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Old 4th November 2005, 12:35 PM   #1
4ndr3w
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Default Where does a niche marketer find competitive market intelligence?

So, it's time to update the business plan to find additional funding for expansion.

When we first drafted the plan, I was able to obtain only very general market intelligence from the North American Celtic Buyers Association - a trade group that works to put Irish crafters together with Irish-themed stores/retailers in North America. This was very helpful info for benchmarking and planning.

This is a very niche industry, very fragmented. But that's what makes it so attractive. I'm betting lots of us chose our business for similar reasons. But one of the problems is, where do I get information on individual competitors? I have to have real competitive analysis in this revision, but I have no idea where to start. Google has not been my friend on this one. I've spent eight hours, all told, searching for this very specific type of information with no luck.

Someone here must have already solved this problem before. What did you do? Am I wrong to assume I need specific case studies in the first instance?

I look forward to your advice!

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Old 5th November 2005, 11:16 AM   #2
bragadocchio
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Hi Andrew,

Locating specific competitors?

I'm sure that you've probably conducted a number of searches to see if you could find other sites that offer celtic crafts. If Google isn't helping you, you might want to try Yahoo! and MSN, too. I would definitely look in more than one search engine. I'd also use a site like this one which shows how certain terms rank in both Google and Yahoo! for certain terms at the same time:

http://www.langreiter.com/exec/yahoo...=celtic+crafts

Try some other terms that might what your potential customers will search for.

You'll also want to try to find offline competitors, too. Those might be a little harder to locate, but you should be able to find where the biggest markets are. I'm going to suspect that some of those may still engage in catalog sales, and in news letters online. Of course, you will want to get copies of things like those catalogs and newsletters.

If you can get a copy, you might want to look through an issue or two of the Maine Antique Digest - see http://www.maineantiquedigest.com/ If you can't find a copy, send me a PM or an email, and I'll see if I can send you a copy. My local news stand carries it. While it focuses upon antiques, it also does a great job with collectibles and art work, including folk art. It covers a lot wider range than just Maine. That may be the closest to an "industry" journal for this area that you can find. But, I'd look around to see if there are others. It is a fragmented niche. That's what makes it both difficult to explore and worth exploring.

I would also probably start exploring related niche markets to see how they interlap with the one that you are exploring. You may find your competitors exploring those areas, and these are related niches that you want to look at for your marketing efforts, too. You may find links to your competitors on the pages of these niche markets.

For instance, the Celtic music market isn't mainstream by any means, but there may be some overlap there that could be of value exploring. There are a number of forums and shops which focus on the music that may be nice partners, both for linking purposes, and for sharing referrals. Assuming those are good places to have a presence, which crafters, and craft stores are linked to on those sites?

I did a search on:

Celtic usa

Found a lot of sites that may be competitors, and some that might be folks you might want to create relationships with. In addition to looking for links and competitors, you may want to find some communities that are interested in celtic arts and crafts. Those can give you a lot of insight into what people are interested in, and are looking for.

Here's one that might interest you:

http://www.celtarts.com/list.htm

There's a link to the Yahoo! discussion list at the bottom of the page, but this page includes links to a lot of potential competitors and partners.

As for conducting the competitive analysis itself, you've probably seen a page like this one from the SBA on competitive analysis, but if you haven't, it has a number of ideas that may be helpful to you in performing that type of analysis:

http://www.sba.gov/starting_business.../analysis.html

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Old 6th November 2005, 02:51 PM   #3
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Hi Bill,

Thanks for the tips. I have had no trouble finding competitors in the space - there are some power keywords associated with the niche, and everyone is bidding on them like crazy, so one has to look no further than the SERPs for competition.

I guess what I am hoping to find is data about the competitors themselves, like gross revenue, average order value, order volume, things like that. I was wondering if there are sources for this kind if information - free or paid - that folks here have used with success.

Any more suggestions out there?

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Old 13th November 2005, 05:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
“Google has not been my friend on this one.”
Welcome to information-overpopulation and Google’s increasingly futile efforts to combat it. If you want to make a buck online 5 years from now you’d better be in the process of creating and specializing a service that is not based on offering information.


Anyway, back to your original question….
From your post (“American Celtic Buyers Association”) it sounds as though your business has a cultural influence. In which case (or even if it doesn’t) I would look to federal sources. The United States Government updates a vast amount of information that is at your fingertips at the following sources. I would assume that the answers to your questions are within these pages.

www.census.gov (click on “Economic Census”)

Publicly traded companies must report the data that you are looking for to the Fed. Sec. & Exchg. Comm. here:
www.sec.gov

How about:
www.census.gov/cir/www/index.html

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