Many marketers use Google Alerts. For themselves and the competitors. Or they get an email every time with ‘see what competitor X is doing’. This enormous amount of competitive intelligence is not always used well. Is it not smarter to limit the competitive analysis to the truly valuable and action-oriented insights? Here are 5 tips.
Before I share my tips with you, it is important to keep something in mind. Competitive insights are valuable because they help you in your daily decision-making processes. However, in my opinion it should never be the goal to copy a strategy from a competitor. To be as unique as possible can be a force in 2018. Nevertheless, insights can always be used as the foundation of your strategic decisions.
Time for practice.
1. How is the online landscape divided?
Dividing the online landscape into relevant segments can provide new insights. Many companies work successfully on a daily basis with a form of the AIDA model. Another way to divide the landscape is to see what space you have, what space you earn every day and for what space you pay. Also called earned, paid and owned media. If the digital landscape is divided, it can be valuable to know your position in each of these segments. This can only be done well if it can be set off against the positions of direct competitors. Knowing the distribution of the digital landscape leads to a better understanding of your market. This will help you make the right strategic decisions.
2. Where do I leave it?
After having gained this first insight, a logical next step is to check where you are currently lagging behind the competition. Your own Google Analytics account may say that you currently generate the most sales / largest ROI from SEA, and the least from social. A decision based on this insight could be that the SEA budget should be broadened and there should be less focus on social. But if the insights of the competition show that this competition has many more followers and those followers are also more engaged, this can lead to different decisions. For example, at this point you may be better off talking to your social manager about the current strategy before you write off the channel based on your own data.
3. What is the (digital) market leader very good at?
Staying in the above example, it may be a good time to inspire yourself. If a party is market leader in the field of social, it is recommended to see how it appeals to its audience. What does this party do better? If you do this research, do not just keep your own market. There are many smart and cool companies where you can get inspiration from. If you are inspired, you benchmark your own strategy and repair the loose ends in a way that suits your brand and adds value for your (potential) customers.
4. Do I provide a good mobile experience?
Since the functionalities of mobile devices have improved significantly and the adoption rate has grown steadily, marketers talk about ‘the year of mobile’. We can at least say that the potential of mobile devices in marketing is known. For this reason, many companies have been working hard on their mobile experience with varying success in recent years. Because a lot of time is spent and the potential is great, it will be worthwhile to compare your mobile experience with that of your competitors. There are several metrics available that can help you to benchmark your mobile experience. Examples of this are the ratings of your app, the average number of downloads of your app and your mobile SEO ranking compared to your desktop SEO ranking. If your competitor’s app is judged better, more often downloaded and your competitor dominates the mobile SEO rankings, there may still be some work to do.
5. How is the seasonality in the market (and how do I respond to this)?
Virtually every industry has a certain degree of seasonality. The travel industry is an obvious example, but daily products, such as groceries, also show peaks in use every year around Christmas and the Easter days, for example. For some markets it is less clear when consumers make the most use of certain services or products. And so it is less obvious if marketers want to invest the most in this.
Competition analysis: 2 options
A competitive analysis with regard to paid advertising in your market could provide insight into this cycle in your market. With this information you can then do two things. You could, of course, increase your advertising budget during the periods when competitors also spend a lot of money to compete with them in these seemingly profitable periods. Another option is to spend more money in periods when relatively little is spent by competitors. This would allow you to benefit from the lighted competition, and perform better than if you were fully committed to the busy periods. Whatever decision you make, it starts with the right information.
The above insights are intended to help you take maximum advantage of available data. More and, more importantly, better information helps you to actively evaluate and improve your strategy to get the maximum possible value from the digital landscape.
What were valuable competitive insights for you? Let us know in the comments under this article!