If you’re taking decisions for a business, as a founder, owner, CEO, or CMO, you need to take a lot of different factors into account. The skills available in your workforce, the budget you can safely commit to a project, and the demand in the market for your products are important, but those all neglect an important consideration: the competition. If you don’t know who your competition is, you can’t take their potential actions into account.
Identifying who your rivals are in your particular field, or industry can be difficult, as can prioritising them. Knowing whether you have to worry about any given business encroaching on your share of the market takes a lot of insight into their current level of success, plans and their potential for future growth.
One of the things that can really help you identify and take account of your competitor businesses is working with a market research firm. They have a broad reach, and an elevated perspective – while you specialise in your own business, they specialise in understanding whole industries.
Partnering up with a market research firm gets you access to tools like their brand index. This helps you understand who you have to compete with, which businesses you need to worry about and which are so big they form part of the market’s landscape rather than being something you can meaningfully compete with.
A brand index lists your business with the others in its niche to show where it ranks for ‘brand equity’ – the ability your brand has to create sales by itself, on the strength of its amassed reputation. It’s a measure of the value of a brand, and if you’re taking good decisions, you should see it rise steadily.
The competitors you need to be most concerned with are those who immediately surround you in the brand index: those just ahead of you in brand equity could eclipse your own attempts to grow, while an unexpected growth spurt from those just below you in primacy may cause them to start cutting into your own market share.
Once a market research firm has helped you to define your competition, you can start to make your plans. One of the most important things you can do is try to make sure you keep important announcements, product launches and marketing pushes away from similar efforts on the part of your rivals. Unless you’re confident that your reach dramatically outstrips theirs, you run the risk of investing a lot of time, effort and resources in launching a new product to the market, only to find your rival is doing the same, potentially halving the potential revenue you could have taken!
Staking out your own space in the calendar, and in the market, will help you grow and attain even greater success in the future.