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
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
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
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