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Competitor Analysis and Digital Marketing

Competitor Analysis and Digital Marketing

11 January 2021

Competitor analysis in business is not, by any means, a new concept. Since the days of Edison and Tesla (and probably well before their notorious rivalry), savvy business people have understood the value in watching their competitors to see what works for them. In marketing terms, this might mean identifying a new demographic to whom you can sell or a more effective way to sell to your target audience through a competitor’s campaigns. Working with a marketing partner that specializes in competitor research and easily actionable insights is the way to go for optimal results, but there are certainly things you can do yourself to get a leg up.

Identify Your Competition

This may seem to be obvious advice, but all too often business owners misunderstand who their real competitors are and aren’t. On one hand, conventional wisdom is to view any business that does the same thing as competition, and in some cases, that’s true—especially as technology makes the world smaller. But a construction company in Indiana isn’t competing with every other construction company in the United States. An Italian restaurant in Seattle is more likely to lose business to the hibachi grill up the street than another Italian restaurant in Cleveland.

Make a list of your five most direct competitors—the names that you encounter most often when you’re building a new business—and honestly evaluate your marketing versus theirs. What do they do that you don’t? What do both of you do that they clearly do better? These are the quickest ways to understanding where your marketing might be lagging behind your competition’s.

Gauge Social Media Engagement

Experts have been saying this for years, but the coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated the trend. All businesses have financial gains to be made using social media and digital marketing, doubly so for those that have survived for decades on word of mouth advertising. Why? Because social media engagement is word of mouth advertising now. Or, at least the closest equivalent in our increasingly digital society. Gauging what your competitors are doing on social media—particularly the ones that have a high degree of engagement with the audience—can help you build a focused plan with a clear end goal.

Ultimately, understanding what your competitors are doing to set themselves apart can only benefit your business’ bottom line. You might find new client demographics that you hadn’t previously considered or a better way to reach a known audience.

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