We continue our A-Z of Marketing blog series by looking at competitors. So often we get caught up in the day to day running of our businesses that we forget that we are not operating in isolation. Monitoring your competitors is key and luckily it’s never been easier, most of the time you can find all of the information that you need online, most of it is probably even on your competitors own websites.
At Ketchup we have a team of stealth experts who have helped many of our clients increase their understanding of their competition and what they are up against. More often than not, this understanding has led to greater success for their business.
So what information should you be looking out for when monitoring your competitors?
- New products/services or developments to existing offerings
If your competitors are launching new products and services, or making changes and developments to the products and services that they currently offer, you need to know. Any activity in this area will give you an idea of the direction the company is going in, and if they offer something you don’t and it’s proving popular, there’s no reason you can’t work on offering the same thing. This works particularly well if you can improve on what your competitor is offering, leaving you with the upper hand.
Set up an alert in Google alerts, monitor the news section on your competitor’s websites and, if relevant, keep up to date with local business news, and sign up to their newsletters.
- Details of new clients and case studies
Are your competitors getting a high number of new clients? This area of monitoring works particularly well for B2B organisations as they are more likely to announce a new client win or publish a case study about a particular project they have delivered. The number of new clients won will give you a good idea about the levels of success your competitor’s are seeing, any information in news stories or case studies will tell you more about their product/service offerings, implementation methods, USPs, etc…
For businesses with a B2C focus, keep a look out for statistics published online or in your competitor’s annual reports.
- Search engine rankings
Every business should have an understanding of the keywords and phrases their customers use to find the products and services they offer. Once you know which keywords and phrases work for your business you can use these to monitor how your competitors are performing, chances are that they are optimising the same keywords and phrases too. If they are above you in search engine results why? Are they using advertising such as AdWords and PPC to get to the top of the pile, is that something you should consider doing too?
You can tell a lot about your competitor’s approach by how they tackle SEO.
- Staff changes
Staff changes within companies can tell a much deeper story. Is staff turnover high? Are redundancies being made? Have they just brought on board a new CEO or senior managers? Have your competitors just bagged the latest talent?
Answers to all of these questions can give a real insight about what’s going on internally, whether it’s good or bad, and can help you to see the direction your competitors are heading in.
- Marketing campaigns and online activity
Monitoring the marketing activity carried out by your competitors can not only show you where the focus of their business lies, it can give you an idea of the size of their marketing budget. You may also pick up some inspiration for your own marketing campaigns.
The amount of money businesses allocate to marketing is a very telling sign. The marketing budget is often the first to be cut, so if one of your competitors used to spend thousands on marketing their products and services but has recently dropped off the radar or scaled back their marketing, this can be an indication about what’s happening within the business.
If you are not taking the time to monitor what your competitors are doing, not only are you missing out on potentially useful information, but you may fall behind in market share and industry developments. If you are the market leader you may fail to notice when your competitors are creeping up on you or using ideas and initiatives that you’ve previously executed to grow their own business. You might not be watching your competitors, but they will be watching you.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you to understand your competitors and how to monitor them effectively, call Michelle or Kate today on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.