May12

5 Techniques to Determine if your Competition is Out-Marketing You

Keep Ahead by Keeping an Eye on Their Marketing Strategy

Monitoring the competition’s media presence is standard practice for big companies with mega-budgets for marketing analysis. But smaller businesses can also get in on the game with these 5 easy, cost-effective techniques.

1. Check out their website.

Watch for updates like product launches, added site capabilities and customer responses — anything that might indicate they’re getting a jump on you in terms of products and/or services. You might also notice things that aren’t working so well, and take advantage by offering your superior version to customers.

2. Follow their social media.

As a follower of their company pages on FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., you’ll be automatically informed of any marketing activity that takes place there (and how well it’s succeeding).

3. Monitor their activity internet-wide.

Through the free Google Alerts service, you can be notified of any online activity by your competitor that you specify, such as news, blogs and video posts. You can also choose whether to receive the alerts as they happen or batched daily or weekly.

4. Shop their products and services.

First-hand experience of how they deliver their brand shines a bright light on what they’re doing better than you, and vice versa. While you’re “shopping,” examine everything from product assortments and prices, to package design, to customer experience.

5. Receive their e-mail and direct mail promotions.

It’s easy to get your name on their mailing lists. Then everything they’re doing in these marketing channels will be delivered to your in-box for free. Through their website you can usually request the company brochures and other sales literature; or you can pick them up at the company’s trade show booth. (If you think you’ll be recognized, get an anonymous friend to do it.)

Consistency breeds success.

The key to these monitoring practices is to do them on a regular basis. You’ve probably noticed that they cost little or nothing in dollars, but you do need to invest a bit of time. The good news is that knowing your competitor’s marketing strategy gives you the edge in staying one step ahead.

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