One of the first steps in any solid marketing plan is to carry out a competitor analysis, which involves assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each company that you deem to be your biggest competitors. Part of this analysis includes the monitoring of their current marketing strategies, to determine what exactly they are doing right (or wrong) so that your own business can learn from them, anticipate their next steps, and hopefully, outperform them.
Assosia, a leading market research company in the UK, discusses five simple ways to monitor your competitors’ marketing strategies.
Set up Google alerts
If you haven’t already made use of Google’s free alert tool, do so now! This tool allows you to enter the specific search queries that you wish to monitor, and then receive an email or phone notification each time that query is mentioned on the web, via various outlets, such as blogs, news stories and press releases.
Setting up an alert for your competitors’ brand name or products means you can keep track of where they are being talked about, as well as their own marketing methods, allowing you to better strategize your company’s marketing, PR and brand reputation efforts.
Follow them on social media
There are several social media tools available for competitor analysis, which can provide insights into what your competition is sharing, how they are interacting with customers, and the types of content that are being well-received.
For instance, on Twitter, you can create “Twitter lists”, organising your competitors in them and offering you an easy way to view their content as it appears in the newsfeed. Don’t be afraid to give them a “follow” or a “like” either – otherwise you might miss out on important promotions, messages or articles, which could give you an understanding of the content and communication methods that are working for them, and which are not.
Become a mystery shopper
If your company is within the retail or hospitality sector, then taking on the self-appointed role of mystery shopper is a great way to eavesdrop on your competitors within their own establishment.
Simply show up to their restaurant, shop or bar and act like a customer, taking note of the in-store experience, how staff might handle a complaint and if they can answer any product-related questions. You can also observe their in-store price, promotion and placements to determine if there is anything your own business needs to be doing.
Sign up to their newsletter
Signing up to your competitors’ weekly or monthly newsletter is a simple, free way to understand how they are marketing themselves to their customers. This can normally be done just by filling out a form on their website, app, or social media platform, and you’ll quickly be able to get an idea of their creative style, tone of voice and any special offers or competitions they are hosting – all of which you may wish to adopt within your own customer newsletter.
Website & rankings
Having a functional, easy-to-use, attractive website is extremely important in the modern world. As such, it is a good idea to regularly check-in on what your competitors’ website is doing. Do they have any functionalities, sections or pages that you don’t have? If so, it might be time to make the necessary changes to your own website.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is also an important modern marketing strategy, which is the process of making your website rank higher in the search engines for the keywords or queries that your customers are searching for.
If your competitors are ranking higher for your most important search terms, then you need to find out why, because you will almost certainly be missing out on key customers to them. Perhaps the content on their website is better than yours? Or maybe their site loads a lot faster? Whatever the reasons might be, there are plenty of SEO tools and resources available to help you understand and monitor yours and your competitors’ search engine rankings.
Remember, competitor analysis shouldn’t just be a one-time task, especially since many industries are fast-paced and marketing methods change frequently. The most successful businesses have strategies and tools in place to regularly track what their competition is doing – both right and wrong – in order to guide them in their own marketing efforts.