Competition in your market is fierce. We know because that’s how it is in virtually all markets. You’re surely working hard to outwit and outsell your competitors in the field.
One strategy is to research, discover and observe all the nitty gritty details you can dig up on those competitors in order to craft a document called a competitive analysis.
What’s key when creating-- and updating-- your competitor analysis, is that it’s aligned with your business objectives and frequently incorporates up-to-date information to help your marketing and sales teams in the best way it can. Things change. Everything moves fast and companies and customers evolve. It’s imperative when analyzing competitor brands, you move at the same speed and keep up.
As social media and digital content have assumed far more impactful roles in marketing and advertising, we’ve noticed that competing brands need to be analyzed with some important considerations.
Ready to make your competitive analyses do more for you? Here are 5 things to keep in mind as you get started:
Not all public information is what it seems
Today, so much is public and out in the open. We can easily learn a lot about our rivals just by turning on our computers. It’s made modern competitor analysis better and allowed us to understand what is going on over at the rival brands. However, there is still so much that we don’t see happening behind the scenes.
It’s important to take a couple of things under advisement: first, brands talk themselves up-- just like you do too, right? Their public-facing information is often sugar coated and created by marketers who are calculated and strategic.
Secondly: it’s important to incorporate what people are saying about the brand into your analysis. Taking a temperature of the community can help you better understand just how successful they are at their efforts and gauge the effectiveness of product launches, campaigns, content creation and PR stunts, etc.
You can use social listening tools to dig deeper by excluding specific authors, removing ads and sponsored content when analyzing brands so you can get the real pulse of the community, not just see what brands and paid influencers are saying.
Monitor the community conversation and incorporate social listening into your competitive analysis to take it to the next level and be more accurate.
Everyone’s a competitor
Today’s most valuable marketing capital is attention. All of us, no matter the business, are vying for people’s attention. How can you stand out to people who have so much going on, so many errands to run, so many pictures to take, so much Instagramming and Snapchatting, so much Netflix to watch, so many long work weeks? How can you stand out to a community filled with exponentially shortening attention spans?
In that regard, everyone is a competitor. Every brand that is trying to catch the eye of a Facebook scroller or Google searcher, is out there trying to capture the attention of the masses.
While precise targeting (see below) will be especially important in reaching the right people, you must consider that even the best targeting doesn’t make you the only brand or entity that your potential customers will encounter.
As you’re conducting your competitive analysis, remember that the companies that are your direct competition are not your only competition in today’s fast-paced always-on world.
Analyze your target customers
Quality competitor analysis includes good detail on the analysis of the target customers. Why? A few reasons. When it comes to direct competitors to your business, it stands to reason that your customers share some similarities, if they’re not the same people. But on top of that: knowing key information about your customers can give you a clue as to what your competition might be up to. What strategies could they be considering? What product adjustments or improvements might be in the pipeline? Who is considering them as a customer?
A great way to dial up customer analysis is to get to the heart of their needs, passions, interests, influences and purchasing behavior. Identify what thoughts, feelings, emotions and situations may lead to a purchase decision and compare it to what your target audience is saying online. Look for trends and try to connect the dots between audiences’ online behavior and your competition’s activity.
Leverage Social Media During Competitive Analysis
Here’s the deal: your competitors are either on social media or they are going to be. In other words you’re either behind-- time to catch up!-- or you have a huge opportunity to get ahead.
The first step to leveraging social against your competing brands is to do a complete competitive analysis of the other brands’ social media marketing channels. What strategies are they employing? What channels are they on? What kinds of content do they produce? What opportunities are they missing out on that you can take advantage?
Social media gives you a great opportunity to monitor what other companies are doing. Not all information is out there, but brands are much more open as they use these online channels to market their business. You can’t glean everything from their digital networks, but you can gauge the community and use it to discover and determine what you want do with your social.
Utilize the right tools
Spying on your competitors isn’t espionage, it’s smart marketing! The competitive intelligence offered in today’s technology gives you so many opportunities to better understand how your rivals are perceived and the types of activities they’re engaged in.
Tools like SpyFu can help you analyze other brands' keywords so that you can accurately pinpoint their their SEO and PPC tactics and keep up with them in the world of search.
Go a step further: social listening and monitoring helps brands keep much closer tabs on their rivals. The advancement of marketing technology and social intelligence helps us peer into the world of the other brands and know more about them than ever possible previously.
With today’s resources and tools, your competitor analyses can be more precise than ever. Take full advantage of the advances in technology and consider the changes in consumer behavior and engagement and you’ll be on your way to discovering new insights about your competition.