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Researching your Competition

We have all contemplated what it would be like to be the proverbial “fly-on-the-wall” at some point in our lives. This is no more true than when trying to outpace your business competition. How can this be done short of actually becoming a fly? Don’t let your imagination run wild on this one. There is no need to hire a hacker, go all ”James Bond,” or don a cape and mask.  While it is not possible to gain access to the conference room or data files of your greatest rivals, it is possible to legally gather intelligence on competitors in your business field. Following the trends of your competitors can be done in legal and ethical manners.  Let’s look at some of these methods of researching your competitors.  

 

  • Professional Conferences – Conferences and professional trade shows give several opportunities to finding out more about your competition.  For example, visiting competitors booths is highly suggested and gathering information through interacting with consumers who visit this booth. Ask questions and find out as much as you can about the rival company.
  • Industry Reports – Companies that are publicly held will need to file reports with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission. These reports can give you quite a bit of information about your competitors like their new products and building expansions. Do your homework and read up.
  • Research Online – Do some simple searches online.  Check out the competitors web pages, online reviews, and Google Alerts that will help keep an eye on keywords and searches done in your business field.
  • Get Social – While you are doing your online homework, don’t forget to check out the competitors social media campaigns.  What platforms they are on will tell you quite a bit about the demographics they are targeting.  It will also tell you about upcoming sales, products and news from the company directly.  If you can get on an email newsletter list, even better!
  • Talk to Consumers and Suppliers – Seek out consumers as well as suppliers who will “give it to you straight” about what other companies (and yours) are doing right and wrong.  Conduct surveys to find out how you can differentiate yourselves from other companies in your field.  
  • AdWord Comparisons – Use some of Google’s tools to find out what AdWords your competitors are using.  Here are some great sites that can help you. SpyFu, Google Trends and Google Alerts.



About Mike Sperling

Mike is the Founder and Director of Sperling Interactive. Mike’s keen eye for photography, extensive technology skills and innovative marketing ideas make Mike a leader in the website design and management field. He is proficient in html, css, php, javascript, MySQL and the Adobe Design Suite. Before founding Sperling Interactive, Mike worked his way up from staff photographer at the Eagle Tribune Publishing Company to the lead operator and manager of multiple websites for daily and weekly publications. Known as the “media guru”, Mike gathered years of experience before making the leap to start his own business. He graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA in Photojournalism and a minor in Mass Communications. When Mike is not meeting with clients or designing new websites he enjoys spending time with his wife, Jodi, daughter Zoey, and son Camden. Mike enjoys hiking, geocaching, traveling, movies, the Baltimore Orioles & Ravens.