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Marketing Strategy: Best Practices for Competitive Monitoring

Find out what competitive monitoring is, why it matters, and how to do it with the help of specialized tools like Ignition.

For the average B2B software company, a staggering 66% of sales opportunities are competitive. 

Let that sink in for a moment. That’s a tidal wave of competition shaping the very landscape of the business sea. 

In such waters, the importance of keeping a keen eye on your rivals can’t be overstated. 

In this guide, we're not just providing you with a map; we're handing you the keys to a high-speed yacht. Because, as savvy sailors in this digital age know, competitive monitoring is not just a suggestion; it's a strategic imperative for survival. 

We’ll define competitive monitoring, explain why it matters, and discuss the tools and FAQs you’re probably wondering about.

What is competitive monitoring?

Competitive monitoring, also called competitive analysis, is the systematic process of identifying and assessing competitors' products, pricing strategies, and marketing initiatives. This practice allows businesses to strategically position themselves by gaining insights from the data collected, facilitating informed decision-making for maintaining a competitive edge.

If that definition feels stiff and jargon-rich, consider competitive monitoring as your backstage pass to the business scene. It's about snooping on rivals — products, pricing, and all their clever moves. 

Why bother? Because it's your cheat code for strategic business decisions, turning their weaknesses into your secret weapon. And the keys to the sales team’s success. In the grand symphony of business, it's not just a game; it's a survival tactic.

What is an example of competitive monitoring?

In the tech world, giants like Apple and Samsung are fierce rivals that closely watch each other's product launches, prices, and marketing moves. It's a high-stakes game of chess, where one makes a move, and the other counters just as quickly.

This real-world duel showcases how competitive monitoring is the secret sauce in this cutthroat industry. It's like a constant battle of wits, where every move is designed to outsmart the other.

Navigating the competitor seas: why monitoring matters

By monitoring your competitors, you can gain valuable insights into the market, stay up to date with emerging trends, and identify growth opportunities.

Effective competitor monitoring involves a systematic approach to data collection and analysis. It requires a deep understanding of your industry, target audience, and competitors' strengths and weaknesses. With the right tools and techniques, you can use this information to develop a winning marketing strategy that sets you apart from the competition.

This can lead to increased customer satisfaction, improved brand reputation, and, ultimately, higher profits.

What are some other benefits, you ask? Competitive monitoring: 

Helps identify who you’re competing against 

The first step to effective competitor monitoring is identifying your key competitors. When identifying your competitors, it is essential to consider their market share, customer base, and marketing tactics.

Once you have identified your competitors, you can start monitoring their strategy and marketing campaigns. This involves tracking their online presence, social media activity, advertising campaigns, and other relevant information to help you gain a competitive edge.

Direct competitors are like Coke to Pepsi — they're in the same boxing ring, throwing punches at you. They demand your constant attention because, let's face it, they're after the same customers and market share.

Comparing the types of competition

Now, indirect competitors, well, they're a different breed. They're not in the same ring, but they're eyeing the same prize. It's like a restaurant and a grocery store — they're not in a head-to-head battle, but they share the same food-loving customers.

Monitoring these indirect competitors is like having a secret window into a world of possibilities. They might pull out a fresh idea or a shiny new service, and suddenly, you're rethinking your entire business strategy. It's about staying nimble and innovative for sustained growth.

Aids with ranking each aspect of your business against your competitors 

Competitive positioning is the North Star for your business, defining your unique place and value proposition in the marketplace relative to competitors, which helps guide you and your team through the complex terrain of the business world. 

By evaluating and ranking each facet of your business against rivals, you discover your strengths and where improvements are needed.

Quality price competitive positioning chart

Implementing competitive positioning in your strategy involves:

  • Aligning marketing and sales efforts for consistent messaging.
  • Leveraging competitive intelligence for informed decision-making.
  • Emphasizing adaptability based on continuous market feedback.

Gives sales the weapons to fight the competition

Competitive monitoring serves as a valuable asset to the sales team, allowing them to craft sales pitches that leave rivals in the dust.

Armed with competitive intelligence, they can outsmart the competition and maintain a leading position in the fast-paced market. It also allows the team to identify untapped opportunities for their product or service, giving them an unmatched advantage. 

