1. Identify what kind of marketplace your business competes in
Is your industry new and fragmented? Growing with increasing competition? Mature with larger companies acquiring smaller businesses? Or declining? The phase your industry is in matters and is an indicator of what kind of marketing (and business!) strategy you should adopt and how much you will need to spend to succeed. For more about the different industry phases, see my previous post, What Should I Spend on My Marketing Budget?
2. Detail what marketing your competition is doing
Are your competitors on social media and you’re not? Are they getting press or running ads in trade publications? Are they going to trade shows that you haven’t thought of? A thorough competitive analysis will give you answers to these questions and help you form your marketing strategy and tactics.
3. Detail what marketing your competition is NOT doing
Have your competitors missed some marketing opportunities – perhaps a niche target audience – that can give you an advantage? Have they not adopted the latest marketing tactics such as messaging on social media and sharing helpful content with prospects and customers? Do they focus their marketing on new customers and fail to woo existing customers with user groups, how-to’s, appreciation and loyalty marketing?
4. Build keyword intelligence for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If one or more of your competitors has a good online presence, you can glean what keywords their website, content and social media is focused on. Knowing this you can work to compete on the same keywords or variations of the words and phrases that can give you a competitive advantage.
5. Identify opportunities for a merger or acquisition
Sometimes competitive analyses turn up intelligence about products and services that a business cannot develop due to patents, lack of resources or logistics. You many find an opportunity to merge with a competitor or acquire them. The competitive analysis gives you initial information so that you know what competitors to pursue (and then do much more detailed due diligence and analysis required for M&A transactions).
6. Identify opportunities for co-opetition
Cooperate with competitors? “Are you kidding,” you say? Yes! Your competitors can yield opportunities for joining forces and sharing resources so that both parties can grow in ways that might not be possible on your own.
In one client situation, we delivered a marketing plan with a detailed competitive analysis for a fragmented segment of the travel and entertainment industry on September 12, 2001: the day after 9-11! Needless to say, the travel industry tanked, but our start-up client used our analysis and detailed list of competitors to selectively contact local mature businesses and offer a unique feature we knew the competitors did not have. One competitor took our client up on their offer, and, while they were not able to get the kind of bank loan they wanted right away, they did get some revenue and a little traction in an industry hard-hit by a terrorist act.
Do you know what your competition is doing? Not doing? Whether you scan your competitors every year or do a deep dive when you write your marketing plan, knowing your competition (or co-opetition) is critical and provides big benefits for your business.
Contact New Incite today to start your competitive analysis and marketing plan. We’ve worked with hundreds of companies to do the research and analysis, provide new marketing insights and written plans that become our clients’ marketing road maps to more growth and success.
Photo on Flickr by Stefano Chiarelli. Some Rights Reserved.