Why Your Management Consulting Firm Should Consider a Competitor Analysis

When was the last time your management consulting firm conducted a competitor analysis?

Here at Hinge, we frequently perform competitor analyses both for ourselves and for our clients, and not only because new competitors crop up. As in any market, competitors modify their positioning, products and services to adapt to market needs.

Why is this important, you ask? After all, you can’t change what you do every time a competitor comes out with something new. Isn’t it better to let the competitors worry about you?

It’s important to conduct competitor analyses to stay on top of what your competition is doing and find new ways for your firm to generate sales. The problem with having a static brand is that customers will go elsewhere. Think Kodak and digital cameras, or any retailer versus Amazon. The same is true for management consulting: if a competitor puts marketing muscle behind a new twist on an old methodology or a core group of executives who become visible experts in your industry, then that firm is the one that attracts attention. 

Even if you know as an industry insider that your methodology is better and your team is equally capable, some prospects are hearing about the competitor’s attributes and knowledge base for the first time, and that information establishes the baseline for selecting a firm.  According to our latest research, team expertise/skills is the top reason that buyers choose a management consulting firm. Now, you’re on defense and need to beef up your strategy.

Another reason for conducting a periodic competitor analysis is somewhat surprising: most firms don’t know who their competition is. According to our research, 75% of the competitors identified by buyers of management consulting services were not even considered competition by the firms selling the services. 

There are many more competitors out there than firms realize, and it is likely they are winning business. At a minimum, they have a presence in the minds of your prospects and clients, and that is at the expense of mindshare about you and your firm.  Changing that dynamic is a matter of getting in front of clients and prospects regularly so you can develop those relationships. The research points to activities like networking, personal visits, a referral program and developing a reputation for results as ways to deepen relationships. 

On the last point about developing a reputation, it’s worth noting that reputation is only half the battle. You need visibility for audiences to know about you and your expertise.  Even your clients may not know the extent of what you offer. Also, your world must be bigger than your clients.  Executives and staff leave for other firms, for instance, so you need to establish new relationships with current clients. 

To be certain, competitors struggle with the same issues you do: prospecting, closing deals, service delivery, reputation building and more.  Conducting a competitor analysis can show their points of weakness, which can create opportunities for you to highlight your reputation in those areas.  Then your firm will stand out in the sea of competitors in the management consulting industry. 

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Author: Chris Ourand The adage of there being a time to tear down and a time build is evident through Chris’s history of dissecting marketing challenges and making sure that strategies are constructed for success. With a complete set of analytical and strategic skills, he helps professional services firms establish breakthrough branding, grow with marketing that capitalizes on competitive advantages and then dominate their markets.

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