Senior Management Services

Purging nightmares from business dreams.

Secrets of Competitive Market Research
Writing Profitable Venture Tactics
Home | Senior Management Services | Documentation Express | Free Stuff | Book Store | FAQ | ARTICLES | Resources | About Us | Contact Us

NEW! The Ultimate Career Builder: "The book your boss wants you to read."

Cover Letters
Future-Proof Career!
Personality Test!
Super Affiliate Book!

SMS Blog
NOW! Enter email address
powered by Bloglet

Secrets of Competitive Market Research
(NEW! eBook with handy worksheets - see link below.)

Pray your competition doesn’t learn these marketing research secrets… Winning at business may not be your idea of fun, but…

… A competitor is someone who’s getting your prospect to by his stuff and lowering your profits. You’ve got to know who your competitor is and how he works.

The goal of market research is to obtain information that will help you:

  • Get your prospect to contact you first, and
  • Buy your stuff instead of your competitor’s stuff

Your competitor is likely doing research to create counter arguments against you - to get his prospects to buy his stuff instead of yours, right?

Your prospects may suffer constraints that make it difficult to acquire your stuff, such as:

  • Limited resources,
  • Prior relationship with your competitor,
  • Heard more about your competitor,
  • Heard something negative about you (inaccurate of course).

Here are two things that will help:

  1. Collect factual information about your competition, and,
  2. Carefully plan how you will present this competitive information.

Collecting Marketing Features and Facts

Here are some hints about how to acquire the competitive information you need. You must discover 5 key kinds of competitive information:

  1. What are your competitor’s features?
  2. What are those feature's benefits?
  3. What is the best case your competitor makes - what does he say about his strong points AND his weak points?
  4. Where is your competitor making his case - and how is he making the connection?
  5. Where is your competitor not making his case?

You must demonstrate to your prospect that your stuff is better by comparing your stuff to your competitor’s stuff - tacitly or specifically.

This means you must create a complete list of your competitor’s features. Ditto for your stuff, feature by feature. For now don’t worry about the benefits, just concentrate on getting the facts down on paper, which must be accurate. Double-check, OK?

This means you must buy you competitor’s stuff or convince him to give you his information for free. (And good luck with that! :) Or, you or a friend can pose as a prospective buyer to get the information you need. (That is probably how he got your information.)

Act like a shopper, not a researcher. Tell your competitor that you’re a careful shopper, and you must have specific information before making a decision.

Start with a complete list of features of your stuff. This will give you a basis for collecting your competitor’s information. Then get your competitor’s advertising:

  • Brochures
  • Information kits
  • Direct mail letters
  • Email advertising
  • Website information
  • Annual reports
  • Ads
  • Publicity articles
  • Press releases
  • Samples
  • Whatever

You or a friend should get on their mail list(s) to get updates as they come out.

You can also call industry experts or people mentioned in articles to probe for more information. By now you’re making a chart, right? You’re listing all your features and theirs, right? Good!

Buyers Buy Benefits - Not Features

You must find out why people are buying your competitor’s stuff. And it ain’t features - it’s benefits! But, most marketers don’t emphasize benefits in their propaganda (aka marketing materials). They typically list features and assume that prospects will translate those features into benefits themselves, which buyers must do anyway before buying.

Buying decisions are made emotionally, not logically. The mind uses logic after the fact to justify the emotional decision based on perceived benefits.

So, what you must do is:

  • List all your competitor’s features.
  • Transform those features into benefits (be honest now :-) by imagining that you’re buying your competitor’s stuff.

OK. Now you’ve got a chart for your competitor; it lists all his features and corresponding benefits and sales points.

"WAIT! Mike, why go to all this work?" Because you can’t possibly make your strongest arguments for your stuff unless you know your competitor’s strongest arguments!

By now, you probably know more about your competitors than they know about themselves. Congratulations!

Now, create a similar chart for your stuff, listing all your features and corresponding benefits and sales points. Then you’ll know more about your stuff than you knew before. Congratulations!

You have MORE Features and Benefits, right?

Of course! Great! Now you know what your prospect won’t get unless s/he buys your stuff. Be sure to tell your prospect about this - with benefits. For example, if you offer a guarantee:

"You get up to 90 days to try my stuff. If you’re not satisfied for any reason, bring it back for a full refund. You risk nothing. Brand X doesn't give you a guarantee. When you buy Brand X, you’re stuck with it!"

