You know the importance of competitive benchmarking. And you probably know that documenting every aspect of your competitors’ strategies probably isn’t worth the investment. But have you considered that there are some things you should know—and check in on frequently—to evaluate and evolve your own marketing strategies?
For example, can you say with confidence that you know…
- Who your key “competitor to watch” is right now, and why?
- How your competitors are currently differentiating themselves from you—not just in terms of the product or service, but also in terms of the marketing strategy they’re executing and the customer experience they’re delivering?
- What key messages your competitors are delivering, and the proof points they’re citing?
- Which audiences your competitors are talking to, and where?
If your answer is no to any of these questions, you need a competitive assessment.
Your assessment could go broad (evaluating every brand that serves your audiences) or narrow (one or two competitors in a specific market). It can include evaluating everything from brand perceptions to social media tactics. It can also involve both qualitative and quantitative methods.
But a competitive assessment is about more than simply recording what your competitors are doing as a benchmark. It’s about making sure you’re actively assessing what they’re doing and if it’s effective so you can learn from their successes as well as their mistakes.
A competitive assessment can help you identify:
- The overall experiences your audiences are having as they research or shop for what you offer
- The variety of messages your audiences are seeing during that journey
- The places where they’re encountering these messages
- How relevant these messages are to them overall
- Any messages out there that you need to counter in your own talking points
- Opportunities for you to do a better job at being where your audiences are and giving them the information they want and need
Consider aspirational brands, too. A competitive assessment can be about more than evaluating your direct competitors. Opening it up to other brands you admire may help you see things you ordinarily might not notice and think more broadly about how audience needs and behaviors are similar or different across various industries. You could evaluate an aspirational brand the same way you do your competitors, or read a study of some bigger brands and ask yourself if some of the key lessons in the study apply to you.
A competitive assessment doesn’t just help you keep tabs on your industry. It also puts you one step closer to becoming the brand that stands out from everyone else.