Learning From the Marketing Success of Your Competitors
One of the great things about modern business is the ability to compete. The anti-monopoly nature of our economy doesn't just encourage competition, it requires it. This means that anyone can get into a particular line of business as long as they have the knowledge and resources to do so, but it also means that anyone in the business world will have at least one other company to contend with for customer attention, resources, and cost efficiency.
The dynamic created by industry rivals is usually one of friendly competition in which both or all companies that share an industry have a certain amount of camaraderie along with that urge to come out at #1. Rather than worrying about what your competitors are up to that could give them an edge, why not learn from them instead?
What Are Your Competitors Doing?
Just like in school when trying to create the best class project, looking around at what others are up to can help a great deal. Never underestimate competitor research, as it can show you both what has and has not worked for a similar business you share an industry with. Your target audiences and products to promote will be similar enough to really learn a few things.
Keep an eye out for
- How they are advertising
- Their methods that are popular and well-liked
- What has been successful
- What has been unsuccessful
- Details from comments and reviews
Examining Their Marketing Strategy
Your competitors are probably using many of the same essential marketing strategies that you are, but the specifics are always where success lies. You may both be blogging, for instance, but which of their topics have gained a lot of attention? Try writing your own twist on these to appeal to your shared target audience. If they're doing a video series that's popular, make one of your own.
Pay per click advertising is another place to examine their successes and failures, as there are about a thousand little changes to be made that could influence how well you do at the same endeavor. Which of their chosen keywords are getting the most traffic? Are their ads written in a particularly appealing or clever way? One especially competitive method to watch out for is using a rival company's name as a keyword.
Comments and Reviews
One of the biggest sources of insight into the successes and failures of others in your industry are their comments and reviews on public sites like Yelp, Google, and Consumer Affairs. This will tell you not only what appears to be working according to the numbers but what customers actually think about their marketing tactics, products, and services. If you want information about what your shared target audience loves and hates about how your competitors do business, the reviews are exactly where you should look. Don't just focus on the fives and ones. The mid-star reviews often hold valuable combo information about both likes and dislikes, and exactly what customers believe rates 'docking a star'.
Your competitors are more than just companies you'd like to do better than, they can act as an industry litmus test for your own business actions. Whether you're trying to come up with the next great advertising campaign or avoid the mistakes of others in the past, by studying your industry competition you can see how your shared target audience has responded to a wide variety of methods, campaigns, and business decisions. There's no need to be shy about learning and working with the data from competitor research. Rest assured, they're doing the exact same thing, analyzing your successes and failures and trying to do a little better.