“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” – That is the heart of competitive analysis. There are many ambitious business owners in the world, but many of them make the mistake of putting on blinders when it comes to their competition.
Don’t be a narcissist – take time to take a look at the other team
You must not be so invested in your own metrics that you fail to give adequate attention to the competition. All of the qualities of your brand will always be measured in relation to the ways that the competition operates and is perceived. Becoming intimately familiar with the competition will make you far more adept at coming out on top then anyone who fails to do the same.
Conducting an in-depth investigation of your competitor is one of most essential elements of developing an effective campaign. If you have ever read The Art of War by Sun Tzu, then you understand that a savvy general never mobilizes their forces without surveying the terrain closely.
All of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors in your niche form the terrain of the market, and analyzing this terrain down to the very last molecule is the secret to winning the battle before it begins.
Every business that has any kind of product that can be considered similar to your own product within the same range of availability should be considered a competitor. When you have identified a competitor, you have identified a subject of study. Instead of considering the competitor to be an obstacle, you may also consider them to be a potential asset for the purpose of bettering your approach to the market for even higher ROI.
Cornerstones of competitive analysis
There are certain key aspects of a competitive analysis that should be used as cornerstones in completing a full profile of your competition. The cornerstones are as follows:
- An understanding of every competitors strengths and weaknesses.
- An general flowchart for moves that can be made to generate reactive campaigns after conducting the analysis.
- A familiarity with the ways in which your target market perceives the competition and their strategies.
Putting the cornerstones together
Initially, you are going to want to spend some time doing as much research on the available information about your competitors as possible. Examine your competitors’ reported quarterly earnings. Look for the points for both where their performance was the strongest and the most underwhelming; cross-reference these moments of strength and weakness with any identifiable patterns in their advertising campaign.
Once you have examined their strengths and weaknesses closely, you will want to develop a general array of countermeasures that can be made to compensate for future moments of weakness in a competitor’s campaign.
The only way to ensure that you are aware of how to be strong when the competitor is weak is by knowing fully well just how the target market will react to certain trends in the competitor’s behavior.
Putting the three cornerstones together will allow your business to have a quasi-automatic mechanism for instantly generating effective campaigns against competitors in a highly mobile market. It is never too early to start.
There are tools available that will allow you to directly observe the bidding rates that competitors submit for certain keywords. Not only will you be able to analyze which keywords have the highest competition, but you will also be able to relate the keyword bidding rates to the amount of frequency with which they are queried in search engines.
With competitive analysis, you can get an instant window of insight into which high-traffic keywords that your competitors dominate; at the same time, you’ll be able to see which high-traffic-low-competition keywords have yet to be capitalized upon, and you can take them with minimal resistance for a low price.