Paul Dibbayawan: I think it’s important to understand the competitive landscape in any target market is because you have to know where you’re stepping. And if you start walking into areas that you’re not aware of, and the competitors are quite strong, they could crush you in a heartbeat. If you’re coming up from New Zealand you are generally a lot smaller than possibly some of the other players unless you are pioneering that category, which means you do need to be wary of what is out there so you can come up with the right mitigating strategies.
Geraldine Schnauer: It would be nice to think that there aren’t other businesses operating in the market but, of course, there are. And we typically, for the early stages, just used online, telephone, you know interviews, calls, and being in market also when you’re visiting prospects, visiting customers; that’s the best chance you have really of finding out who else is supplying them.
Paul Dibbayawan: The advice I’d give to new exporters doing competitor analysis is - and it may sound obvious - but define who your competitor is; it may not necessarily be the obvious one, it may not be the one that is necessarily in your category but it may be something else or an alternate to your product that you may not have thought about. So try and think of it holistically in terms of when would your consumer use your product and how would they use your product, and see what else is around there that is not necessarily the same as what you do.
Geraldine Schnauer: The main benefit for us with understanding the competition was that it really helped us differentiate ourselves and things that we take for granted probably in New Zealand because we’ve been operating so long and we’re very well-known, is that we weren’t well-known at all over there and so we had to establish ourselves. And by understanding the competition and going to market you really that, you know, you were a niche player to leverage off the New Zealand reputation. Also the heritage we had, the fact that we had that control over manufacturing, that meant that we could personalise things, custom-make things to companies and it definitely made us aware of those points of difference by going through this process because there were things that you don’t really think about when you’re supplying the domestic market.
Paul Dibbayawan: The top three benefits of doing competitor analysis is, one, to know who your potential enemy is. Secondly, is to make sure that you feel that you have the tools and the equipment to be able to combat that should they start coming at you. And then thirdly, it’s seeing “Well, what are they doing right and what are they doing well that you could learn from?”