Let’s discuss the best ways to use competitive intelligence in today’s market. As a business owner, there’s no doubt that you would focus on collecting data and researching the best marketing strategies solely for your business. However, monitoring your competition’s marketing strategies and how they perform is just as important.
In this article, we will talk about what competitive intelligence is, how to gather it, and how to use it to your own advantage.
What is competitive intelligence?
According to Leadspace, gathering competitive intelligence is the act of monitoring the competition in your niche or industry and making business decisions based on gathering data. The secret behind gathering competitive intelligence is that you don’t have to run your own campaigns in order to see what works and what doesn’t. Your competition can do the trial and error while you sit back and collect the data.
In other words, gathering competitive intelligence lets you make better decisions by studying your competitors and the business environment that surrounds it. The digital world has made it easier to collect data for your own gain, giving you the opportunity to build upon others’ success.
How a business can identify their main competitors
There are many ways that you can identify who your main competitors are in your industry. One of the most obvious methods is using Google search. However, using Google alone can be time consuming and won’t give you the needed data to really see how other businesses in your industry are doing. That is why WhatRunsWhere is a helpful tool for discovering your competitors. WhatRunsWhere gives marketers the option to look up competitors in your niche by using relevant keywords. WhatRunsWhere also provides a category search tool that allows you to find competing marketers by niche.
Competitive intelligence data such as this can help your business identify leads or opportunities that have not yet been discovered by competitors.
Ultimately, having that competitive intelligence, such as knowing their ad strategies, can give you insight into their failures that could be your success.
Useful metrics for building a competitive marketing strategy
As mentioned before, the biggest benefit of competitive intelligence is the ability to use data from other campaigns and identify trends or patterns of your niche. In this instance, you should think like a marketer and track your competition’s strategy over time by paying attention to their trial and error. This will ultimately help you build a better competitive marketing strategy.
Here are some useful metrics for monitoring your competition and building your competitive marketing strategy around:
Tracking the length of your competition’s campaigns
The length of your competition’s campaigns can show whether it was a success or a failure. If a campaign has been running for a long period of time, it can indicate that it’s making conversions. However, if it has only ran for a short period of time, the campaign is most likely not doing well.
Tracking the length of your competition’s campaign can show you what is and what isn’t working in your niche. Therefore, this type of predictive metric can steer your creatives in the right direction and produce a competitive marketing strategy that creates conversions.
Noting the publishers used by competition
Another predictive metric you can use is by taking note of the publishers your competition uses. For example, you might notice that your competitor has switched to a publisher that usually targets males to one that targets females. This could help you predict that there might be a change in their demographic.
Finally, looking at the categories of publishers used by your competition can also help you predict changes to their marketing strategy. For instance, if they’ve been using personal blogs and now are no longer a top category, this could mean a change in your competition’s strategy or niche.
Monitoring the use of banner, text, and hybrid ads
The preferred use of ad types on desktop, mobile site, and apps can indicate where your competition focuses on and where they don’t. For example, if they’ve been running text ads on their mobile site for a while, you can infer it’s been successful and they will continue to run them. However, you too can also run text ads for mobile while also testing banner ads in this space to see it gains traction and top your competitors. After all, the point of an ad is to bring the targeted audience to a call to action. Ultimately, the type of ad can make a difference along with the content of it.
Following their testing activities
Another way to predict changes to your competitors marketing strategies is to see which ones they test. This can include testing new ad spaces, copy, and geographic location.
For example, if you noticed a change in geographic location for their ads or that they start appearing in other spaces, they are probably testing a new strategy.
When you notice these changes, monitor how long they last. If they end up lasting for a time, that most likely means that it was a successful change. From here, you can predict that they will stick with that strategy.
Predicting changes in landing pages
Because landing pages are where conversions happen, this is a key strategy to look out for.
There are numerous tools that allow you to track your competitors’ landing pages so that you can see what components of it are successful and can apply it to your own ads.
Once again, this metric can be used to forecast changes in your competitor’s strategy.
There’s no doubt that these predictive metrics can aid in your future marketing strategies. However, these tools can be a little complicated for someone who isn’t well-versed in them and not to mention expensive. Not only does SEO Design Chicago have the experts and tools, but also uses SEO analysis to gather the competitive intelligence you need.
Affordable ways to gather competitive intelligence
As you can see, collecting information about your competition will be extremely helpful in discovering a lot about them. However, using the tools mentioned above can come with a price.
If you’re looking to save on your marketing budget, here are 7 inexpensive ways to gather competitive intelligence:
Use your sales team
Because your sales team talks to customers and prospects everyday, they have the opportunity to gather competitive intelligence. Use this to your advantage by giving them a key question each week and collecting answers from customers and potentials.
Understand why you win and lose
Every win and loss can bring valuable competitive intelligence. That’s why making a win/loss analysis should become a part of your marketing strategy. Surveying your customers why they chose you (or why you won) over your competition can be great input. If you lose, ask them why they selected another business and what you could’ve done differently.
Whenever your sales team makes in-person calls, have them take pictures of the visitor sign-in sheets. This can be a great use of data to see the type of competition you have and who they are targeting.
Tap your partners
Most times your vendors, manufacturing, and other business partners can provide insight into competitor’s strategies and methods. Be receptive of competitor pamphlets, business cards, or price quotes given to your partners.
Listen to your competitors
When information is out in the open, take advantage of it. In other words, if your competitors host events like speaking engagements, webinars/webcasts, conference sessions, etc. attend them. The internet also provides ample information as well. Make sure to visit their website, blogs, and social media.
Shadow your competitors
As mentioned earlier, monitor their marketing strategies and see if they work. If you see that their strategies are successful, it’s safe to say that using them would be successful for you too.
Watch what’s public
Following press releases and publicity on your competitors can also provide valuable insight. You can keep track of this by setting up a Google Alert for each of your competitors so that you’re up to date. It also wouldn’t hurt to follow their social media or subscribe to their newsletters or blogs.
How to leverage competitive intelligence strategy
When you monitor competitive intelligence strategy, not only are you predicting your competition’s next move but also gaining a competitive advantage.
As a business owner, especially if you’re expanding your customer base, you need to gather competitive intelligence strategies. Ultimately, this information will be key to developing strategies to one-up your competitors’ strengths and strike their weaknesses.
Some other ways to leverage competitive intelligence strategy include:
- Tapping into untouched markets that your competitors may have missed.
- Targeting new audiences you might’ve overlooked.
- Being able to back out of markets that seem to not be working for your competitor.
- Crafting content that stands apart from your competition and unique in your market.
- Giving insight into what content your target audience resonates with the most.
- Expanding on the most commonly used keywords to create content that converts and offers something your competitions don’t.
As you can see, gathering competitive intelligence can be vital to the future success of your marketing campaigns. In digital media marketing, the fight to outrank your competition and win over potential customers can seem never ending. However, to quote The Art of War, if you know your enemy and yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.