Sooner or later, competition becomes a part of doing business. In order to remain in the game, a business must carefully analyze its competition and try to come up with a strategy based on the information.

Between social media, focus groups, impartial surveys and sales figures, it's hard to really tell which data matters the most when it comes to beating your competition. Here's a guide for you to know what it all really means.

To Beat the Competition, Know the Competition

Trying to determine the best type of data to analyze for gaining an advantage over your competition can be tricky unless you know the level of competition you're facing. When you are establishing yourself in a new market, assess the competitive landscape and the type of competition you'll have.

Once you have created a list of competitors, both indirect and direct, as well as understood the business environment, you can figure out the best medium for the analysis of data relevant to beating the competition. For instance, if your competitor is heavily marketing itself on social media, be sure to evaluate their approach to determine how it's working for them and the best way to overcoming any challenges they, or you, may face.

To gain the upper hand in the world of social media, you should consider using customer relationship management software. These services can help you extract highly useful information. You'll get an idea of the tone and overall interests exhibited online by the people you talk to. All of this can help you devise approaches to help you form tighter bonds with potential customers.

The Overall Best Source of Data

There is no best source of data when it comes to evaluating the market and competitors. Each source of data is important in its own unique way. A successful organization will try to exploit the advantages while minimizing the potential risks due to misleading data and unreliable sources.

Social media can tell you a lot about your competitors and indicate their level of success, what clients think of them, as well as other relevant metrics. However, any one source of data may lack authenticity and could potentially be misleading.

Focus groups help an organization understand its target audience. However, because peoples' opinions and perceptions vary, focus groups often do not provide credible enough data, unless done extensively. Impartial surveys can be a convenient way to get a rough look at things, but the information is often not reliable enough.

Sales figures, while useful when it comes to making better critical decisions, shouldn't necessarily be used as an indicator of future trends. You must truly examine a variety of data to get a more clear picture.

Steps for Effectively Analyzing Your Competition

Analyzing involves gathering data, which can include extensive research, fact finding, collecting valuable info and questioning.

  • The first step is to take into account everything you offer better than your competitors, such as product features, strengths and value-added services.
  • Use social media, focus groups and other data gathering sources to learn more about the popularity of your products. Then, compare them. Each comparison will likely differ based on who is surveyed, customers' priorities, who competitors are and other relevant factors. Thorough analysis will be required to develop effective strategies for your products.
  • Use the data to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business and take this into account when coming up with strategy.

How you use the data is often more important than the quality or source of data you have. Following these steps is a good way to determine the type of data that best suits your needs and may possibly produce the best chances of beating your competition.