Competition tracking, is exactly as it sounds. It involves tracking your competition . On a more specific basis, it involves monitoring your competitions' prices, and policies, trying to discover weaknesses that you can use to your advantage. Responding to these discoveries is beyond the scope of this topic and is covered elsewhere. Competition tracking is a part of the overall marketing strategy. In some cases it may be one of the major factors in determining strategies, and in other situations it is ignored, and the focus may be placed on the customers

    There are many reasons to track your competition. The most obvious is to stay in business, because if you do not change with the market or the competition, they will force you out of business. The second is to make a profit. One should look for information on pricing and policy. You should gage how much your competition is willing to spend on advertising, compared to your firm. Monitoring the competition will tell you what products they are trying to sell, and on a larger lever, what brand names they carry. All of this information is important if you are going to respond to their actions. 

    There are several way to track the competition. One is to monitor their advertising. Advertisements in local publications, and flyers are most common and contain much information. You can find significant amounts of information on pricing. They also tell you how much they are willing to spend on advertising. Advertising also tells you what brand names they offer. A little information concerning policy can also be determined from advertising as well. 

Your competition will be advertising their strong points, something they believe you cannot offer. These are the things that must be monitored closely. Most of these advantages are policy related, such as a "no questions asked" return policy, or a one year warranty. Everyone will be able to offer the same prices, but it is the secondary services that make business succeed. When monitoring your competition it is important to try to recognize their advantages, and also their weaknesses

Another way to track your competition is to survey your customers, asking them why they chose your company over the competition. Their responses should be related to your strengths, and if not, then at least your competitors' weaknesses. Once a weakness is found, it should be exploited, but that is beyond the scope of this subject. 

Send comments to
The Retailer Education Project