Do Good Marketers Even Need to Analyze their Competitors Activities?
Before they even go to market, marketers today strategically map out their businesses Unique Selling Points (USP’s) and have a clear indication of what their differentiators are, what story they will tell, who they will target, and how they will position their business in their landscape.
As a result, analyzing the marketing activities of their competitors becomes less relevant, and rightfully so.
If, as a business, your product or model is unique and your message is different than that of your competitor, why should you care about what they do? Even if there was a company that you truly viewed as a competitor, a single in-depth analysis would suffice.
However, analyzing hundreds of businesses that are not direct competitors but may be competing on the same buyers and same budget as your business will in turn expose businesses to the wider conversation taking place in their competitive landscape, and that can create strategic value.
What Marketers Need to Look for When Analyzing Competition
Traditionally, the idea of conducting competitive analysis was to examine a competitor's strategy and see what could be learned and modified to achieve better results. Modern marketers have no need, or desire, to copy their competitors' strategies because they recognize that having differentiators negates another company from being perceived as true competition.
That is why marketers today need to re-examine the way they view competitive analysis, and instead of focusing on what their so-called competitors are doing, they need to focus on what they are saying.
When building a strategic marketing plan, marketers make two key decisions - what they will say, and who they will say it to, and then, they need to decide where they will say it. To do that, marketers must first understand what their audience talks about, what they care about, what interests them, and what weight each of these different topics has.
The problem is that many of these things have been perceived as unmeasurable for so long. How do you quantify what blog topics interest your target audience? Or know what type of webinars they attend?
At Brew, we realized we could find that out by analyzing marketing activities across all landscapes, aggregating information about all content pieces created, webinars hosted, and other marketing activities, and applying our proprietary algorithm to this data to identify what is more valuable, what is less valuable, and so on.
This is because we view marketing activities as data points, and among the hundreds of different companies and thousands of marketing activities that occur daily, the same themes, ideas, problems, and solutions are bound to arise. We measure these activities as a way to learn which topics and types of content add value and attract all the right attention, effectively creating a map of what the broader audience cares about. This idea can be applied to any industry and across any vertical – the generic conversation always stands true.
Finding Growth Gaps
Wide competitive analysis reveals to marketers whether their USPs are unique as they think, and what the generic conversation in their domain truly is, and, equally important, where the conversation is taking place.
This is critical because for marketing activities to be effective, they need to have a delicate balance of generic content and differentiated content published strategically on 1st party and 3rd party sources, and the key is knowing when to say what, where.
Companies intuitively may want to focus on their differentiators, however, if they do not have a wide enough following on their 1st party channels, speaking out their key differentiators will not be effective. To create strong 1st party channels, companies need to be aware of the generic conversation, build an audience in that way, and only then focus on their differentiators. On the other hand, if a company is using content distribution and focuses on being part of the conversation, their USPs get lost. The balance is in finding a way to be a part of the generic conversation while simultaneously showcasing your company's unique differentiators.
Powerful marketing intelligence platforms such as Brew can help companies identify and categorize where the marketing activity of all key players in a particular domain is occurring – are competitors posting on social media? Is content distributed as a PR post? Is the company active on specific discussion boards on Twitter or LinkedIn? Do they host webinars or other digital events? Is their website a strong marketing channel for their business?
Our platform can go further and showcase the content distribution, meaning, identify whether each marketing activity is about the broader generic conversation or showcases a companies differentiators.
Knowing what your competitors are saying, where they are saying it, how frequently they are saying it, and how often they say something different can then be used to build your own company's flywheel of communication, making this type of competitive analysis invaluable.
Continually Seeking out Opportunities
Examining your marketing strategy and identifying potential growth opportunities is not a one-stop shop. The state of the market is continually changing, and companies that do not analyze their marketing strategy in an ongoing way taking into account newly added data each day, will inevitably leave larger opportunities for those that do.
To ensure they are continually able to identify and act upon growth opportunities, marketers require powerful marketing intelligence platforms that enable them to drill down and drill out into each landscape and vertical as needed, and continually identify what their competitors are talking about, and where, to determine what their audience cares about, and where they go to hear more about what they care about.
By conducting a wide competitive analysis with the Brew marketing intelligence platform, companies can easily map out the generic and differentiator focused conversations taking place across multiple verticals, landscapes and topics, building an accurate and cross-channel overview of the true state of the market. This in turn will enable marketers to identify opportunities and capture market share while continually ensuring they are part of the conversation they want to be a part of.
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