• nat sharp

What is a competitor audit?

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

How well do you really know your competitors?

People often think they know what their competitors are up to, but in fact, they not familiar with their websites, their marketing collateral or the full range of their product offerings. As a result, they may not be competitive in the market or have a unique selling point.

It is really useful to conduct regular competitor audits. You can learn a lot from looking at your competition and ensure that you have a point of differentiation. It is also a good opportunity to take a step back, ensure you are not complacent and breathe a new lease of life into your plans.

Where to start?

I would recommend looking at your top 3-5 competitors. Start off by looking at their website and download any communications in order to critique them.

But who are my competitors?

This really depends on your type of business and where/how you operate. You can do this by looking at local businesses if you are a small business and focusing on your local area. However, if geography is irrelevant and you operate online, I would start off by looking at other similar businesses that offer a similar product offering and those that work in the same sector. Google is always a useful starting point!

Your checklist

Start by looking at the following areas and compile your observations in a table.

1. Branding – look at the name of the company, their logo, colours used, what is their tone of voice like/how do they communicate and sound? Does it work well and have a strong impact? What do you think are their brand values?

2. Proposition & messages – what is their main offering? Do they have a unique selling point? What is your main take out? Do they communicate any other messages?

3. Products and services – review their main products and services. Do they offer any added value? How do they sell their products – instore, online, face to face, Skype.

4. Pricing – what are their prices and pricing policy? Do they offer a loyalty scheme or any discounts?

5. Promotions – do they run any promotions? Have they partnered with any businesses?

6. Customers – who are their main customers? Do they have any customer reviews or case studies?

7. Website – do they have a strong website? Does it present a strong customer experience? Is it up to date? Do they have a blog? Can you download any material?

8. Social media presence – what social media platforms do they use? How do they use social media? Do they have strong engagement levels with customers?

9. Overall strengths – from points 1-8, list the top 3 strengths

10. Overall weaknesses – from points 1-8, list the top 3 weaknesses

How to map your competitors

If you want to take a closer look and apply a more qualitative approach, you can map your competitors based on different criteria. Using a series of graphs, you can rank your top competitors from high to low according to key areas. Of course, you can only apply this approach, where the results/answers are visible/published.

Example focus areas include:-

1. Number of customers/number of stores

2. Social media engagement

3. Pricing

What next?

I would recommend doing this annually. It can be extremely insightful. Based on the findings, you then review your marketing.

For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss any element of marketing for your business, then please drop me a line.

#competitoraudit #smallbusinessmarketing

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