Empowers your brand to thrive in a customer-centric era

It's the job of PMs and PMMs to be the vigilant guardians of what's happening in the market. Because, let's face it, customers today have more options than a buffet menu, and their expectations? Well, they're sky-high.

Here's a gem of wisdom from American businessman William Knudsen: "In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running; if you stand still, they will swallow you." 

And in this digital age, where your competition is just one mouse click away, truer words were never spoken. Your product team needs to have a healthy dose of paranoia at all times. Otherwise, complacency sets in, and you’ll begin to lose creativity and market share.

Unraveling the map: essential tools and techniques

Navigating the competitive landscape requires more than just a map; you need the right tools and methods to decode the terrain. Let's discuss these essential tools and techniques that will allow you to dissect your rivals' moves and gain a competitive edge. 

Social media monitoring tools

Social media monitoring tools allow you to track the social media presence of your competitors, including their social media accounts, followers, engagement rates, and content strategy. By analyzing their social media activity, you can gain valuable insights into their target audience, messaging, and overall marketing strategy.

SEO analysis tools

SEO analysis tools help you to analyze your competitors' search engine rankings, website traffic, and keywords. By identifying the keywords your competitors are targeting, you can optimize your content to target those exact keywords and improve your search engine rankings. 

Content analysis tools

Content analysis tools help you to analyze your competitor's content strategy and the types of content that perform well with their audience. By analyzing your competitors' content, you can gain insights into their messaging, tone, and overall approach to content marketing. 

Email marketing monitoring tools

Email marketing monitoring tools allow you to track your competitors' email campaigns. By analyzing their campaigns, you can identify the types of emails that perform well, the frequency of emails, and the calls to action used.

With Ignition’s competitive analysis features, you can track key competitive signals like news, reviews, SEO data, and more – automatically. You import win/loss data from your CRM and instantly analyze key drivers for why you're winning or losing deals and then push insights directly to Sales.

X marks the spot: identifying competitor's strengths and weaknesses

Identifying your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is like having a treasure map in business. Knowing where they excel, such as unique selling propositions or top-notch customer service, helps shape your strategy. Recognizing their weaknesses, like subpar customer support, presents opportunities for you to shine and attract dissatisfied customers.

But how do you actually do that?

SWOT analysis for competitor monitoring

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It allows you to identify these and use them against your competitors.

SWOT analysis for competitor monitoring

Furthermore, SWOT analysis can help you identify potential threats to your business. For example, if your competitor is expanding their product line, consider doing the same to remain competitive.

Understanding competitors' unique selling propositions

For example, if your competitor's unique selling proposition is their eco-friendly packaging, you may want to consider implementing a similar strategy in your own business. Alternatively, you may want to focus on a different aspect of sustainability, such as sourcing materials from local suppliers.

Recognizing competitor's marketing gaps

Identifying your competitor's marketing gaps allows you to identify areas where they are not meeting customers' needs or where they’re leaving out an important strategic aspect.

For example, suppose your competitor is not active on social media. In that case, you may want to build a strong social media presence to reach customers your competitor is not. Alternatively, if your competitor is not offering a loyalty program, you may want to consider implementing one to incentivize repeat business.

Hoisting the colors: analyzing competitor's marketing strategies

To develop an effective marketing strategy, you need to analyze your competitors' marketing strategies. The areas to focus on include:

Evaluating competitor's website and user experience

Your competitor's website is the first point of contact with potential customers. Analyzing the website's design, user interface, and content helps you to identify what works and what doesn't. 

When evaluating your competitor's website, consider the layout and design. Is it visually appealing and easy to navigate? Take note of the color scheme and font choices. Are they consistent with the brand's overall image? Also, pay attention to the website's loading speed.

A slow website can lead to high bounce rates and a negative user experience. If you find your website’s loading speed is lagging behind your competitors, consider optimizing and compressing images, deleting any unnecessary plugins, or upgrading to a top-tier web host.

Screenshot of Igniton tool competitive monitoring

Another vital aspect to consider is the website's content. Is it informative and engaging? Is it easy to read and understand? Take note of the type of content used, such as blog posts, videos, or infographics. 

