Right now or later this week… in a conference room across town or across the country… a team is or will be meeting not to focus on their product and service offerings, but on yours. In today’s increasingly competitive business climate, companies that have an understanding of what others in their industry are doing are much more successful than those that don’t. As part of your content marketing efforts, it’s critical that you commit some resources to competitive research.
Keeping Tabs on the Competition
You know, of course, that your competitors are striving not only to beat you when it comes to new business, but also to steal your existing customers. If you fail to act on that knowledge, the odds are that you will start losing market share to them.
Here are some ways to gain insight on what they’re doing today, and what they’re planning to do in the future:
- Regularly review their keywords. If it’s a concept that matters to your competitor (and to the audience you both target), it will show up in their keywords. Tools like SpyFu can show you where your competition is investing their PPC budget and where their website is showing up in organic searches.
- Follow their social media accounts. One of the great things about social media, from a competitive research perspective, is that where a company might put a press release through many levels of review and approval, a Facebook post or tweet may go out with minimal oversight and inadvertently provide some helpful intel. This can easily be accomplished through tools like HubSpot.
- Pay attention to who they’re hiring. There are many ways to learn about who a company is hiring, and the areas of expertise of those people may reveal helpful information about the organization’s plans.
- Listen to the analysts. Companies like Gartner and Hoovers are continually gathering and publishing information on industry trends and the organizations that are driving them. Trade associations are another source for this kind of information.
- View their presentations at conferences. A smart company won’t show all its cards at a tradeshow. However, they may share enough information in a session that you are able to read between the lines and uncover key information about current and upcoming product and service initiatives.
- Consume their content. If your competitor is smart, they’re using a content marketing strategy and producing a wide variety of informative materials. You should definitely be obtaining and studying that content! If they are using a tool like HubSpot, they will likely know you're checking them out, if your research is done from your business (due to IP tracking). And that's fair. You should have the same intel about those visiting your website.
- Talk with your trusted customers. In their attempts to win away your customers, your competitors will likely talk about all the great features their products and services have today, and now they intend to enhance them in the future. An organization that is truly “in your corner” may be willing to share what they’ve learned.
Doing Your Due Diligence
Please note that I’m not advocating that you do anything unethical (and surely not anything illegal!). But, keeping an eye on your competition—like keeping an eye on market trends and customer needs—is just prudent. And the intel you gather can help inform everything from your product development to your content marketing campaigns. 30dps is an experienced inbound marketing agency and HubSpot Certified Agency Partner. When you’re ready to put everything you know about your competitors and your target market to work, our teams in Colorado Springs, CO, Olympia, WA, and Springfield, MO, are ready to help. Give us a call.