Tips for Studying Competitor Marketing Strategies
Jun 21 2022
Advertisers put a lot of work and creativity into developing new digital marketing strategies. Like you, your competitors are in a constant state of experimentation and data analysis, always with the aim to further optimize online ad performance. While there’s plenty to be learned from your own company’s campaign successes, it’s also worth keeping an eye on what competitors are doing to better connect with target audiences.
Here’s how properly sizing up your competition can help your own business play to its strengths — and avoid potential pitfalls — as you develop your next ad campaign.
How Does a Competitive Analysis Work?
In its simplest form, competitive analysis is comparing your own business strategies with that of your competitors. The term generally denotes much more than a superficial look at a competing brand’s website or ad copy (although that’s a fine place to start). It can include industry reports, SEO page ranking comparisons, breaking down the finer details of the competition’s content strategy (including platforms, post frequency, and voice), and key differentiators separating their value propositions from your own.
By comparing and contrasting different advertising approaches, you can better understand positive trends within your market, how brands are utilizing new ad formats, and ways your business can better play to its strengths.
Benefits of Conducting a Competitive Analysis
The goal isn’t to lift every good campaign someone else is running and paste it into your own dashboard — in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Conducting a competitive analysis the right way helps you identify where your brand is most uniquely positioned to capitalize. Checking up on competitors provides crucial insight into what sets your products and market position apart, and how best to maximize those opportunities.
Your campaigns might employ a voice better suited for younger audiences, or emphasize a particular social channel. Maybe your competitors’ product reviews expose a consistent flaw in their product. These are valuable opportunities to focus on the segments of your target market those competitors might be missing.
How-tos for Analyzing Your Competitor’s Digital Marketing Strategy
How you go about studying your competitors will generally follow the same steps, with room for additional details depending on your industry and whether you’re working with ecommerce versus brick-and-mortar:
1. Identify your direct competitors and learn about their products. You probably have a good idea of who the major players are in your market already, but it helps to be detailed about their approximate market share, product price points, and key product differences between theirs and your own.
2. Learn what you can about their sales tactics. This includes all the gritty details related to ad distribution — sales channels, messaging, discounts and promotions, yearly revenues, the length of their sales cycle, and any other valuable data you can manage to glean as an outside observer.
3. Pay attention to what they offer (and for what price). Product descriptions and reviews provide a wealth of information about the needs your competitors are trying to meet and how well they’re meeting customer expectations. Note whether your products have additional features or quality of life improvements worth highlighting in your next campaign.
4. Learn what you can about their content marketing tactics. Whether you’re a competitor or a customer, it should be pretty easy to find out where successful businesses spend the majority of their content creation energy. Are they active on social feeds? Are they updating blogs regularly with content friendly to both SEO and human eyes? Which creative formats do they appear to be emphasizing above the rest (TikTok videos, media kits, native ads)?
5. Evaluate which tools your competitors use to streamline services. The right technology can be a game-changer, be it a platform on which to build a website or a customer service chatbot designed to handle basic FAQs. Plug-ins, apps, and even better hardware might be the cause of different performance levels among similar brands.
6. Boil it all down to a simple SWOT analysis. Summarize your findings by listing what your competitors do best (strengths), where their largest gaps appear to be (weaknesses), where your own business can highlight advantages over the competition (opportunities), and any potential threats these competitors might represent against your own brand’s weak points.
Studying competing brands expands your pool of data and experience to include others in your industry working toward similar goals. By learning how to evaluate these other businesses, your brand can unlock new opportunities for digital success.