"Tracking marketing is a cultural thing. Either tracking matters or it doesn’t. You’re in one camp or the other. Either you’re analytical and data-driven, or you go by what you think works. People who go by gut are wrong." - Alex Shultz, VP of Growth for Facebook, (Source)
Strategic business planning involves analytics in different areas of business for various reasons such as promoting the business brand name and value, looking for opportunities to grow and improve, cut down costs, prevent revenue leaks, etc. Yet, some businesses make the mistake of running purely internal analysis and forgetting the outside world. In lieu of that, we can say that one of the most effective areas of business analytics that remains untapped by a large number of businesses is competitor analysis. Competitor analysis can bring in solid insights that can change the outlook of a business while helping it keep up with the market-best competitive marketing intelligence.
Unlike earlier, competitor analysis has come a long way from the time-consuming and painstaking processes that it involved. Information was scarce and some data had to be acquired by ‘brute’ force. Quite naturally, only a few businesses succeeded in getting results out of competitor analysis. However, today we have various competitive intelligence software and tools that use underlying powerful AI /advanced Machine Learning algorithms that can churn out fast analytical insights with high accuracy.
Sometimes, people confuse competitor analytics with trying to imitate the competition or rivalry to get ahead by any unscrupulous means. But competitor analytics isn’t about an unhealthy competition that leaves you fixated on the competitor’s success or failures. Rather, it is a healthy analysis of competitor markets that can help you deliver the best working models of their products to the customers. It helps the customers understand the unique value that your product can bring them, in comparison with the others.
Why should you do competitor analysis?
The benefits of customer analytics may be categorized as under, though there are many more not so obvious reasons to start using competitor analytics and competitve intelligence platforms.
With these advances that you can make in your industry, it is possible to stand out as a unicorn provider that caters to a spectrum of needs. You can align your strategies to suit the needs of a larger segment of people rather than a small niche that cannot sustain your business.
While you can bring in elements of uniqueness to your business, it will not profit to do the same things over and over again to ultimately see that a large portion of customers have moved on to other solutions. Let’s dive in!
Analyse industry trends
When brands are concentrated on their own product development and uniqueness, the larger industrial trends tend to be looked over. These trends or advances tend to resonate with the needs and desires of the audience and buyers. Even if a company succeeds in gathering users to their product in the initial phases and could experience huge successes, they cannot survive with the same business model. This fact has been proven by the rise and fall of many popular businesses.
Much like MySpace or Pan-Am, to take a couple out, if companies fail to adapt to changing user needs, they eventually lose markets. When large amounts of investments go into the old business model, and there is resistance to change and modernization, it can turn out to be a recipe for failure. It hits especially hard when new challenges arise that threatens the industry as a whole.
For instance, when Pan-Am was hit with surging oil prices whilst trying to cater to a small niche of flyers that would use their services, it ineluctably pushed the company into declaring bankruptcy.
It can be thus said without a doubt that businesses need to pay attention to rising trends in their own industry and product landscapes. Of course, the decisions to follow these improvements should be taken with caution as investing too much into a passing trend can also be a venue for losing money.
Discover gaps in marketing
You may have the best business out there but fail to increase the client/ customer base due to a gap in the marketing front. You may become so focused on a specific marketing model and messaging, that you miss out on what is working in the outside world. It can be hard to catch up with a number of competitors at once and we never know if a specific campaign really contributed to their success.
With powerful analytics and competitive intelligence tools through analytics platforms, you can get clear insights into the competitor markets using publicly available data. This makes it easy for anyone to see the main drivers and attributes that contribute to the success or failure of certain brands. This gives you as a business an opportunity to re-evaluate current business strategies, marketing campaigns, the type of offers or the particular features that make another company stick out to the customers or clients.
Improve product capability
As we touched upon earlier, the success of the product or its sales lies in the way it is being presented to the audience. Even the best products could go about without garnering enough market interest to make it a less valuable business. Some businesses have catapulted themselves into great heights by just implementing slight tweaks to their products.
