Business is not a one-horse race. Everyone has competition, and the threat from it can be a powerful motivating force. But if a competitor’s actions start to force you into a corner, where your main actions become reactive rather than proactive, then this can be damaging, and potentially fatal.
With the right kind of professional analysis, however, companies can gain an understanding of their competitors that they can use strategically, to gain an advantage over them. Competitor profiling is how businesses can gather this strategically advantageous information.
The Importance of Information
“To develop clear strategies and take decisive action, you need the right kind of information about your competitors,” explains Tony Smith, Director of Operations at Insight. “You need to know their strengths and weaknesses, but also if they are acting against you.”
Businesses work to gain a competitive advantage in specific markets. A lot of stress is placed, rightly, on the customer or consumer. But this is not the whole story. While businesses typically launch products by market testing and rapidly repeating the process if it fails the first time – a process made easier in the digital age – this can become a locked-in cycle that ignores another crucial factor: the competition.
“Competitor profiling allows firms to see the bigger picture in terms of competition, which then means they can refine their own activity and focus on certain niche markets”
“It’s about the right level of research and diligent investigation to gain insightful knowledge,” Tony observes.
Tony’s private and commercial investigation company, Insight, provides an essential service to businesses when it comes to developing strategy and protecting their assets.
Staying Ahead of the Competition
Another aspect of competitor profiling and analysis is ensuring that once you have a strategic advantage you keep it.
“Once you have something unique in the marketplace you become vulnerable. You will have competitors ready to copy what you have, and, in some cases, resort to illicit means to hack away at your market lead”
Profiling investigations can unearth and expose such practices, using technology to fight industrial espionage.
“You need to know just how smart your competitors are to be smart yourself,” Tony concludes. “Smart competitors know all about their rivals, keeping an eye on them and understanding how their own market share relates to the competition.