In Digital Marketing, the relationship between brands and their customers became so close that having the best price tag isn’t enough to convert and maintain your public.
So how do you assess what your competitors are doing to deliver value beyond pricing?
The Competitive Landscape Analysis is the perfect benchmark for this new scenario.
In this post, let’s talk more about the concept, its importance to build new engaging digital strategies, and how to put it into practice. Continue reading to see the following:
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What is a Competitive Landscape Analysis?
As the name suggests, a Competitive Landscape Analysis is a kind of benchmark with a broader view on how your direct competitors are not only offering a product/service to a converging audience, but also how they are reaching, engaging, and relating with those customers.
It is a market analysis that is primarily tied to the digital field, collecting data about the use of social media, branding, storytelling and content distribution, and so on.
This analysis is more about how companies lead their audience into their buyer’s journey and keep them interested than it is about how they price their product.
With this, it is possible to know more not only about what makes a business successful online but also what makes your audience engage with content in their daily lives.
That is why this kind of study can’t be seen as a periodic, sporadic analysis — it’s actually a constant effort to monitor new trends and emerging demands for an emotional connection among a certain type of people.
Understanding these social mechanisms and adapting your Digital Marketing plan to fit them is how a company remains relevant and competitive nowadays.
Why a Competitive Landscape Analysis is Relevant to Your Business?
This deeper, digital look at your competitors is the main difference between this concept and a more traditional benchmark.
Not so long ago, most of the relationships between a brand and its audience were concentrated on consuming. The sale and the use of a product.
But, with the digital era, that exchange never stops. Brands and people alike use the same channels to communicate, produce and share content.
Interaction is not directly tied to the act of buying and it is possible even to engage and retain an audience that never spent a single dollar with your company.
Of course, pricing is still important. But it isn’t the only thing a customer is looking for when choosing a brand.
Tied to that are values like compatible lifestyles, language, empathy, and an emotional connection. Choosing a brand is more than choosing a product.
So, that is the landscape in the name.
For your business to have the same visibility and engagement that successful brands already have, you need to learn more than how they develop and deliver their solutions.
It is also important to know how they envelop and distribute content that brings people closer, adding meaning to this relationship beyond consumption.
From that gathering of data, you and your team will find insights to apply the same methods and strategies to your own brand, giving it your signature and your style.
Like any other benchmark, it is about learning what works and what doesn’t, then using this knowledge to rise above competitors with a unique, stronger voice.
How to Create a Competitive Landscape Analysis?
As we mentioned, a Competitive Landscape Analysis should be seen as constant monitoring of what competitors are doing and how you can use their strengths and mistakes in your favor.
So how do you set up this benchmark as a central element in your business’ routine?
You can do that by investing in planning, adequate frameworks, and diving into your competitors’ work.
Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to execute a perfect landscape analysis.
Choose your method
The first thing to do in any kind of benchmark is to choose which method is the most fitting for what you want to measure.
Frameworks are a good thing because they accelerate this process by giving you a preset structure that can be adjusted to your needs.
For Competitive Landscape Analysis, you will be dealing with more than just objective data.
Price will come into play, sure, but you will be measuring engagement, brand perception, and other kinds of qualitative numbers.
In that case, SWOT is the most recommended framework.
You can also use some similar alternatives, like Porter’s Five Forces, Growth-Share Matrix, and Perceptual Mapping.
You can even use more than one to distinguish richer views over the same data.
Choose the brands you will monitor
After choosing your method, you need to know where you will apply it.
Monitoring just one competitor isn’t enough to build a consistent market landscape even if it is the segment leader.
Monitoring all of them will only make your data confusing and redundant.
So, is there a perfect number of competitors to analyze? Not exactly, because relevance and variety are more important than quantity itself.
The best approach is to create a pool of businesses that show different styles and ways of interacting with the audience.
You can pick local and global brands, bigger and smaller, and identify those which invest more in paid advertising and the ones that focus more on organic attraction.