Make questionnaires. Are you listening to your audience? What are their specific demands that your business lacks but pull them over to your competition? Is there a specific offer that you are providing that the competition could not satisfy which could allow you to tap into in their place?
Such questions are too important to leave unanswered in the present business scenario. Unlike before, one business might have tons of competition sprouting up from every corner. Previously, a single player in a business could establish themselves faster and much easier because of the lack of competition. Therefore, it is quite imperative that a business aiming for success and is in for a long haul, take heed of these intricate details of product development and sales.
How to perform competitor analytics and what are the areas to target?
Choosing your competition
Sometimes businesses make the mistake of choosing the wrong opponent when making a competition strategy. HubSpot opines that any direct competition is the ideal candidate for competitor analytics. Indirect competitors may seem to be doing the same thing as you are, but they differ in the type of audience that are targeted.
It only makes sense to make a careful analysis of which companies can be part of the analysis based on their target audience, geography, capacity etc.
Offers and pricing
Competitive pricing is the ABCD of sales that businesses need to pay careful attention to. Why would you price your product higher or lower than the market rate? Can you scale up or down to include and attract another section of users?
There may be discounts or offers that your competition is displaying that can expand their reach. You can aim for the same. This is the same tactic used by e-commerce websites when they put up offers sale at the same time.
Campaigns and tactics
Brilliant ideas are sometimes formed inside the competition’s head. It’s not totally a bad idea to watch these campaigns unroll and take notes from it.
Look out for the tactics that worked and failed for some other business. Learn and implement in your own unique way.
Product-specifics and tools stack
Analytics impacts not just the marketing side of business but also the core development of products. Adding features and remodelling your software or website according to the most popular advances in tech gives your brand an edge over the others.
Switching out old tech and removing cluttering and unusable features can give your business a fresh outlook.
Engagement and social media
Social media is the main channel for marketing these days. And so, running a thorough analytics on this publicly available and free information can help a lot in developing new content and marketing tactics.
As customers have greater voice in today’s connected world, listen to public opinions, forums and customer ratings. Even if every customer can’t be satisfied to the fullest, you can still garner a good approval from your users. It will also give you plenty of extra information on what your competitors are doing.
Competitive advantage with Innominds analytics platform, iFusionTM
Innominds’ proprietary analytics platform, iFusionTM, projects its analytical capabilities for various uses along with competitor analytics. As a result, the clients were able to capture a larger market share and become a prominent product developer. Streamlined product insights created value by helping in decision making and sales enablement.
A particular client used iFusionTM’s competitor analytics to build custom solutions for:
Brand health monitoring:
The platform analyses the brand health through the reach, brand awareness, the position your business hold among the top choices for the same offering, and the performance in terms of meeting market needs.
This analysis will include the target audiences that are potential customers to get a clear idea of their expectations. It lets you know how many of them might consider your product during a re-evaluation.
In terms of brand delivery, it shows the amount of customer satisfaction towards your product and services.
Customer preference analysis:
This analysis gives you an understanding about the product from an outside perspective. It’s not specific to your particular product, but the vast array of similar products to yours and the response of the customers to it.
Comparison across categories:
Comparing across categories outlines the specific details on which part of the product features, marketing, or customer engagements needs to improve and which ones are performing well.
The following functionalities of the platform capacitated the brand to make shifts in their product strategies:
- Efficient information handling - It identifies which data needs to be fed into the system to give the fastest and most accurate results.
- Drill down to details – Based on different parameters of interests, users can drill down to very specific details.
Accelerated development - Reducing the time to market, advanced analytics algorithms and pre-established frameworks and connectors are used to form critical insights.
By leveraging the capabilities of the iFusionTM platform, Innominds made custom analytics solutions for our clients which improved their brand’s market share, engagement and product rating.