Conducting an analysis of your competitors can help you learn more about your target audience, what type of marketing or sales content resonates with them best, and if there are any gaps in your current business strategies. But performing a competitive analysis can be tricky, especially if you’re not sure which information is most important to research and analyze. That’s why it’s helpful to understand what you should include in your analysis report, where to find the information you need, and how to use it to your advantage.
Though every business’s competitive analysis will differ depending on its established goals, it can be helpful for you to record a few key metrics in your competitive analysis report, including:
Here is a list of steps to help you develop a competitive analysis for your current B2B market:
Knowing what your goals are will help you understand where to focus your efforts and where to collect the data for your analysis. Though it’s helpful to look at a competitor as a whole, that can often take a lot of time and resources. Instead, having a strict goal in mind that you want to accomplish can help you focus your research and find a competitive advantage.
For example, let’s say your goal is to determine your competitor’s content marketing strategy. With that in mind, you can focus your analysis on its content production and social media pages to gather the most relevant information. The same logic applies if your goal is to determine a competitor’s product or pricing strategies.
Once you determine the key objective in your analysis, you can figure out the best way to collect data on your target competitor. For some goals, it might be beneficial to use data products like Ahrefs or Semrush. These tools can allow you to learn more about your competitor’s SEO performance, including their organic traffic, how many keywords they rank for, and how much they’re paying for search engine advertising.
But one of the best ways to determine how a company uses their marketing or sales tactics, is to experience them first hand. If you want to learn more about their email marketing, sign up for their email newsletters. If you want to discover how their sales team vets and communicates with new leads and prospects, fill out a lead-gen form on their website. Then, make a record of relevant information and data you can use in your analysis, such as how many emails they send per week, what they offer you, or how many times a sales representative reaches out to you before abandoning the lead.
Though your industry experience is important and relevant to your competitive analysis, it’s important to not allow your bias or personal tastes to determine the effectiveness of your competitor’s marketing or sales efforts. For instance, let’s say you determine that your competitor sends an email to a lead once a day for seven days straight before they abandon it. Though that might seem excessive, if you believe your competitor has a successful sales performance, adopting and testing some of their sales strategies might be beneficial to your business. That’s especially true if you market to a similar audience.
While you collect information on your competitors, it can be beneficial to note any outliers you come across in the data. For example, when performing a social media analysis, you might notice that a single post got a lot more engagement than the others. This might indicate that the topic of the post or the post’s visual design might have resonated strongly with your target audience. Creating quality content around similar topics might benefit your own social media presence and content marketing efforts.
This is where you pair the data you’ve collected with your knowledge and expertise of the industry. Once you have the data in front of you, it’s helpful to theorize certain decisions your competitor might have made and how those decisions correlate with the data in front of you. Though you might not always have an exact understanding of the correlation between data points, it’s helpful to make informed guesses so you can determine the choices your company should make or avoid during future marketing or sales campaigns.
For example, let’s say you discover an old social media page of your competitors that was last used a few years ago. Though it’s good to note that the page is no longer in use, it can also be helpful to theorize why that might be.
Perhaps the competitor was spreading itself too thin in its social media marketing and had to decide on pages to prioritize. Perhaps the company realized it could combine that page with another, so they didn’t need it anymore. Making it a practice to not take things at face value would lead you to that insight and further your analysis.
Finally, develop a report or presentation that includes all the information you’ve collected and deliver it to your colleagues. Make note of any questions they have about the report and see if there’s any other information you could still collect on your competitors to enhance your analysis. This can help you uncover even more information about the competition, encourage your colleagues to think more competitively, and allow you to spot any holes in your analysis that might be helpful to clarify or expand upon.
After you successfully conduct a competitive analysis, it’s important to find the best places to apply the knowledge you’ve gained. Randall Reilly offers a wide range of marketing services, including long-term content marketing strategies as well as programmatic advertising campaigns.
With our content marketing services, we work with you to develop content that delivers strong thought leadership and helps you build brand equity awareness. Our programmatic marketing services pairs proprietary data on the specific target you need to engage with automatic advertisement buying and placing strategies. That means targeting your audience wherever they consume content online. Contact us today to see how we can help you boost your marketing and sales efforts with proprietary data and expert services.