Building Marketing Strategy Through Competitive Analysis


Spy on the competition: Explore three competitive analysis tools that will help you get an edge on your competitors.

Whether you’re a large and established organization or a small, burgeoning brand, regularly monitoring your competition is a crucial step that can help you keep your marketing strategy on track. The ultimate goal of competitive analysis is two-fold: you should look to find ways your competitors are cornering the market while gauging sentiment amongst your joint target audience.

Before we start, let’s make sure you’ve correctly identified the competition. Generally speaking, if you sell small batch craft beers out of Northern Virginia, you may not want to face off with Budweiser just yet. So, before beginning your competitive analysis, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this brand serving the same product in the same market I’m in? Do we have a similar niche?
  • What stage of development is this brand in? How does this compare to the position of our brand?
  • Is this brand well funded or is it a bootstrapped situation? How does this compare to how my brand’s funding situation?
  • Which demographic is this brand trying to reach?

After determining the answers to these questions, short list two or three brands who are your main competitors. If the ideal state for your brand is to eventually face off with the Budweisers of the world, create an additional list of your target competitors and draw inspiration from them. However, the brands you shortlisted should be where you focus the majority of your time. They should also be the brands you “spy” on using the methods below.

Set up Twitter Lists & Saved Searches

If you’re looking for something similar to a focus group but don’t have the budget, Twitter hosts a wealth of untapped insights within the platform’s advanced tools. Twitter lists provide you with a one-stop location for everything your brand is tweeting about. To start, click the photo icon in the upper right hand corner of your browser. A drop down menu will appear. Then, click on ‘Lists’. You can then search and add brands from the shortlist you created earlier. Saved Twitter searches work a bit differently. This function allows you to aggregate tweets from around the site based on keywords. Use this to analyze sentiment and unmet needs your target audience has. Start by identifying keywords and phrases that are often associated with your brand or similar brands. If you’re a pet food retailer, a key phrase may be ‘organic dog food’. Play around with a few different searches and see which keywords yield the highest return. You can also tailor search results based on region and negative/positive sentiment.

By using these methods, you should be able to gain insights into:

  • Any gaps missing from your target audience’s experience that you can fill
  • How your competition is viewed by your target audience

Google Alerts

This tip is especially important for tech startups or any brands that offer enterprise licensing. Google Alerts is a great way to stay on top of news within your sector – and how to view where your competitors may be getting media exposure. You can take a proactive approach and use Google Alerts by setting up keywords associated with your brand. Search results will be sent to you either daily or immediately, depending on which option you select. Then, use these search results to identity key influencers who write about topics relating to your brand. The competitive analysis comes into play if you create a search for your competiting brand. You can use this information to:

  • Stay abreast of new company offerings by your competitors
  • Get a heads up on any major media mention that may affect sales for your brand

SEO rankings 

We all want prime real estate on the internet for the search terms associated with our brand. See how you match up to the competition in terms of keyword ranking by using automated reports with free and freemium (free but with a premium version) services. While we don’t have just one company we recommend, here’s a list that may be helpful. You should use these tools to:

  • Figure out the current state of your SEO strategy
  • Discover any gaps in your keyword strategy
  • Analyze page authority
  • Review which keywords are sending traffic to your competitors

With these tools in your arsenal, you can make like James Bond and become a proper spy. What methods have you used for competitive analysis in the past? Which of the above methods do you think will be the most useful for your company? Let us know in the comments below.



How to Use LinkedIn in Your Content Marketing Strategy

B2B marketing strategies can no longer afford to leave out LinkedIn. In 2015, LinkedIn reported that 13% of their users did not have a Facebook account and 59% of their users were not active on Twitter, making LinkedIn an oft-overlooked opportunity for marketers to reach audiences they may be missing on other platforms. Additionally, 50% percent of LinkedIn users spent more than two hours a week on the site. If you already have a B2B-focused content marketing strategy created for 2016, consider adding LinkedIn to the mix with the following tactics.

Revamp Your Company Page

Brush off the dust and look at your company page with a new set of eyes. In addition to posting company news, determine what types of content would be relevant to your users and add that content to the mix. Initially, it may be a bit hard to gauge which content will be of the greatest interest to your audience, but a little informal competitive analysis can solve this problem. Take a look at a competitor who is getting good engagement on their page and ask the following questions:

  • What are they posting? How much engagement do they get on each post?
  • What ratio of content are they using (i.e. 50% blog posts from their website, 30% company news, 20% links from reputable industry sources?)
  • How often are they posting?

After analyzing one or two competitors, figure out what mix of content works best for you. Most importantly, make sure you have a strategy before diving in to any content creation. As with any marketing activity, progress can only be measured after consistently efforts have been made. So, make sure to get your team on a regular posting schedule and keep the cobwebs off that page!

Repurpose Content

LinkedIn content doesn’t need to be boring. Instead of just linking to the latest company whitepaper, shake things up a bit by including an infographic. Visual components should not be underrated when using LinkedIn. In fact, image posts result in a 98% higher comment rate than posts that do not contain an image. Additionally, SlideShare posts have become an increasingly popular and engaging way to disseminating otherwise mundane information.  And the data explains way: people are five times more likely to engage with these posts than traditional presentations and documents.

When in Doubt, Measure

If you’re looking to benchmark you efforts, conduct monthly audits. Start by taking a look at the following metrics:

  • Engagement rate: An engagement rate is simply the collective number of likes, comments and shares on your posts divided by the number of followers you have. According to Forrester’s study of the top 50 global brands, this number will be .05% on average.
  • Most Engaged Posts: For this, we typically like to look at the posts that had the highest engagement and drove the most traffic to the website. Once you figure out which post this was, determine why those posts performed well. Was it the call-to-action? Or an different image? After forming an hypothesis, make sure to test it out and integrate it into your content for the next month.

We hope these tips are helpful. In our next blog post, we’ll discuss how to use LinkedIn to generate leads for your B2B company.