Why You Should Start Engaging in Competitive Business Monitoring
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
This applies to all aspects of life, but is particularly relevant when it comes to your marketing. Knowing how your marketing resonates with your target customers, and how your competitor’s marketing resonates with their audience, is very useful when planning your next campaign. 59% of SMB CEOs say the managing and running a business is a lot harder than it was 5 years ago because trends are quickly changing and it’s hard to keep up with competitors. An in-depth research about your competitor’s business, their audience, services and social media pages will tell you where they spend their time, and what channels give them the most engagement.
Every company has dozens, if not hundreds, of competitors in their industry. To filter out the noise it is important that you list out the 5-6 competing businesses who have a direct effect on your business. Once you have separated ‘signal from the noise’ by narrowing down who you want to keep an eye on, you should begin planning a sound monitoring strategy which can help you out-market them.
What Questions Does an Effective Competitive Benchmarking Strategy Answer?
The driving force behind every business is its competition. There is no such thing as “perfect monopoly” in today’s high-tech world because no matter how well you manage your business, assets, services or customers, you will always face someone who is doing a better job. Though these competitors can sometimes help you get an understanding of how your customers think, they will also be eyeing you for your weaknesses so they can kick you out of the industry and claim your market share.
Outmaneuver and Beat the Competitors
But the million-dollar question is, how do you do it? How do you design a monitoring strategy that works and helps you stay in the game for as long as you can? The answer to this is simple, to develop and manage an efficient monitoring strategy, you must set goals which your approach will be able to fulfill. Here are some questions that your strategy must answer.
You need all the information you can get your hands on in order to beat your competitors. Competitive monitoring analysis makes it easy to get answers to the following questions:
- Who are your competitor’s target audience?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- Is a new product/service about to be launched?
- Is there an area in the market which still remains untapped?
- What makes them stay at top?
- Are their products/services better than yours?
- Is their marketing campaign effective?
These questions will help you start your own competitive marketing because it will provide insights about how your competitor’s think and act. This information in-turn will help you come up with a strategy that is well-organized and effective. Now that we have explored the goals your competitive techniques must have, let’s look at why it is so important to monitor your competitors and how it can benefit your business.
How Business Monitoring Can Help You Succeed
Competitive business monitoring is going to punch holes into your budget. So why bother engaging? Why should you waste your time, money and effort spying on your competition? What’s in it for you? The truth is, no matter how many times you tell yourself that your competitors and their business doesn’t matter to you, they will have an impact on you and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Now that we have talked about its importance, let’s discuss how the strategy will benefit you.
Helps Judge and Evaluate
According to a recent study, 40% of entrepreneurs feel that competition has increased by many folds. If you want to keep up, you have to start monitoring today. If your monitoring analysis are on point and effective, you will find out how your competitors deal with crisis and how they manage to stay on top. This information in turn will help you predict their future moves and plans your moves accordingly. For instance, if your competitor is planning to launch a new product or marketing campaign, you can use the information to outsmart them before word even hits the market. However, you must remember that ethics play a big role in competitive marketing so you shouldn’t engage in any cheap tactics which will end up getting you into trouble.
Helps Arrange Counter
Actions Against Shocks
No matter how good you get at your business, there will always be surprises that you never expected. Things like a shift in trends, marketing strategies or a change in your customer’s preferences will have a huge impact on your business. And if you don’t see it coming, you will be drowned and this will ultimately cause your business to fail miserably. To avoid this, you need to keep yourself informed through your competitors so you can quickly modify your own tactics according to the shifts.
Also, competitive monitoring allows you to keep tabs on who is exiting the market and who is entering. Meaning, you are able to see any new threats in the form of incumbent firms and eliminate them before they establish a strong footing in the industry.
Prepares businesses regarding
how to deal with unwelcome surprises
Unwelcome surprises are always there, lurking around the industry. Whether those surprises be in terms of a change in industry rules and regulations, a shift in consumer preferences or possible modifications to your competitors strategies – they all have the potential to weaken your position in the market. Competitive monitoring enables you to have preliminary knowledge of the changes and shifts to industry which can help you better prepare strategies to deal with the unwelcome surprises.
Helps Minimize Losses
One of the best ways to avoid mistakes is to learn from others’ mistakes. If your business monitoring efforts are really effective, you will find out what the competition is doing wrong and avoid it. So if you are planning to launch a new product but have seen that customers didn’t respond well to the one provided by your competitor, you can stop all efforts, saving time and money. On the other hand, monitoring will also help you detect any moves that your opponent is thinking of making to make you run out of this. Because you will not be the only one monitoring, you can judge their actions and get ready with a plan that will help you stay in place.
About Untapped Markets
No industry is able to fulfil its customers’ needs fully. There are always some untapped areas in the market which need to be explored and looked into. Unfortunately, it is easier to detect inconsistencies in others businesses than your own. So though it may not look like your business is leaving anything out, running a deep analysis and report about your competition will help you look at the areas where their efforts aren’t focused. This in turn will help you look at your own discrepancies and correct them before time runs out.
Helps in discovering untapped
There are always gaps existing in the market which are yet to be untapped. Not everyone is able to discover the untapped market avenues though as it requires detailed and intricate knowledge of what products your competitors are producing and which consumers they are serving to. Competitive monitoring analysis can help you discover the inconsistencies in the market as it amasses a detailed report on your competitors strategies and practices. Thus, after having uncovered the untapped market, your business can come up with products and services that cater to customer needs that were previously left unmet.
Helps Discover New Opportunities
Though your main goal is to beat your competitors and move ahead, competitive monitoring can sometimes give you a chance to explore new opportunities. For example, if your analysis helps you see that a particular business is facing trouble with its cash flow, you can decide to lend a hand and merge into a partnership. Likewise, the competitor’s position maybe so bad that they are looking for a buyer, and this will help you buy their company for a bigger market share.
Helps You Know Your Worth
When you are laying out the groundwork for a particular project or paper, it helps to have background information. Same goes with a business. When you know what works and what doesn’t with your competitor, you are able to make better decisions on how to make your business go forward. Following your competitor will tell you if they are leaving footsteps behind for someone to follow in the industry or if no one cares where they are going.
The truth is, there are hundreds of uses of a well-thought of monitoring strategy, and we have only covered the most important ones. Now that you know how monitoring will positively impact your business, you need to explore social media and marketing tools which help you engage in competitive monitoring so it doesn’t seem like a challenge.
Competitive Analysis to Make You a More Impactful Marketer
Don’t market in a vacuum! Know what your competitors are doing
with every post, hashtag and SEO keyword.
SEO – Positioning
Determining the best title, H1, H2 tags and Meta Descriptions & Keywords Alerts – to changes in positioning
AdWords Insights into how many keywords, and what keywords your competitors are using
Cross Channel Analysis
Analyze Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn for the following metrics:
What iterations did your competitors go through, and
what’s working today?