It’s a whole new world. Technology has brought us to place, faster than the speed of thought, with some really amazing possibilities. Just when you think, you are finally getting things figured out….there are brighter and shining apps appearing and great software developments popping up all around you. You jumped into the digital ocean, and now it may seem like you’re in over your head.
So often, the total volume of data can be staggering. Most of us already lead hectic lives, and it takes everything we have to keep ourselves organized and productive.
Swimming in Competition
Taking care of the customers we already have can take a lot of time. Keeping all our team on track and contented may be an on-going obligation. That digital ocean that you’re swimming in seems murky, deep, and mysterious much of the time. And just when you lift your head up out of the water, you see the sharks circling….
The 10 Competition Evaluation Questions
Competition is another of the high pressure dynamics that we face on a day-to-day basis in business. You need to ask yourself some questions before you can decide how to take the pressure off.
1. How do you keep on top of the competition?
2. Is there time to compete, when every hour in the day is invested in building your own brand?
3. What’s the competition doing, that you are missing?
4. Is your competition reaching out to your biggest customer and trying to lure them away?
5. What kind of marketing campaign are they running?
6. Is there a major development in your industry?
7. How do you respond?
8. Are your business rivals targeting a demographic that you have ignored?
9. What is your competition not doing, that you can take advantage of?
10. How’s it possible to get there first?
You may find that you are marketing in a crowded room, in a constant battle to get the attention of the customers you are aiming at. With social media, and the developments in content and inbound marketing (links), we are deluged by information.
Key industry trends, evolving topics and events are all important to your business. It’s hard to keep up with the constant ever-changing and expanding of information. It’s even harder to find the precise filter, to bring it all into focus, custom-made to your very specific needs. You know that you need the correct tools to take full advantage of all the information that you’re trying to grab, as it goes floating by…..
There are Solutions
If you want to win, make sure that you have the ability drill down into all that data and develop the right strategy. In this case, strategy equals not just checking out the competition, but meeting potential customers halfway. The trouble is doing this regularly takes time, time that most of us don’t have. It seems like it would be complex and so expensive to make it happen.
“We watch our competitors, learn from them, see the things that they were doing for customers and copy those things as much as we can.” Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
What if you could take advantage of all this information, cut through all the noise, and find just the right pieces of information that you need, delivered to you in real-time? You know it’s time to take the blinders off and see what’s going on around you. It’s the only way that you can be certain that it’s innovation, not imitation that’s driving your brand.
You can get notified when a competitor releases a new service or when someone mentions your company or brand on the web. You need a sleek, inexpensive, yet innovative trend content monitoring application. Finally, you can have a digital tool that gives your company the ability to respond instantly. Straight Away.
Finding the content is easy; filtering out the noise is a lot harder. Typically, these services rely on a variety of different mechanisms. Some applications use a scoring mechanism that rates the “authority” of the site or person where the content is coming from, only providing alerts where the authority is deemed high.
Others learn your preferences, organically, based on the alerts you prefer. The goal is to make these efforts more cross-functional and seamless. Integrating competitive data from the social web should be a high priority. You can bet that it is for your competition.
Businesses of every size can get a deeper insight into what the competitors are doing and measure the customer response. This information can be easily gathered, melded into traditional market research and incorporated into product development.
Review Your Options
Comprehensive, consistent competitive monitoring provides brands with insider information at a very low cost. The results can be dramatic. In the new spirit of responsiveness, you develop products that are more competitive and services, a better use in your resources and ultimately, increased sales.
Being able to see your competitor’s online presence across social media gives you a total view of their marketing efforts, and a way into their market share. Through their Facebook, blogs, websites, advertising, email campaigns and press mentions you get a comprehensive picture of their “brand”. This is definitely going to help you market your brand, more effectively.
Online consumers are a goldmine of information. By sharing their preferences (likes and dislikes) in social channels there is a ton of visible competitive information that needs to be mined. Your future customer is telling you what they are looking for and listening to your current customer share their opinion of your product. Buying decisions are being made in public and you need to be there to make the sale. That’s vital feedback.
Data Mining 101
Mining the competitive data and gathering the necessary insights to use with your market research, can re-energize your strategic planning. When you take this information and compare it to the data that you already have about your potential customer you create a powerful marketing tool. Now is your time to adjust strategy and find your audience to attract new customers. Getting to a new audience first is often the most important factor in establishing your company, as the number one brand.
‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.’ Henry David Thoreau
The advantages are obvious. Engaging with potential customers, either directly through answering questions or offering solutions, in forums, where your target audience is present, allow you to start the conversation that wins you customers. Before you know it, your brand has a running thread on Twitter and is building anticipation for your product launch through Facebook. Should someone comment about your company or brand, you can engage them immediately. You have the opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one.
The ultimate reward in looking at the competition is that it’s always a good idea. You get reassurance or an action plan. Perhaps you discover that your competition is way behind you. Or maybe you find out that another brand is imitating you and unfolding similar campaigns. That lets you know that you are doing what works. Maybe you’ll see something that will ignite a creative spark within your marketing. You might even see that your competitors are brilliant and you could take a page out of their playbook. That lets you know that you have lots of work to do.
All of the above and much more is exactly what trend content monitoring applications can bring to you. Typically based on looking for occurrences of specific words (keywords), or combinations of words (phrases) these applications constantly trawl web content, news sites, forums, blogs and social media applications so that you don’t have to.
The social web is still a vast ocean and every company needs the ability to harness the information, in the most cost-effective way possible. A content monitoring platform offers the ability to maximize a large portion of your marketing budget, in order to develop and execute a seamless social media strategy. The digital world will get a whole lot smaller, and less intimidating, when it’s neatly organized on your computer screen. And the best news is that your brand may get a whole lot bigger as a result.