How important is competitor research before launching a marketing campaign?

We have all heard the phrase – “Testing the waters” and surely the practicality of the phrase does make sense. You wouldn’t want to start any project before getting the true insights into the scope of the project. For example, if you want to launch a new clothing brand, it is important to understand the demand of your product and to understand how other already existing brands are doing it. In short, it is imperative that you understand your competitors and perform intrinsic competitor research. Launching a marketing campaign requires a lot of research and efforts, as you would do before launching a brand.

Importance of competitor research before launching a marketing campaign
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Creating awareness is done for one major reason: to make more sales and connect with potential clients on a personal level. This is why all sorts of business enterprises ranging from start-ups to giant corporations like Apple and Coca-cola will not stop launching marketing campaigns, especially now that most sales and business negotiations occur online. As a marketer, you need to know how to effectively carry out a converting marketing campaign, but right now, we will be discussing the importance of competitor research before the launching of any marketing campaign.

The importance of competitor research

  • Competitor research helps small businesses and start-ups to make more rational decisions that will significantly improve business strategy. 
  • The purpose of a competitor analysis is to understand your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses compared to your own and find a gap in the market.
  • It shows you how to outsmart your competitors since the analysis shows the strength and flaws of your competitor.
  • Effective competitor research allows entrepreneurs to avoid popular mistakes that can otherwise be costly in terms of time and resources.
  • It helps in answering the following questions. 
  1. What is the difference between their product and mine?
  2. Is my product up to standard?
  3. Is the price affordable enough for people to purchase?
  4. How good is my social media presence?
  5. How many areas do I have to cover to be ahead of my competitors?

Those are questions you really need answers to, if you want to outsmart your competitors, and the answers to these questions can only be obtained through competitive analysis.

Let’s examine the importance of competitor research with a simple example; Let’s say you run a writing agency that focuses on academic papers. It is a no-brainer that your direct competitors would be the other writing agencies, however going around to compete with just any agency is a quick way to go bankrupt. Proper competitor research allows you to identify writing agencies that are also focused on academic papers, further it helps you to understand how to contrate your efforts so that you can overcome your competitors quickly and efficiently even before they get a chance to react. 


Competitor research for marketing

Who are your competitors?

It’s quite obvious that no matter the business or product you create, someone has created something similar or even that same product. These people are your competitors. They have a landmark that can’t be easily erased due to their consistency and reputation; for you to succeed, you will have to find a way to beat them at their own game.

What is competitive analysis?

Competitive analysis, also known as competitors’ research, is the act of accessing, investigating, and comparing the profile of your competitors. All competitors have one or two landmarks that can help your business grow, and that can only be known when you study them well, through their profile which includes their strengths and weaknesses; however, their methods and patterns aren’t to be totally copied but redesigned and modified.

Many neglect competitive analysis in marketing just to focus on the mere insight and surface information they know about their competitor, and this has kept them right behind those competitors. There are steps to follow when doing competitor research; these steps are collectively known as competitor array.

Competitor array allows you to examine the most defining factors of your industry. It then helps you study your competitors using SWOT methods, benchmarking, and more. Thus providing you a clear image of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. 

To carry out an effective competitor array, it is important that you do the following.

  • Define your industry – Without knowing what your product or services are all about, you can’t define who your competitors are. Self-discovering is always the first step in knowing who your competitors are.
  • Define your competitors – We have different types of competitors, and they all operate and help our analysis in different ways. Below is a brief summary of the different types of competitors you might encounter as an entrepreneur.
  1.  Direct competitors – these are competitors that target the same set of customers you target, and they also operate in the same areas you operate. 
  2.  Indirect competitors are businesses close to your category but don’t really sell or offer the same services you offer.
  • Define your customers and their needs –Business personnel should be more concerned about solving problems and meeting people’s needs, and this is a key component in competitive research. Know your customers, their problems, and how you intend to solve these problems with your products and services.
  • Analyse some key factors – Key factors such as time, price, convenience, and many others. These are good factors to put into consideration.
  • Rate all competitors on each factor – Compare the efficiency and effectiveness of all competitors using the above key factors.
  • Benchmarking – This is the process whereby you compare your company’s business processes, performance metrics, and best practises to other businesses and companies. This process is used to measure the efficiency of a particular company or industry in a particular area among other competitors. 

Social media competitors' analysis

The fact that you can know more and more about what your competitor is up to through their social media, gives an unprecedented opportunity for companies to get insights into their competitors. Social media is a world of its own, and the more influential and visible you are on social media, the easier it is to determine the progress of your brand. Push your brand into people’s faces with every opportunity you get. Read our article on ‘Importance of social media competitive analysis’ to get more insights into how social media as a medium can turn out to be really fruitful for your competitor research.

How to do social media competitor research

  • Understand your competitors and their ranking keywords 

Keywords are words that are related to your firm and brand that people can use to locate you. For instance, if you’re into the toothpaste manufacturing business, people that need toothpaste are likely to search for the best toothpaste at an affordable price. Those are your keywords. Check out other keywords that are used by your competitors. 

  • Select ten top-ranking competitors and study their social media growth 

Check out when, where, and how they post, the hashtags they use, and the type of topics they write on that helped them build their influence. It’s good to know the social media platforms your competitors use. Once you know this, get ready to repeat such a procedure with more competence to attract attention.

  • Do a SWOT analysis

SWOT means strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Check out the strengths of your competitors so as to know how well to prepare for your engagement. Study their weaknesses, try to make these weaknesses your strength; this will give you an opportunity to appear unique. Seek for opportunities that are not being utilised by them and be cautious of threats, and those threats include other rising brands that see you as a competitor.

There are various tools out there that can help you in performing a comprehensive competitive analysis. Read our blog article on ‘Why do you need competitor analysis tools for your social media’ to get insights into some of the best competitor analysis tools that can come handy for you or your business. 

Interested to see how you stack up against your competitors on social media? Book a 14-Day free trial with us and get access to data insights that can help you to save time, increase engagement and win more clients.