Having a bit of everything in your sight is crucial to understand what works and what doesn’t when engaging the audience.
Like any creative, innovative idea, your future strategies will come from the sum of different visions converging into new ones.
Focus on digital
With the method and subjects defined, it is time to start following them and gathering the data.
Before going ahead, it is important to remember that we are talking mainly about Digital, Content, and Inbound Marketing strategies.
Offline plans also matter, but the scope should be where most of the customer-brand interactions happen now.
Become a lead for your competitor
So, how do you apply your method?
How do you collect data from your competition if you are researching online engagement anduser experience?
It seems like grave treason but think of it more like a Trojan horse. To learn from your competitor you have to immerse yourself in what they have to offer.
Ok, maybe this sounded a little too serious.
What you need to do is to become a lead for the businesses you are benchmarking, and get first-hand impressions on how they treat that journey and the interactions along that path.
So sign up to newsletters, follow social media profiles, click on social ads, and even interact directly with the brand — asking questions, commenting on posts, sharing content, etc.
This way, you can see how they respond and relate to their audience, whilst doing that directly with you.
Monitor social media
Those head-on experiences are qualitative and eye-opening but they are not enough data to see a larger landscape.
You also need to monitor your subjects on social media in a more quantitative approach.
That means gathering data about interactions, numbers of replies, shares, and other objective information that help you understand what kind of relationship they are building and what kind of content gets more response from the same audience you are seeking.
Social media monitoring is crucial today.
Study their content
After you map your competitors’ content that engages most, you have to go deeper to understand why they have better results.
Studying content is more than reading a blog post and copying its structure.
It is a more subjective feeling that you can perceive in multiple cohesive pieces.
We are talking about comparing visual and textual identities, the voice, and the face those competitors put out there.
You can also analyze periodicity, distribution channels, and types of content — if they mix them well in all stages of a marketing funnel, if they invest in interactive content, or if they blend different formats like video.
It is like reverse engineering their Content Marketing strategy to understand how they built their brands online.
With these pieces laid out, you can then choose the ones that work best for you and your audience, and create a new, unique approach that uses all that knowledge you’ve obtained.
Study how they position themselves
Another important thing for brand perception today is how these businesses position themselves in determined discussion points that are raised online and are of your audience’s interest.
If the customer is seeking an emotional connection with a brand, they want it to have a stance on values that are important to them.
So, when an opportunity comes — like a social event that raises awareness —, check out how they approach the subject and what position they choose.
Analyze SEO numbers
If all that monitoring is looking for subjective experiences and brand perception, the realization of those strategies in practical numbers is in SEO results.
Use the framework to analyze how the content you studied is faring on the SERPs, what kind of pieces and keywords seem to work best for your competition.
With organic traffic becoming such a powerful attractive force to get more leads, all your benchmarks should have a focus on those ranking numbers.
But remember: a single blog post on the top of a result page isn’t in itself a guarantee that this content is the answer to your problems.
Like any kind of rich analysis, you have to understand the space it occupies in a broader strategy.
Sometimes, the position of a piece of content is not directly tied to it. It can be the sum of various interactions that lead to that specific point.
That’s why Competitive Landscape Analysis is so important: it gives you a complete vision of all the pieces that fit together in a good Digital Marketing strategy.
Use all the data you gathered
It seems like an obvious tip but a lot of CMOs tend to get lost in data gathering and then forget to put it to practice.
Using this kind of benchmark isn’t copying what others are doing, but rather finding what works and what doesn’t, and turning this advantage into the beginnings of a new plan.
At the end of the day, Digital Marketing is about learning, testing, and doing better every time.
Wrap Up: Competitive Landscape Analysis is a powerful tool
When Competitive Landscape Analysis is inserted into your daily routine, it becomes a constant flux of insights for new ideas to use as interactions with your followers.
It is time to find your place online.
Want to know more about how you can make your brand stand out from the competition?
Then watch now this recorded Experience Jam Session with Mark Organ, who rose from near-bankruptcy to become the CEO of a billion-dollar company!