Creating an effective marketing strategy is integral to a company’s success. And one of the integral steps in creating a marketing strategy is a thorough understanding of your competition, which is done through a competitive analysis. A competitive analysis looks at all aspects of your top competitors to gain insight into how they’re perceived in the marketplace, how they’re reaching their target audiences, and what marketing tactics they’re using. The goal is to better understand where your company lives within the marketplace as compared to competition; what your strengths and weaknesses are based on competition; and what gaps (opportunities) your company can potentially take advantage of.
Here are the steps to conduct a competitor analysis.
Gaining a Competitive Edge
- To begin, first to identify who you consider both direct and indirect competitors. It’s important to keep an eye on indirect competitors because they could shift at any point, becoming a direct competitor.
- Next, identify products or services that directly compete with your own products or services.
- Do a deep analysis of their content marketing tactics. Explore their website, understand what type of content they are distributing, and take notice of how their website is set up. For example, do they have a blog, podcast, news section, etc.
- Determine how often they’re posting content as well as the quality of the content. In-depth versus quickly digestible will give you an idea of how much investment they’re making and how valuable they feel content is to their overall marketing strategy.
- Analyze their social media presence and identify what kind of content they are promoting. Note how often they are posting, what days/times they receive the most engagement, and what posts are receiving the most engagement. Also look at who their followers are and who they are following, what hashtags they’re using, which social media accounts they use the most and how they engage with audiences.
- Perform a SWOT Analysis to determine their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Reaping the Benefits
Once your company has successfully performed the steps above, you can now focus on what your competitors are doing well and take advantage of any weak points you identified during the analysis. Specifically, look at what you identified as weaknesses and threats and figure out the best way to take advantage of those.
Knowing your competitor is an important part of knowing your industry and how your company fits within it. As you can see, there is a lot that can be gleaned from a competitive analysis that can help to strengthen your own marketing strategy.