Regardless of industry, having a firm, continually updated knowledge of your clients and their key competitors is a must across the board.
Trade shows often provide easy access to all of your client’s competitors under one collective roof, and it’s one of the ways we at VantagePoint help audit our clients’ competitive landscape. As you navigate your industry’s trade shows, use these tips for keeping an eye on competitors and documenting key learnings to help inform future tactics and positioning.
- Have an objective. What is the main focus of your competitive research? At trade shows, we often look to see how competitors are positioning themselves through graphics, messaging and the overall booth experience. Your objectives may be different, but you should know these ahead of time in order to be as focused and efficient with your research as possible with your limited time on the show floor.
- Do your prep work. Understand who your client’s main competitors are and who’s attending the show. Does one have a new product launch you want to see? Do you know someone invested heavily in a new booth footprint? Map out your route to maximize your floor time.
- Document your findings in real-time. Ensure you have some way to capture what you see, in both photos and notes, in order to paint the full picture of the competitor landscape post show.
- Analyze. Having all of your documentation and onsite experience and exposure, now it’s time to sit down, reflect and analyze. You’re looking for trends, patterns, unique instances — things their competitors are doing well and things they did poorly. The end goal here is to identify some key takeaways that help inform you and your client on how to be well-positioned in their space. Identify areas of opportunity to continue to differentiate them from their main competition and work together to resolve gaps in communications, graphics, collateral, etc. to keep them ahead of the pack.
At the end of the day, competitive audits should allow you and your customer to glean some key nuggets of information to help identify what’s going on in the industry, benchmark against competitors and get new ideas for future marketing initiatives — all with the end goal of standing out in the market place and on the show floor.