What types of keywords is your competitor targeting? You can use this free sales battlecard template to quick identify what keywords your competitor is targeting.

Assessing competitor's content marketing efforts

Analyzing your competitor's content marketing efforts helps you identify industry trends, overlap areas, and differentiation opportunities.

When doing this, consider the type of content they publish, the frequency of content creation, and the channels they use to distribute the content. Take note of the topics covered and the tone they use in their content. 

Analyzing competitor's social media presence

Analyzing your competitor's social media presence helps you to identify what type of content works well and what doesn't. It also allows you to identify emerging trends in the market.

When analyzing your competitor's social media presence, consider the platforms they use and the frequency of posts. Take note of the type of content used, such as images, videos, or text-based posts. Also, pay attention to the engagement rates, such as likes, comments, and shares. 

Examining competitor's email marketing campaigns

Examining your competitors' email marketing campaigns helps you identify the frequency of emails, types of content used, and the calls to action used.

When examining your competitor's email marketing campaigns, consider the frequency of emails and the types of content they use. Take note of the subject lines and the calls to action included in the emails. Also, pay attention to the segmentation they use in their email campaigns. 

This information can help you create an email marketing strategy that resonates with your target audience and drives conversions.

Communicating competitive insights to your crew

Staying in the dark about your competitors is like navigating without a compass, and that's not a wise choice in today's competitive business landscape. Notably, 88% of those who depend on Competitive Intelligence desire regular updates. This task can be challenging, as enabling your organization to understand and use this intel is crucial. 

Some organizations provide dedicated training; others opt for self-serve competitive intel tools. These tools allow sales reps to access vital information or receive automated email updates. However, there's a significant risk here. You might invest time and effort in top-notch competitive monitoring, only for the information to gather dust, never reaching your teams.

Why is this critical? Sales and Customer Success teams rely on this information for customer conversations. Product Managers and Product Marketing Managers also need this intel to keep their teams informed. One of the ways Ignition solves this is through AI-driven sales enablement

Ignition's connected to your documentation so anybody in your organization can ask ChatGTM a question and receive instant, accurate responses.

Charting the next course

In the business world, competitive monitoring is like being a spy, gathering top-secret intel, and ensuring your team knows how to use it. After all, you wouldn't keep treasure hidden in a chest forever; you'd want to share it with your crew and set sail for success.

As you know, the top spies have cutting-edge gadgets, which is why you should consider using Ignition to keep tabs on the competition.

When you sign up for Ignition, you can make up to 3  on the free plan, which helps equip sales reps with the knowledge and resources they need to engage in competitive sales situations effectively.

Check out our AI-powered all-in-one competitor research tool today!

Competitive monitoring FAQs

Our FAQ section is your treasure chest of knowledge, ready to guide you through the wild seas of business competition. Let's answer those burning questions one by one:

How do you conduct competitor benchmarking?

Competitive benchmarking helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, illuminating the path to improvement and a competitive edge. By gauging your performance against your rivals’, you get insights that can turbocharge your operations and strategies.

Conducting competitive benchmarking involves several key steps: 

  1. Identify your competitors and industry best practices. 
  2. Gather and analyze relevant data, including your competitors' and your own performance metrics. 
  3. Use this data to establish benchmarks based on industry standards and achievable goals. 
  4. Implement strategies for improvement based on your findings, and continuously monitor your progress against these benchmarks. 
  5. Be ready to adjust your strategies as needed to ensure you stay on the right course to gain a competitive edge.

What are the KPIs for competitiveness? 

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for competitiveness come in two flavors: qualitative and quantitative. On the qualitative front, you've got stakeholder confidence — ensuring that the powers that be have faith in your strategies. 

Employee satisfaction is a crucial metric; happy employees tend to be more engaged and productive. And, of course, there's customer satisfaction – because if your clients aren't smiling, you're in choppy waters.

On the quantitative side, it's all about hard numbers. 

Win rates measure how many battles you're winning in the market. Customer retention tracks your ability to keep existing customers on board. Revenue growth shows how your efforts impact the bottom line. Remember resource adoption and new product launches; they sharpen your competitive edge.