Using Digital Marketing to Gain Insight into your Competition
There’s one thing that every business has, regardless of the industry
One thing that can be a motivating force that pushes your limits of creativity to earn an additional dollar, or it can be a formidable threat that can override your business and snatch that said dollar away.
It’s called competition and in the business world, your competitors are a necessary evil. You can’t live with them, you can’t step out of your comfort zone without them.
Traditionally competitive marketing involved companies handing out more flyers than the other or spending huge sums on that 30-second TV ad to be broadcasted in that primetime television timeslot. With digital media, competition is much more personal. Competing has become specific and focused. Careful observance of your competitor’s digital content offers you specific insights into what their marketing strategy is.
But how can digital media be used to gain this insight? What should you be looking at and how do you use this insight to better your organisation?
Digital marketing is a two-sided coin. Either you do it wholeheartedly with regular postings of rich, valuable content, or you create a social media account, post whenever ‘inspiration’ hits and then the page becomes stagnant and dies.
How often competitors post tells you how committed they are to building a relationship with their audience. Regular posting of creative, eye-catching images, informative articles and entertaining videos means they’re on the offense. It is up to you to source or create material of your own to capture customers’ attention. Keep in mind, you only have a few seconds to do so online.
If your competitor’s page is sparse and uninviting, this is not an occasion to rest. It is an opportunity to act. Continue posting content to engage customers and build brand loyalty. This requires a proactive approach where you have the chance to be the digital marketing leader in your industry. Embrace it!
To gain insight, you have to look at the problem from multiple angles. What type of content your competition posts? What tools are they using to engage their audience? Do they pose questions to the audience? Is the content entertaining? Customers don’t want boring material. Is it funny or informative? Can customers learn something? If you’ve answered yes, recognise that your competition has understood the digital marketing game and you have to produce engaging, valuable content of your own. Click here and read this article if you need guidance on doing so.
The next step is to look at the customers’ response. Are the posts being liked and shared? Pay special attention to the comments under each post. Are they positive or negative? If positive, rest assured that the customers find that competitor’s product quite favourable. Sift through the comments and identify exactly what they like about the competition. Is the product high quality or great customer service or easy to reach locations? Look at what the audience is specifically saying that’s good about your competitor. Then you can put together a strategy to incorporate those positive aspects into your own organisation.
Negative feedback is also crucial. What are the negatives the customers are complaining about? If you have those same issues in your company eradicate them promptly. If not, use that as a selling point to highlight the fact that your product or company is better because customers would not suffer those issues under your brand.
Essentially, the customer comments are the conversation taking place between your competitor and the audience. Digital Marketing allows you to get involved in that conversation and observe what is being said. Understanding this conversation allows you to spot areas for improvement within your organisation which sharpens your competitive edge.
It’s always important to understand the ‘why’. Why is the competition posting what they do? Obviously, the aim is always to make more sales but how are they planning to achieve this? Are they posting to attract customers to their brand by highlighting the positives? Are they using digital media to undermine yours? Or are they just putting up entertaining content to keep the audiences longer on their page?
Understanding the reasoning behind your competitor’s digital strategy will inevitably influence the one you take. If the content is more informative or engaging, their strategy likely is customer retention. This means you penetrate their customer base before brand loyalty develops. If they’re posting on social or environmental issues, they may be seeking to enhance their corporate social responsibility and their brand reputation.
Always seek to discover the reasoning or logic behind your competitor’s digital marketing efforts to understand their goal and ultimately the direction your counter-strategy will take
There’s a popular saying, “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer”. With digital media, you have a wealth of information available to you. Use that information to understand and analyse your competitors to refine your own strategy’s impact on your target audience. This insight sharpens your competitive edge but be careful, because your competitors can do the same to you!