online surveys, in-depth interviews, and mystery shopping.
Let’s go over the basics for each of these options.
Competitive Research #1: Desk Research
The simplest of all the options, desk research entails conducting Google searches or analyzing Census data to gather and organize market data.
These sources can provide with you key competitive and market data such as the number of nearby competitors or the income level of certain zip codes.
Competitive Research #2: Online Surveys
An easy and cost-effective research option, online surveys offer a customizable approach that can measure competitor metrics such as:
- Brand awareness
- Product or service usage
Our market research firm recommends brand awareness or brand equity surveys to accomplish this.
A brand awareness survey measures the awareness of your brand against competitors.
Depending on the scope of the study, it may also address the perception and usage of the brands as well as demographics. These surveys typically contain between 10 to 15 questions.
Similarly, brand equity surveys also evaluate awareness, perception, and usage. However, they tend to be a little more involved and therefore are somewhat longer (usually 15 to 25 questions). We share some examples in Brand Equity Surveys: 4 Questions You Need to Be Asking.
Other brand equity survey topics include brand satisfaction, likelihood to recommend, as well as decision-making factors when choosing between brands.
Competitive Research #3: In-depth interviews (IDIs)
To gather deeper or more involved responses, in-depth interviews (IDIs) are the preferred method.
A market researcher will have a guided conversation with an interviewee to gather their thoughts on the topics at hand.
IDIs can either be an independent competitive study or serve as an add-on to an online survey.
- If it is the sole method, participants would be recruited based on the targeted demographic criteria.
- If it is an additional service, a small number of respondents would be chosen from the survey to participate.
Competitive Research #4: Mystery Shopping
You may have heard that a great way to know how your competitors treat their customers is to become one! Mystery shopping can accomplish this for you and provide you several additional details.
Mystery shoppers will be recruited and asked to follow a guide and complete various shopping tasks. The guide will focus on shopping experiences including pricing strategies and customer rewards programs.
Shoppers will take notes and rate their shopping experiences such as the ease of purchase and customer service.
Learn more benefits of mystery shopping in the video below.
Competitive Research #5: Competitive Pricing Analysis
Another research tool that can be utilized through a mystery shopping study is a competitive pricing analysis.
Mystery shoppers can collect competitor prices or fees that are not obtainable on the competitor’s website or advertisements.
When all of the data has been collected, all of the prices can be charted to provide you with a visual comparison.
Benefits of Conducting Market Research on the Competition
As mentioned in the introduction, competitive research will not only provide you with several key advantages over competitors but also helpful information on your company as well.
The key overarching benefit from those listed below is that you can gain data-driven insights into new opportunities and potential threats for your business.
This will make you better prepared for what could lie ahead in the near future.
Let’s see how each of these benefits can impact your business!
Benefit #1: Industry analysis
One of the benefits of competitive research is obtaining a clearer and full picture of the industry.
You could determine things such as how many consumers are in the industry, who are the key players, as well as what direction the industry is heading.
Benefit #2: Marketing evaluation
Competitive research will tell you the effectiveness of your competitors’ marketing as well as your own.
Things such as which marketing channels are most effective or what type of marketing do competitors find most successful can be determined through a competitive research study.
Benefit #3: Discover market gaps
By studying your competitor’s target market(s), you’ll identify underserved markets in the industry. This provides you the opportunity to expand your product reach into new and untapped segments.
Benefit #4: Better strategic planning
Overall, knowing more about your competitors and industry can improve all areas of your business.
Whether it’s marketing, operations, or personnel, competitive research can help you a great deal about how your organization can better plan for the future.
Drive Research is a full-service market research company specializing in competitive assessments. Our team of certified research professionals partners with organizations across the country to recommend and execute the best type of research study that will successfully meet the goals of our clients.
To learn more about our services, or to receive a quote - contact our team today!
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- Text us at 315-303-2040
As a Research Assistant, Justin works directly with all team members on client projects. His intrigue in market research formed during his time at Marist College, where he studied business and entrepreneurship. He knows how to approach market data from a client perspective and provides valuable insights to help them be successful.
Learn more about Justin, here.