There are all sorts of theoretical reasons why you should keep a firm handle on your competitors and your market
There are all sorts of theoretical reasons why you should keep a firm handle on your competitors and your market, but even if you’ve no intention of ever reading a marketing text book, monitoring your competitors and other developments in your industry provides a wealth of information that you can use in really practical ways.
By having a close understanding of the issues and challenges that are prevalent in your target sectors, you will quickly show your existing and potential customers that you are connected to their industry and understand the environment that they are operating in.
With a clear perspective on the problems they are trying to solve, you will be able to present your own proposals in a more considered and empathetic way.
Seeing the developments and announcements made by businesses in your target sector will allow you to make timely approaches with a relevant offer. Hyper-targeting and hyper-personalisation are the holy grail of direct marketing and nothing beats being able to tailor your message to a specific event in your prospect’s world.
Good strategy and proposition development relies on being able to sense the market.
You can keep ahead of the competition by responding to the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legislative (often referred to as PESTEL) changes in your industry, but equally you can keep up with your competition by seeing and assessing what it is doing - sometimes there are considerable advantages in being first follower and not first mover.
Understanding what is going on in your industry, what people are interested in and, to a degree, what your competitors are writing about is the start of your ‘top of funnel’ content plan.
Top of funnel content is the sort of content you can use to bring traffic to your website and engage prospects with your knowledge or point of view.
New legislation, the impact of the economy on your target market, new technologies and new entrants are just some of the things that are going to be reported in the news or in industry blogs. Being aware of these will allow you to contribute to the conversation and advance your thought leadership status.
The greatest weighting in all of the search engines’ algorithms is given to fresh and relevant content.
The clue here is ‘relevant’. You need to be creating content that answers the questions your target audience is seeking answers for online.
By monitoring industry news you will quickly identify the recurring themes which, of course, will evolve and change over time.
Combining market monitoring with keyword analysis tools will allow you to craft your content in such a way that it can be optimised for search intent.
While most people will agree with the logic of why they should monitor their market, in a busy working environment it is easy for a business to become focused on itself and inward looking.
Rather than having to go looking for information, market insight needs serving up to decision makers so it can become part of their daily routine. As ever, technology comes to our aid and an intelligent online tool like Market Monitor will cut through the noise to deliver relevant information into your inbox every morning. Over time, the tool will learn and the outputs become more and more focused. A quick glance at the headlines is then all that is needed to choose the reading that is most interesting.
Other alternatives include Google Alerts albeit the outputs can become overwhelming and dominated by false positives. LinkedIn can also be a valuable source of market information if you build your network of contacts carefully. Like most social networks, LinkedIn suffers with a degree of noise so rapid scrolling is needed to find the really interesting updates.
Whichever system you use, the bottom line is that for business leaders to continue to lead, they have to stay connected to their environment. Choose your weapons wisely!