Last week in the #MarketingMinds chat, professionals gathered on @meltwater to discuss competitive analysis; from what it is, to what it involves and what to avoid when constructing one. Here are the key themes from the discussion.

Q1. What do we mean by “competitive analysis?”

@Sea_Lyon and @SFerika describe a competitive analysis as research into our current and potential competitors that is conducted to identify our/ their secret sauce. @c0Sabrina feels that a competitive analysis is a great way to see what’s working for our competitors so that we can learn from their mistakes and protect our brand reputation. @bestcapetownSA adds that a competitive analysis can also help us anticipate how our competitors may respond to our next move, therefore helping us to decide strategies with hard reasoning.

@simonlp points out that a competitive analysis search should not only be carried out on our traditional competitors. Indirect competition can come from different sectors, but at the end of the day we’re both after the same consumers’ disposable income. For example, cinema brands are also competing with restaurants for consumer leisure spend.

Q2. Competitive analysis is important because ___

@sameerjawle states that a competitive analysis is ground zero of all plans and future strategies. As @bestcapetownSA puts it, we wouldn’t climb Mount Everest without a map, right? Well we can’t steer a business without market insights directing us. Without conducting a competitive analysis, we’re operating in a vacuum and no successful marketing strategy operates in a vacuum. Meltwater knows this oh too well, hence our tagline- Outside Insights.

“Marketing is a Zero-Sum Game. In order to get attention, you have to take attention away from somewhere else.”
@AgentPalmer

To have a clear understanding of our USP and brand positioning, we must know our strengths in relation to others. Such awareness arrives from a competitive analysis and can help us with differentiating our message and focusing on creating a competitive advantage.

Q3. What’s your one top tip for creating a competitive analysis plan?

@micadam’s top tip is to compare apples with apples to ensure our competitive analysis is as quantifiable as possible as this makes benchmarking easier. @bestcapetownSA proposes the use of Meltwater to track and benchmark competitors. Meltwater’s Media Intelligence platform can help monitor our brand against a number of metrics, but more on that later.

@Animatedgiff explains that understanding the audience and how they react to our competition is crucial. By analysing our competitor’s sentiment we’re able to see who is coming off most positively in the press or social. With the help of conversation clouds we’re able to see key trends and filter by sentiment so that we can pinpoint exactly what it is that is influencing a brands sentiment.

@ItisSG’s top tip is to use competitive analysis to monitor the smaller companies our competitors are buying. Moreover, by keeping an eye out for trends in recruitment we also know where/ what investment is being fed into so that we can gage future plans. Meanwhile, @aliya_Hshah’s competitive analysis top tip is offering customers a personalised branding strategy based on insights the analysis offers.

*Beware!* As @c0Sabrina points out, a competitive analysis does not mean competitive mimicry. We must refrain from copying; this only harms brand credibility and authenticity. Instead, we must look at competition and think ‘how can we do it better’, rather than the same!

Q4. What metrics do you use to compare your company against competition?

@simonlp and @ThinkSEM state that we should avoid benchmarking fan/ followers as this can distract stakeholders from what really matters, ROI, something that fan following cannot guarantee. Instead, we should be measuring engagement, as @c0Sabrina proposes, along with quality of content and post frequency. Meanwhile, @bestcapetownSA suggests we measure customer retention and acquisition, especially for high volume and low touch businesses, for example the FMCG industry.

Check out the benchmarking search on Meltwater’s homepage and compare a brand against their top rival. The Benchmark dashboard analyses reach, engagement, sentiment and audience metrics to provide a thorough competitive analysis. Here’s an example of Apple vs. Dell.

Q5. How often do you benchmark against competition, is this often enough?

@c0Sabrina and @GTAmissions1 complete a competitive analysis monthly, stating that this is a good amount of time to gather enough data to ensure a comprehensive and reliable snapshot. Whereas @simonlp completes a weekly scan and quarterly deep-dive.

If you have any suggestions for future chat topics drop a comment in the box below or email me at perri.robinson@meltwater.com!