It may seem like a good idea, mimicking the habits of a successful business. However, in this oversaturated market, it can have the opposite effect. With so many similar services and products out there, it can be challenging to stand out when launching your own brand. So how can a business differentiate itself in today's marketplace and get ahead? Simple, it is all about analyzing the competition. Not only can a competitive analysis give you a leg up, it can also help you claim and keep your share of the market.
To understand what we mean by competitive analysis, let’s look at a few best practices and how they can benefit your business.
Scope Out the Competition
First things first: you need to figure out who your competitors are. Let’s differentiate between direct and indirect competition:
- Direct competition refers to any organization that offers the same product or service as you.
- Indirect competition is a company that provides services or products that are different from yours but can potentially satisfy your customer's needs and reach the same goal as you.
Take McDonald's, for example. Its competition is not only other fast-food chains like Wendy's or Burger King (direct competition). They also have to deal with food delivery services or meal-subscription boxes (indirect competition).
Yet, even though competition comes from every angle, companies need to focus most of their resources on the direct competition. Why? Because this competition comes up most frequently in your win/loss analysis, and they can provide you with the most significant threat or impact on your business.
What Are They Selling?
If you want to see results, your company has to become an expert at monitoring the competition and understanding why customers choose them in the first place. To achieve this objective, you need to figure out ways to analyze your competitor's products and services. For example, what parts of their business work well? Or not so well? Consider what they are offering and analyze if that makes them unique and superior. Once you can pinpoint these specific details, you can begin capitalizing on them.
To see how this can work in your business, consider the following questions- do customers flock to your competition because they provide the most recent trends? The lowest prices? Or the most appealing customer service?
What is Their Marketing Strategy?
Thought leadership is a type of content marketing that taps into a company’s experience, talent, and passion for providing answers to their customer's most pressing questions on a particular topic. Basically, it means a company offers the best solutions to their customer's biggest problems, in ways that the audience understands and likes to consume. For example, 58% of decision-makers say they pick a company based on its thought leadership.
When you analyze your competition, reviewing their content is critical in discovering what is working for them. Consider the following:
- Check out their website to discover their specific tone and style. It can provide insight into their brand story and see how they are connecting with their audience base.
- Is your competition blogging? What are their pieces about? How much interaction are they getting with their target audience from these posts?
- Is the competition providing customers with any thought leadership pieces? How are they using this content to differentiate themselves as experts?
- What campaigns are they running? How are they different from yours?
- Review their FAQs. Does it look like they are anticipating their customer's needs? Do their customers have similar questions? If so, can you provide your own expertise into areas your competition is not discussing and address some of these questions before they arise?
Once you figure out these answers, then you can truly discover ways to stand out from your competition.
If you want to thrive on social media, you need to have a relationship with your followers. Yes, social media is an excellent way to build a tribe, but before you can get there, you need to figure out a way to create that special trust with your followers. Effective social listening can help.
Social listening is a way of figuring out your company's popularity by extracting information from social media channels. It provides a variety of qualitative and quantitative data that can help steer your business in the right direction and proactively remedy issues before they become lost revenue. With social listening, you can figure out what your customers like, what content they enjoy, your competitor's online visibility, and how their brand recognition stands up against your own.
If you truly want to get ahead, you need to figure out how your competition uses their social media to woo their customers. Begin by figuring out what platforms they use and how many followers they have. Take a look at how often they post, what content they share, and how their customers engage with them through these channels. Once you can get a grasp of what is working for them, you can then figure out which channels you need to start optimizing, what content you need to be producing, and how you can build a presence with potential customers.
For example, think of a home decor company that captured its audience through showcasing and selling their products through social media channels such as Article. It not only made purchasing more accessible and more convenient for customers, but as a result of incorporating social media into its business model, it quickly surpassed its competition in the process.
Outshine Your Competition
Now that you understand that the first step to crushing your competition is understanding them, you’re ready to start figuring out what to analyze, how to analyze it, and how to use this information to get ahead. With the help of a media partner, you can discover all of these answers, plus so much more.
Any organization can capture a market share. However, keeping that share is the hard part. The key to this process is staying two steps ahead of your competitors so that you can hone in on what you do best - delivering an exceptional customer experience that turns customers into brand evangelists.