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The Spying Game

Spies like you, street-smart marketing

It's official. You're going to start your own business. You know what you plan to sell and who your customers or clients will be. But how will you decide what your marketing materials should look like or even what you'll charge for your products or services? You need to become an amateur sleuth and gather competitive intelligence to create an on-target marketing program and tailor your services or products to position against the competition.

It's important to complete a competitive analysis during the start-up phase of your new business, about the time you're putting together your marketing plan. In fact, if you get underway without performing a competitive analysis, you run the risk of creating marketing tools and product or service offerings that are way off the mark. This can cost you valuable time and money during the critical early months. You should also plan to gather competitive intelligence as your business grows, in order to stay competitive.

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Kim Gordon is the owner of National Marketing Federation and is a multifaceted marketing expert, speaker, author and media spokesperson. Her latest book is Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars.

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This article was originally published in the October 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Spying Game.

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