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Develop a Full Understanding of your Competitive Market

June 6, 2013

Today’s post is courtesy of by Benjamin Sawa, Corporate Development Manager at GEI Consultants, and Treasurer of SMPS Boston. He can be reached at bsawa@geiconsultants.com.

question-markBeing a successful Marketer or Business Developer requires many capabilities, skills, and knowledge. One critical area of importance is understanding your competitive market. Broadly speaking, this entails 3 major areas:

  1. Know your Company
  2. Know your Competitive Landscape
  3. Know your Clients

Know your Company

It’s important to understand what your company does. Without it, how can you be an effective marketer? This includes developing a deep understanding of the history of your company, the services that they offer, and the major projects they have completed. You don’t have to be a technical expert, but the more you understand, the better your proposals will be and the more credible you will be in the eyes of both your company and your clients.

Know your Competitive Landscape

Marketers must also understand how your company positions itself in their market. Do they compete on price and efficiency – or do they differentiate themselves as providers of value-added service? Knowing how your company competes is just as important as understanding what your company does and will help you position your company successfully.

As part of this understanding, you should investigate the nature of the competitive landscape. Who are your major competitors? How do they differentiate themselves? What new technologies, business models, or other innovations are they offering to the market?

Know your Clients

And to save the most important concept for last – know your clients. As Peter Drucker once said, the sole purpose of any business – no matter what they do – is to create a customer. Who is your customer, and what do they want? Without understanding your clients’ needs and issues you won’t be in business for long. Make sure you are creating solutions and delivering services that meet their needs, and that you understand how your role fits into their larger goals and aspirations.

Things you can do

Markets constantly change and those that can’t keep up will eventually cease to exist. For this reason, you should be sure to stay up to date! Subscribe to industry periodicals such as  CE News, Boston Business Journal, Architectural Record, etc… This will help you understand your competitive landscape, what new developments are being planned, and how new technologies are changing your industry. You should also  read the periodicals that your clients read; this will help you understand what is driving them.

Stay in front of your clients. Go to where your clients go – conferences, organizational events, etc., and listen to what they have to say. This type of intelligence gathering will be invaluable to you and your firm.

Finally, network with colleagues in your industry by attending SMPS Boston events. They are a great way to meet people in your industry, understand the currents shaping the AEC market, and most of all – they are always fun!

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