How to do competitor analysis in marketing?

October 29, 2020

Analyzing your competitors can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have never done it before. Yet, this powerful activity truly is a necessity unless you want to risk being taken off guard by a huge shift happening in the industry. One way to keep an eye on your competitors is with a simple, yet effective Competitors Mapping Tool which we have built inside the Powerful Marketer Program. Find the video tutorial based on that template at the end of the post, or continue reading to understand how you can build a simple competitors tracking system for your own business!

1. Main Data

Start your competitor analysis by gaining clarity on the general information about your competitors, such as:

  • year founded,
  • yearly revenue,
  • number of employees,
  • list of main product & service categories,
  • location,
  • financial KPI-s,
  • etc.

All of this data may not be freely available to you, depending on the country that you live in. But most countries do have a public business registry where similar data can be found. Additionally, you may find some of this data directly from the competitors website. Yes, it may take time to find it all, but ultimately having all of this information in one place helps you make better-informed decisions!

2. SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis is one of the easiest ways to pinpoint the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your competitors. By doing this, you’ll be able to see the windows of opportunity in your own marketing, and can differentiate your positioning in the market.

3. Website Analysis

Your competitors’ websites are filled with valuable information. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and just browse your competitors websites with attention to detail:

  • What’s the main call-to-action or slogan?
  • Do they have a blog? If yes, then how often do they post, what do they write about? 
  • Do they have a newsletter signup? How often do they send their newsletters? Can you subscribe to see what they are sharing?
  • What type of customer service do they provide? Is there a live chat opportunity?
  • What type of references or testimonials do they have?
  • As you leave the website, is there a ‘leaving-so-soon?’ popup with a special offer?
  • If they have an online store, do they have ‘an abandoned cart functionality‘?
  • Etc.

Additionally, you can spy on how much traffic your competitors get, from which sources and locations. There are many service providers that offer such data, one example is Similarweb. You can also install different extensions on your browser that enable you to see, for example, whether a website has Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel or other trackers installed. Make sure to write all of your observations down into one comparable table, so that it’s easier for you to spot any patterns later on!

4. Social Media Analysis

Do you know what are the channels that your competitors use to interact with their target audience? You may be surprised to find out that your competitors have started using a new channel, or that they are extremely active on one channel, and less active on others. Search for your competitors on different social media channels (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, etc) and write down:

  • all the channels they have an account in;
  • the number of followers they have in different channels;
  • how often do they post (e.g. 1x per day or 3x per week);
  • what do they typically post about (e.g. news, promotions, polls, inspiration, entertainment, blog posts, etc);
  • how much engagement do they typically have (e.g. 10 likes-comments-shares per post vs 1000 likes-comments-shares per post). Try to notice which type of content generates the most engagement;
  • notice the use of paid advertising (e.g. on Facebook you can click on the “Info and Ads” on your competitors pages and see the content of the active ads; additionally notice if you see any retargeting ads after having visited the competitor’s website).

5. Public Image

How are your competitors seen by the general public? What channels do they use and how are they represented in the mainstream media?

  • For example, do your competitors advertise on TV, do they use outdoor ads, or print ads, or radio, or digital media?
  • How do they divide the media budget between different channels?
  • Do they have a seasonality or their activity level is the same throughout the year?
  • How much do they spend on advertising?

This type of information is actually available through media agencies who monitor the media anyway, and you can purchase such reports to better understand what your competitors are doing. 

Additionally, pay attention to how often your competitors are mentioned on the news. You can either search for this information on your own or purchase a report from PR agencies or subscribe to a software that sends you alerts when your competitors are mentioned.

Here is a quick video tutorial on how to use the Competitors Mapping Tool:

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