You probably know who your top competitors are, but do you really know what they are up to? Keeping an eye on the businesses that compete with yours is key to winning.
Think about professional sports. You would never show up for a game/match without researching and knowing your competition first. For example, you know their record and who the strongest players are on the team. You also know their strongest skills and any weaknesses. Applying the same principles to B-to-B marketing can be an advantage, too.
Think about the following:
What is their record? In the business world, this would be a company’s success or performance. Have you looked at their financial reports and other key indicators, like number of clients or customers? What percentage of the market do they hold? Find out what your competition is doing to promote its brand and engage with its audiences.
What kind of equipment are they using? Which tools in the toolbox are they using? Are they utilizing channel programs to support sales? Are they engaged in communities through social media? This may surprise you, but Twitter and Facebook are no longer just for teens and B-to-C marketing. Don’t forget to check out their websites from time to time. Stay informed on any blogs, news feeds, or other updates they are making.
Here’s a hint: subscribe to the competitors’ RSS feeds and set up Google Alerts. These tools will do the heavy lifting for you.
Where are they playing? Research the web and trade publications to see the coverage they are getting. Is it positive or negative publicity? What type of advertising are they doing? Try to find out if these efforts are effective. Don’t forget to take note of where they are not appearing, as it may be an opportunity for you.
What’s their advantage? Are they offering something unique in the industry? Do they have a product or service that is a new concept? Could this be an opportunity that you are missing? If so, take note and act appropriately.
Taking a close look at your competitors can be a way to generate new marketing, PR, and sales ideas or programs. If you don’t, you may just end up playing on the losing team.