Gaining an Edge through Competitive Intelligence

Gaining insight into competitors and their offerings can substantially improve a company’s chance for success and help them stay ahead of the curve.

Thorough competitor research can be crucial to understanding how your company and its products and services compare in the marketplace. Mining this intelligence can also reveal competitors’ strategies and tactics, including how they position themselves in the media and among other influencers, which can in turn help drive your own PR strategy.

It doesn’t require a private investigator to obtain inside information on competitors. Ample competitive intelligence is publicly available and can be acquired through various methods and tools. In fact, your competitors are probably already doing it.

At PReturn, we help clients monitor their competitors in several ways, including:

Perception analysis
As part of our message development workshops, we work with clients to analyze positions of competitors, trends in the larger marketplace and media/analyst coverage to differentiate clients from the pack. Knowing how you stack up to competitors and how others might perceive you as another player in the space can help inform a core messaging platform that can help to create a strong brand identity.

Audit competitors’ websites and social media profiles
Start by looking at competitors’ press releases and/or news sections to get a sense of their key messages, marketing strategy and general successes. An events page can also provide insights into competitors’ presence at key industry trade shows or conferences.

While on competitors’ websites, find out where they have a presence in social media channels. Conducting an analysis of your competitors’ social media profiles (like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) can provide insights into how they use those channels and the audiences with whom they’re engaging – whether its stakeholders, customers, consumers, etc.

Social media monitoring can help organizations track trends in engagement levels, product messaging and other competitor metrics. Facebook’s increased transparency of ads means you can even view the ads your competitors are serving and to which audience types. You can also glean insights on competitors’ audience profiles by analyzing people who mention competitors and uncovering what they say about their offerings, which can help you understand what messages resonate best and better define your own target audiences.

Track competitor media coverage
You can tap into the competitors’ media relations strategies by monitoring online news outlets for mentions of their brand names and products. This includes setting up Google alerts and other news monitoring tools to track online mentions of competitors, while also helping monitor keywords important to them.

Media monitoring can compare competitors’ PR performance against yours through metrics such as quality score of placements and share of voice, all of which can indicate ways to improve your PR strategies. Tracking competitors’ media coverage and identifying the top reporters covering them enables organizations to watch competitors’ PR and marketing strategies play out; analyzing those methods helps companies learn from others’ mistakes and avoid similar missteps themselves.

Subscribe to competitors’ content

Regularly reading competitors’ newsletters and blog posts provides a greater sense of their latest activities, including new product offerings, innovative services, partnerships and more. Keeping tabs on competitor content like bylined articles and white papers can also help you learn more about their messaging and industry perspectives.

Examining the right competitive resources and metrics can provide a benchmark for your marketing efficiency and help you optimize your own brand messages and content.

Tracking competitors doesn’t just make good business sense; it’s vital to the growth and strength of your organization. Running competitive intelligence can produce a wealth of invaluable information for developing your company’s products and crafting meaningful PR messaging and marketing strategies.

Interested in learning how competitive intelligence can help improve your company’s PR program? Drop us a line!

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