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Market, Competitor Surveys

Market and competitor surveys are conducted to:
  • Benchmark comparable distribution programs to position your offer both to end users and to your channel operators.
  • Gain new customers for your existing products and services.
  • Develop new or improved products or services.
  • Find new distributors or management personnel.
  • Uncover and evaluate new channels of distribution.
  • Find strategic alliances.
  • Find candidates for mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures.

When structuring or restructuring your distribution program it is useful to know how comparable programs are structured. The purpose is not to copy what other companies are doing, but to position your program competitively. When you are franchising, we are usually able to obtain the necessary information from franchise offering circulars, which are on file with various state agencies; with other channels, it is usually necessary to conduct a limited market and competitive survey, which is explained in more detail below.

As you periodically update your marketing, strategic, and business plans, or seek to improve your profitability through adding new or improved products and services, new customers, and new markets, a good understanding of your environment (both at the chain and unit levels) is essential. A combination of primary and secondary research usually yields the best value.

Our surveys typically start by interviewing your own staff (see Efficiency Audits) to gain additional suggestions for both primary and secondary research. Secondary research is used to find data already collected by government organizations and other organizations and published in trade journals, on the Internet, etc. It is also used to find targets for primary research, including writers of industry articles, trade associations, existing customers, brokers, and competitors. Moreover, interview guides for primary research are developed based on the results of our secondary research.

Primary research involves interviews with industry insiders, publications, associations, competitors, franchisees, common suppliers, etc. Some of these sources may be more willing to talk to our interviewers than to organizations perceived of as competitors. When the final analysis of this research is married with the results of an internal audit and company goals and objectives, plans may be drawn up or validated or more appropriate strategies and tactics developed and implemented. As we constantly learn during our research, it is important to build some flexibility into the project, including at least one interim sharing of findings and a possible adjustment to the scope of the project.

We rely heavily on our senior staff for primary research. Because they are able to use a more conversational format than a typical questionnaire, the interview objects are more likely to open up and allow more time for an interview. Moreover, our interviews are usually structured around one or more topics of general interest in the industry, and we are able to offer valuable insight or perspective during the interview. Thus, our interviews become a fair give and take for each participant, although we gain a superior understanding of the entire picture from having participated in all of the interviews (usually, we assign just one person to conduct all interviews) and having framed the issues to avoid divulging sensitive information ourselves.

In a majority of situations, we are able to obtain almost as much information from a fully completed telephone interview (80-90 percent) as we do from an interview in person. When you consider that it may be possible to complete as much as 4-5 telephone interviews in a day and seldom more than two interviews in person, it should be obvious that telephone interviews are the better value. They require less time for the same amount of information, and costs of long distance calls are significantly less than travel and accommodations costs.

Our research findings are reported in a format most conducive to furthering your goals and objectives; this format may best be described as a step-by-step action plan supported by the findings. Our senior consultants conducting the research are selected for their ability to use research fragments obtained from many sources to formulate not only a picture of current conditions, but also a likely future scenario and how this future scenario may be influenced by the strategy that you adopt. The value of this analysis may often surpass the value of the actual data collected and should become an integral part of your overall corporate strategy.

Most research projects of this kind can be accomplished by spending 2-3 days on secondary research, 2-3 days on interview guides and internal discussions, 5-7 days on telephone interviews (which allows for approximately 20-30 completed interviews), 3-4 days on data tabulation and analysis, and 2-3 days for report preparation and presentation, for a total of 14-20 days during a 3-4 week period. For greater accuracy, you may want to increase the number of interviews, but it is seldom necessary to conduct more than 50-60 telephone interviews to gain a good understanding the issues at hand. For a quick benchmarking study, a couple of days of research may be adequate.

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News... A recent US Supreme Court decision reversed a long-standing precedent and declared it not necessarily illegal for chains to set minimum prices. The same had been said earlier for maximum prices. The legality of price fixing is, therefore, now fully based on the effect it may have on the markets. READ MORE

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"Due to your outstanding work, we have gained 42 new locations in 23 states within two years of expanding. I highly recommend Cencir for strategic planning and all aspects of channels of distribution development."
-Allen Hager, President, Right At Home, Omaha, NE
Our consultants have advised hundreds of companies of all sizes in most industries worldwide, including such brands as Commerce Clearing House, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, 3M, Pacific Bell, SealMaster, SkyTel, Sears, Henchy Industries, Hyatt Hotels, Ace Hardware, Beard & Warner, CBS, Stewart Warner, United Airlines, Northwest Orient, Coldwell Banker, Fidelity, Freuhauf Trailer, Buffalo Wild Wings, Budget Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, Ryder Truck Rental, Chevron, Getty Oil, BP/Amoco, Mobil, Shell, Texaco Europe (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), St-Hubert BBQ (Canada), Pollo Campero (Guatemala), Helados Bon (Dominican Republic), Max’s (the Philippines), Nestle (Switzerland, Italy), Sonae Group/Orbitur Campgrounds (Portugal), The International Investor (Kuwait, England, Switzerland), Sushi Parties (Japan), L.O.G. (Norway).

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"Cencir's franchising experts made the difference in transforming C&O [Beard Papa's master franchisee] into a successful master franchisee. The principals at Cencir are seasoned veterans in a league of their own, high and above everyone else in their franchise expertise. They walked us through the franchise disclosure documents and difficult and sensitive negotiations that had little room for error. We accomplished more than our objectives."
-Luigi Cruz, Founder & CEO, C&O, Foster City, CA
"We always want this ultimate business professional on our team." -Vic Koppang, President and CEO, Koppang Franchise Development Company (Modernistic Carpet Cleaning)

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of our channels of distribution seminar. A seminar enrollment form is available at Seminars. Want immediate attention? Call 708-672-3957 or drop us an Email for a no-obligation discussion of your situation. [top]