At the beginning of any client engagement – big or small, B2B or B2C, manufacturing or distributor – we take the time to sit down and complete a competitive analysis. It’s part of the first step in Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy that LEADS the Way. L in leads stands for “Lay out a Strategic Comprehensive Internet Marketing Plan” and it’s the assessment and planning phase. This step is crucial to the success of your Digital Marketing Strategy, with a measure twice, cut once approach.
Mark Twain once said, “Comparison is the death of joy.” While that might be true as an individual, we’d argue it’s the opposite in the business world. Why? Your competition is your best friend; they’ll (unknowingly) share with you the secrets for success. They can help you assess what’s happening in the industry now, what trends are emerging, and how you can position yourself ahead of the pack. They are able to reveal your strengths and highlight your shortcomings; they are a valuable way to identify new goals.
Understanding what your competition is doing is not about copying. It’s about working smarter. They’ve already done some of the work by telling you where you need to be and how you can get there. They can also expose new opportunities prime for the taking. Learning from them, you can spend your time and marketing dollars more wisely, so take advantage of it!
Know Your Competition
Your top competitors online may be completely differently than those you run against offline. It’s important to understand, while there are many variables that can impact a company’s success in the real world, the Internet can be a level playing field. The smallest business can look like the largest company when displaying an amazing responsive website and well executed Internet Marketing strategy. Delineating online versus offline competitors will ensure your competitive analysis is most accurate; so don’t discount the little guys!
Completing a Successful Competitive Analysis
While there’s no magic number for how many competitors you have, we recommend starting with a short list that features the top 3-6. This should be anyone who sells competing products or services in the geographies that you target, or wish to expand into. Since you want to review their Internet Marketing strategy, you will want to compile a list of their URL addresses. Then, you can start unlayering their strategy by looking at key website features, how much traffic the site gets and from where, and how they’re managing their social media.
For more information, stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on the top considerations for a successful competitive analysis. If you’re ready to get started now, please contact us for a free consultation.