Gathering Data on Competitors' Clients
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Enticing the customers from a competitor - is a dream for any manager and owner of the organization. The firm may want to take a larger market share or just weaken the opponent's position.
Therefore, the most effective solution to expand the business by enticing customers is to create a special system, which will be added with known data about customers of our competitors, the results of theoretical and field studies, statistics. We will need: contacts of our competitors’ clients, a business offer, and money to perform the research.
Open sources of information about customers and distribution channels of the competitors commonly are corporate websites, brochures and other promotional materials. Close sources: personal contracts with clients, marketing reports of work with clients, accounting records, shipping documents.
At first sight, these data are on the surface. Most of our competitors show the information about their clients without any concealment. But the illusive openness should not misinform us. In the international business, many issues are private and treated only within direct agreements with clients.
Such relationships are not always reflected in the contracts and accounting documents. For each case, they are unique. There is a region where our brand is not presented or its presence is not enough. We must take a share of the market in the region, striking the competitors.
We know that our product is more competitive than the same of our competitors, but clients avoid working with us, so there are some challenges. Judging from experience, we suppose that this may be a personal relationship between employees of clients and competitors.
You can try to get information from the client. It better should be done indirectly, through a third party - a neutral company that can make contact with the object of our research. Having received the information, we will carefully check it and send to a competitor (Krippendorff, 2012).
Some clients ask a lot of questions, and in fact, the customer who knows where to look and what to touch, most likely, is an expert. After the first phrases we can easily determine client’s market image, his beliefs, if the criteria correctly match our items.
Vital part of the client study of our competitors is to improve our ability to lure these customers. In any case, this work can be done as an experiment, in terms of the new database. There are different approaches to gather information about the clients of our competitors. It’s obvious that a very little amount of firms make first contact directly.
A great role today is given to mail communication and Internet. Or it may be face-to-face meetings and direct luring the customers. Therefore, a complete performing of the client base of the competitor can be only performed though the field studies.
Let’s detail the examples of practical contact with customers of our competitors to build future learning schemes and for luring. We should understand the ethical issues that our system will cause. It is not a new practice but each corporation is unique. For an example, we visit a private person with questions and direct offer. But in response, will get a rough form of rejection if we contact them by phone or knock their doors – in this case the problem is our interference of their life. Or let's say the client of our competitor is a firm. We offer them our services without trial examining the ethical principles of their organization, and learn that they honor the loyalty. This negative experience in the collection of data can cause serious problems.
These are the means of collecting data through the practical contact.
- Phone calls to customers of a competitor. It is important to find out some information about the clients’ satisfaction of their needs, about the possibility of working with us for mutual benefit. Telephone calls eliminate physical and eye contact, so customers can tell you their thoughts more open.
- Send an e-mail message. The difficulty is that it is not easy to obtain the address of the person. It may not be in the databases of the competitor, we are studying. Our competitors may not publish addresses of their customers on the corporate website, so we have to examine the issue.
- To make a list-offer. To do this, we should design print flyers and place them in the mailboxes of customers of a competitor. Usually, it is even more difficult to do. The personal data of the clients most likely to be hidden.
- To visit potential customers. This method is suitable for companies that are just starting to process a particular area occupied by a competitor. This approach of studying the clients of our competitors involves eye contact.
- To take a position in front of the office of a competitor. This way, we can "catch" a client who uses or intends to use the services of rival firms. To do this, we can put the promoters or set a billboard. This way of learning is perhaps the most unethical and can bring our company troubles.
- To organize a special event for customers of a competitor. For example, at the time the products of competitors expire we can offer our own at a good discount on the purchasing of services (Koer, 2012).
Of course, different methods are suitable for different clients – companies or private persons. Dealing with firms it will not cause any problems to gather information about them - the competitors usually share it openly. But with individuals it will be more difficult - almost impossible to get addresses, phone numbers, and e-mails by means of fair competition.
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