September 8, 2022 | By:

A Beginner’s Guide to Competitive Research

As a brand, you can learn so much from other brands who are in the same industry. Although competition can be fierce, there’s always room to take inspiration from what others are doing. After all, competition breeds innovation and creativity.

That’s where competitive research comes in. If you’re new to competitive research, or if you’re looking for ways to improve your current process, this beginner’s guide is for you.

What Is Competitive Research?

Competitive research, or competitive market analysis, is the process of studying other brands in your industry to see what they’re doing well, and where there’s room for improvement.

This type of research can help you understand your place in the market, and how you can improve your brand to better serve your target audience.

Competitive research is ideally done regularly, so you can keep tabs on what’s new in your industry. But even if you’re just getting started, it’s never too late to start doing competitive research.

The Benefits of Competitive Research

There are countless benefits to doing competitive research, but here are a few of the most important ones:

1. Understand your target audience

One of the most important benefits of competitive research is being able to understand your target audience better.

By understanding what other brands in your industry are doing, you can get a better idea of what your target audience is looking for. For example, if you’re a clothing brand, and you notice that all of your competitors are starting to offer free shipping, you might want to consider doing the same — but be sure to add something that others aren’t doing.

2. Stay up-to-date on industry trends

As we mentioned, with regular competitive research, you’ll have a good understanding of what’s going on in your industry. This will help you stay ahead of trends, and make sure you’re always on top of your game.

This can also help you fine-tune your content better. If you’re writing evergreen content, you want to make sure it’s still relevant a few months down the line. You can also determine what areas you can improve on your current content strategy, which brings us to the next point.

3. Find inspiration for content and marketing campaigns

If you’re feeling stuck, competitive research can help jumpstart your creativity. By seeing what others are doing, you can get new ideas for content topics, as well as marketing campaigns.

This is especially useful if you’re in a saturated market. If everyone is doing the same thing, it can be hard to stand out. But with competitive research, you can find unique angles to approach things. Competitive research also gives you an idea of how you can leverage your competitor’s weak points.

4. Know your strengths and weaknesses

When you do competitive research, you’ll quickly learn the strengths and weaknesses of your brand. Some of the areas you can look into are your website design, user experience, product offering, and even pricing.

This is valuable information to have, as it can help you make strategic decisions on where to focus your time and resources. For example, if you know that your website design is weaker than your competitors’, you can invest in a website redesign. On the other hand, if you know that your product offering is stronger, you can focus on marketing that more.

5. Identify gaps in the market

Competitive research also gives you an opportunity to identify gaps in the market and fill that void.

For example, if you’re a shoe brand, and you notice that all of your competitors are geared towards women, you could create a line of shoes specifically for men. This would give you a chance to capture a new audience and grow your brand.

Of course, this isn’t always possible — depending on your resources and the size of your team. But it’s definitely something to keep in mind, especially if you’re looking for ways to stand out in a saturated market.

How to Conduct Competitive Market Analysis

Competitive research doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. There are a few different ways to approach competitive research. The key is to find the method that works best for you and your team.

1. Identify your competitors

The first step is to determine who your competitors are. This can be tricky, especially if you’re in a saturated market.

One way to do this is to brainstorm a list of brands that offer similar products or services as you. You can also use Google’s Keyword Planner to see who comes up when people search for keywords related to your business.

2. Research their marketing strategies

Once you’ve identified your competitors, the first area you need to look into is their marketing strategies. One way to do this is to sign up for their email newsletters. This will give you an idea of the kind of content they’re putting out, as well as any promotions or sales they’re running.

Some areas you can look into are the following:

  • Product/service pricing: How do their prices compare to yours?
  • Product/service offerings: What do they offer that you don’t?
  • Company blog: What kinds of content are they writing about? Are there areas you can improve on or fill the gap?
  • Social media: What kind of content are they sharing? What’s the tone and voice like? Are they being responsive to comments and questions?
  • Videos/podcasts: What topics are they covering? Is there room for you to produce similar content?
  • Ad campaigns: What kind of brand messaging are they using? Does it resonate with your target audience?
  • Media kit: What kind of information do they include in their media kit? This can give you insights into how they position themselves to the media and what kind of information they think is important.
3. Evaluate their website

Another area to look into is your competitor’s website. Take note of the design, user experience, and overall feel of the site. You can also use tools like Google Analytics to see how much traffic they’re getting, as well as what kind of keywords they’re ranking for.

You can also use tools like Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer to get an in-depth analysis of their website. This can give you insights into what they’re doing well and areas where you can improve.

4. Check out their customer reviews

Customer reviews are a great way to see how your competitors are really doing. You can read reviews on sites like Yelp, Google, and Amazon.

Keep an eye out for common themes in the reviews. Are there certain areas that customers are unhappy with? This can give you an idea of where you need to improve.

5. Use Google Alerts

One of the easiest ways to conduct competitive research is to set up Google Alerts. With Google Alerts, you can choose to be notified any time a competitor is mentioned online. This way, you can keep tabs on what they’re doing, and you won’t miss any important news.

To set up Google Alerts, all you have to do is go to Google Alerts and type in the name of your competitor. You can also specify the type of results you want to receive, such as articles or videos.

6. Conduct a SWOT analysis

A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis is a good framework to use to evaluate your competitors and your brand’s position in the market. As the term suggests, this analysis will help you identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as any opportunities or threats they might pose to your business.

To conduct a SWOT analysis, determine what your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are based on the research you’ve done. Then, think about any opportunities or threats they might pose to your business.

Some examples of strengths could be a strong brand name, a large customer base, or a well-known product. Weaknesses could be a high price point, poor customer service, or lack of innovation. You can use a SWOT table similar to the one below.

SWOT table

7. Analyze and determine how your brand stacks up

After you’ve done your research, it’s time to analyze your findings and determine how your brand stacks up against the competition.

Make a list of the areas where your competitor is stronger than you. Then, make a list of the areas where you have an advantage over them. Use these lists to develop a plan of action on how to improve your brand’s position in the market.

It’s also important to keep track of your findings so you can monitor your progress over time. Make sure to document everything, from the competitor’s name and contact information to the results of your SWOT analysis.

Make Your Brand Stand Out with the Right Strategy

One last thing to keep in mind is that your competitors are always changing, so it’s important to conduct regular research to ensure you’re up-to-date on their latest activities. By doing this, you can adjust your strategy as needed to stay ahead of the competition.

If you need any help with your marketing strategy, Ilfusion is here to help. We’re a full-service creative agency that specializes in branding, web design, and digital marketing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you build a strong brand that stands out from the competition.

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