In making your case, you must show that your competitor’s strong points are not that compelling - and that his weak points give ample reasons for not buying his stuff.

Your competitor is likely not doing what you’re doing. Many marketers simply write marketing materials with just facts and features - but, not selling points. These materials don’t compel an immediate response because they don’t get your prospect’s juices flowing (aka DESIRE).

Where does Your Competitor Make his Case?

and how does s/he attempt to do it? Where do they place their marketing and advertising information? Focus on how your competitor connects with the market.

  • Ads?
  • Publicity and press releases?
  • Direct mail advertising?
  • Billboard advertising?
  • Email advertising
  • Website advertising?
  • Networking?
  • Internet advertising?
  • Advertising agency?
  • Online advertising?
  • TV advertising?
  • Other?
  • All of the above?

Find out! Discover what is working and what isn’t. When you study how your competitor connects with the market, you will discover where you should connect. And where you shouldn’t.

Again, make a chart of all the different methods with specific data including, timing, costs, messages, positioning, etc. Who are trying to reach? What are they trying to do (make a sale, build a prospect list, break even or profit, etc.)? Who are they selling to (demographics)? Why are they buying (psychographics)?

Be attentive to how long your competitor uses a given medium. Long runs likely means it’s profitable.

Gather information regularly and study it. This will help you make sensible choices. But, examine all your media alternatives first, then make your choice(s) at one time. This will yield the most intelligent decision.

After you collect and chart the information, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is my competitor connecting with?
  • Does my competitor profit from these connections?
  • Does my competitor have a single product or a line of products?
  • Does his advertising medium make sense for you?
  • If the medium makes sense, can I outmaneuver my competitor with a bold, client-centered act NOW message?

Don’t Get Discouraged by Your Competitors!

Let your competitors spend their money, make the mistakes, and pave the way for you! Then do what works for them while outsmarting them with client-centered, benefits-oriented marketing instead of the typical unsupported Self-Aggrandizing Claim-Based Marketing.


  • Put yourself on to relevant mailing lists.
  • Subscribe to periodicals that carry your competitor’s ads.
  • Join relevant trade organizations.
  • Make presentation and talks to relevant groups.

Also, you can find out which government agencies regulate your competitor’s business and find out what kinds of information they distribute.


Your prospect likely has limited money. When it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s a zero-sum game. When you get more, someone else gets less - and conversely.

  • Discover who your competitors are.
  • Monitor what they’re doing. Often.
  • Dig out their strongest case.
  • Dig out their weakest case, too.
  • Outmaneuver their strengths and emphasize their weaknesses.
  • Find cost-effective media where you can outmaneuver your competition or have the show to yourself.

Best of all, think of your competitor as part of your organization - collecting crucial information for you and saving your time and money!

Want more information? Click for FREE download --> "Secrets of Competitive Market Research" & Workook.

Exercise for the Serious Organization Builder.

Download an updated (FREE) version of the Business Builder Outline (PDF file).

"Hi Mike ... thanks for your Business Builder outline ... good overview of what to plan for! I am about to launch my business ... and want to make it 'franchisable'... a 'timely' download ... Thanks again, Ash"

Help your colleagues. Send them Profitable Venture Tactics

This eZine relies on subscriber's participation. So, it stands to reason, the more subscribers, the more participation. You can expand the circulation by telling your colleagues about Profitable Venture Tactics.

Your business and management colleagues will thank you for being so thoughtful. .

___ What did you learn today that you found most beneficial?

___ How will you apply what you have learned at work?

Please email us your comments!

Best Regards

Mike Hayden, Principal/Consultant
Your partner in streamlining business.

PS. Profitable Venture Tactics is FREE, click here to sign up.

PPS. To sign up for the FREE PVT Forum, click here.

Senior Management Services
9457 S. University Blvd. Suite 235 Highlands Ranch, CO 80126

(303) 585-1945
Fax: (952) 674-1767
Home page

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
(c) 2007 Mike Hayden, All rights reserved.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

How to use this website

FREE Secrets to Profitable Action Plans Workbook ($49 retail) plus Profitable Venture Tactics eZine ($197/yr. retail). (Please, no AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, or other free email addresses. Thanks.) Enter your information below.
E-mail Address:
First Name:
We respect your email privacy: We do not sell or rent our mail list to anyone at anytime for any reason.

CUSTOMER SERVICE: If you like our service, tell your friends. If not, please click here to send us your ideas, suggestions, or complaints so we can improve our service and web site. Thanks!