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Secrets of Client Acquisition: A deep dive into competitor analysis

Studying competitors' strategies, offerings, and market positioning will give your company a comprehensive understanding of the competitive landscape. Competitor analysis empowers your company to define strategy, differentiate your offers, and strengthen client relationships. It will help your company not only find clients but to retain them consistently exceeding their expectations. 

Why competitor analysis is crucial for businesses


1. Make Well-Informed Decisions

Analyzing competitors provides insightful information about the market. Understanding competitors' strategies, offerings and strengths assists in evaluating your company's proposition relative to competitors' services and products.

2. Get Client Insight

Studying client interactions and competitor feedback can give you a more accurate picture of client preferences, pain points, and expectations. You can adapt your products and services to better meet client needs.

3. Design Unique Value Proposition

Competitor analysis enables you to create a strong value proposition that stands out from your competitors. Competitor analysis enables you to create a strong value proposition that stands out from your competitors. You can identify gaps in the market, spot unserved needs, and tailor solutions that differentiate your company from your competitors.

4. Create an Effective Pricing Model

Competitor analysis assists in determining competitive prices that will be attractive to clients while remaining profitable. Ensure that you are not under or overpricing compared to competitors' offerings

5. Value Opportunities and Threats

Competitor analysis allows you to identify potential threats from active competitors or new market players, and to secure your client base in advance. Detailed monitoring also helps to uncover opportunities to pivot or launch new products and services leaving your competitors ahead of the game

Key thing: Competitive analysis is not a one-time action, it is a constant ongoing process. Market trends change and it is essential to keep an eye on what is going on.

Identifying Competitors

If you are not aware of competitors, you may miss out on growth opportunities and fail to know where and why your prospective clients leave off. The most common terms that come to mind when you hear the word "competitor" are direct analogs: services, companies that do the same kind of things your company does. But often the most dangerous competitors are not them but another way to solve the client's pain. Clients may choose between your services and products and offers of indirect competitors based on their specific needs or context.

Knowing both direct and indirect competitors helps you develop a smart competitive strategy. Where to start? 

1. Identify Your Target Audience

  • Start with secondary research to gather available data from industry reports, surveys, and studies related to your industry. This will help you gain prior information and understand the context.

  • Design a survey to collect quantitative data. Use an online survey tool such as SurveyMonkey, Typeform or Google Forms. Your goal here is to validate previously collected information on what companies and business sectors might be interested in your services and products, what problem they are solving, how they are searching for a solution, how often they need a solving solution, and what factors are most important in selecting a solution.

  • Analyze your current client base to identify common characteristics and preferences. This can provide insight into the types of customers who are already working with your business.

  • Conduct one-on-one interviews or focus group discussions to get qualitative information. These will reveal deeper motivations, pain points, and attitudes.

  • Divide your audience into segments based on common characteristics: industry, company size, company market share, location, goals, and other features.

  • Create detailed Persona Profiles for each segment. Include information such as industry, company size, job title, responsibilities, goals, challenges, communication channels preferred, information sources, and concerns. Utilize as much information as you have gathered. Give each Persona a name that reflects its segment. Find images that represent the Persona. This will make the Persona more memorable.

This will help you understand who you are fighting for and who you are serving.

2. Pinpoint Pains of Your Target Audience 

Use a "Jobs To Be Done" approach, describe what job and problem the audience "hires" your company, service, or product to solve, based on the outcome they want to achieve. How else can the client solve this problem? 

For example: Your company provides accounting services to companies. What client problem are you solving? He probably wants invoices to be issued, payrolls to be calculated with perfect accuracy, and tax returns to be filed exactly on time. You're competing for this client with a dozen other professional accountancy firms, but it's crucial to note that the client can 'hire' an HR company to recruit a professional accountant in-house, with a company offering a training course in accounting and financial analysis for business owners, and with an online accounting service.

Taking a broader view of the competitive landscape lets your company change perspective and see non-obvious competitors, and therefore gives you new ideas on how to differentiate from competitors and provides directions for product development in return

We highly recommend the handbook from Intercom on Jobs-to-be-Done to determine what your service or product is "hired for" and who you compete with for clients.

3. Gather Competitor's Shortlist 

  • Use Google search to find competitors using keywords related to your service or product. If your business is local, also use Google Maps. Additionally, use social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to supplement your list of competitors.

  • Check industry-specific directories and B2B marketplaces such as ReStaffy where companies list their services.

Once you've identified as many of your company's competitors as possible, it's time to review them!

Competitor Analysis Tools and Approaches

The winner is the one who masters information. We've gathered the best tools and approaches for conducting a deep competitor analysis:

Research online

1. What's Behind the Website

To learn your competitors’ organic search strategy, evaluate content effectiveness, website traffic, and audience demographics, find their best-used keywords, and analyze their ads, use these excellent tools: Semrush, Ahrefs, Similarweb

2. Social Media Reveals Brand Voice

Research your competitors' Social Media, you'll understand engagement trends, content strategies, and which social channels and kinds of content resonate most with audiences. Some great tools to do it are: Buzzsumo, Sproutsocial, Hootsuite

3. Stay Updated on Your Competitors

Google Alerts helps you monitor news articles, blogs, websites, and other online content where your competitors are mentioned. You can also use content aggregators that collect all published content of your competitors, for instance: Feedly, Kompyte

4. Observe Client Opinions

Explore client feedback on competitors' services and products to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Identify pain points that competitors' clients face that your company can address. Use review platforms like Trustpilot or B2B platforms like Restaffy to find reviews of competitors. Don't forget that you can also see reviews directly on Google Reviews. 

Quick Tip: Find out what former and current employees think of a competitor on Glassdoor 

5. Study Industry Reports and Research

You can find valuable information on the competitive landscape, and market trends in industry reports and market research. These reports often analyze key players, their market share, and strategies. Some reports include SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of key market players. Check Marketresearch, Statista, Ibisworld. Note, Government Agencies provide access to their databases for FREE, e.g. European Commission's Market Access Database

Research offline:

1. Utilize Mystery Shopping

Secretly benchmark your competitors' customer experience by acting as a client. Assess their processes, service quality, staff performance, and the way they present their services and products 

2. Ask Clients

Conduct surveys with clients to understand why and how they make decisions and choose a provider. Collect feedback from customers about their experiences not only with your company but also with competitors.

3. Networking at Events

Attend industry events, conferences, and trade shows not only to promote your company but also to get a complete picture of your competitors' offers. Look at how competitors present their companies and communicate their services and products.

4. Test Competitor Products 

Purchase competitor services or products and evaluate their quality, features, and customer support. Put yourself in your client's shoes and provide an unbiased review, you can even conduct a Blind Test if possible.

5. Conduct SWOT Analysis

Conduct a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis to evaluate your business against your competitors. Identify areas where your strong sides can be effectively utilized, and find your competitors' weakest points to strengthen your capabilities.

Building a Strategic Canvas 

Gathered knowledge about competitors you can analyze what position your company stands in the market, how much your value proposition differs from competitors' offerings, and client expectations. The Strategic Canvas, one of the analytical tools from the business book Blue Ocean Strategies by Jang Kim and Renee Mauborgne, is a good way to do this. It's often used in strategic planning and innovation processes. 


Here's a step-by-step guide on how to build a strategic canvas:

1. Identify Key Factors

Set up a brainstorming session with your colleagues and identify all possible customer motivations. Determine the key factors that influence client choice and drive competition. These factors could include pricing, service or product features, customer service, etc.

2. Assess Positioning

Rate your company and competitors on each of the key factors. Use research findings to evaluate performance. Be honest and objective about where you stand compared to competitors.

3. Plot the Strategic Canvas

Create a visual canvas with two axes: one for key factors and the other for performance level. Mark each competitor and your business on the canvas based on their positions. By plotting the points corresponding to the evaluations you will get a value curve.

4. Analyze Opportunities

  • Identify gaps where your business performs better than competitors (differentiation) and areas where you lag (weaknesses). Also, look for unoccupied spaces that present innovation opportunities.

  • If the value curve of your service or product strongly resembles the curves of your competitors, it means that you are all in the "red ocean" – a highly competitive market – and you'd better get out of it as soon as possible.

  • Consider how the value curve might shape to be maximally different. What could be the product this curve describes? The Author recommends using The Four Action Framework answering 4 questions: 

- what factors can be neglected and worth eliminating?

- which factors are non-critical and can be reduced?

- which factors have high potential and can be improved? 

- what factors potentially could be significant and need to be set up?

The answers to the first two questions (elimination and reduction of factors) help to identify ways to reduce costs compared to competitors. The next two questions, on the other hand, allow you to find ways of adding value to clients and creating new demand. As a result, the company can achieve lower costs and differentiation at the same time.

Complete Knowledge on the Сompetitive Landscape

Acting in a market without feeling it is like driving a car with your eyes closed. Each of these competitive intelligence tools complements the market map and helps your company make adjustments to your client acquisition strategy promptly. A blend of different approaches and tools always gives better results and lets you see your competitors from all angles and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Such a detailed competitive analysis gives a clear vision of potential pathways your company can follow to effectively acquire customers, enter new markets, and generate new demand.

To reinforce Client Acquisition, list your company's services on ReStaffy B2B Marketplace for FREE and partner with businesses looking for your services.

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