What Your Market Competitors Can Teach You About Marketing

by Tony Shannon

market competitorsCompetition can be viewed as a good thing or a bad thing, the difference is your perception. Fearing competition can drive success or create a high-pressure environment that hinders success.

Welcoming competition can also push us to work harder and faster or it can invite that one business that takes over and pushes your business out or...


A Proper View of Competition

What if the proper view and attitude towards our competitors wasn't one of confidence or fear but that of a student? That will require some of us to lose our prideful and stubborn disposition in order to adopt a more teachable attitude. 

The more successful you've been or the higher your level of expertise in a given field, the more difficult that may be.

That's okay, for most of us it has been awhile since we've been students. If it has been a while since you've dawned your student cap, be mindful of these famous words:

"Once you stop learning, you start dying." - Albert Einstein

Perhaps we need to become students once more? Inbound marketing success depends on always learning and evolving.  Let's begin this lesson with looking at 10 things our competitors can teach us about inbound marketing...

Social Media

You don't have to be a marketer or even a business person to be aware of the rise of social media. It is the communication medium today that connects people, businesses and communities.

Doing your homework and finding out who is successfully using social media is a good place to start. What are those companies doing that is resonating with the social media audience?

What customer engagement and organic marketing efforts are being made? How often have we heard the best say they've learned from the best? This is the essence of being a student.

market competitors

Email Campaigns

Sure, email can often be an outbound marketing tool but as one business stated, "if you're doing email marketing right, it's inbound. Otherwise you risk spam and deliverability issues."

While there may be a discussion about that particular statement, the truth is that email marketing can be both an inbound and outbound tactic.

Marketing partner HubSpot has compiled a list of 15 of the best email marketing campaigns here. Sharpen your pencils students, it's time to take notes.

Lead Nurturing

Owners, managers and professional marketers are all familiar with tools like customer mapping and sales funnels.

Nurturing those leads and our audience is reflected in such tools and that nurturing process is vital to the success of any inbound marketing campaign. As good students, we will ask who is doing this effectively and how are they doing it.

With that information we can implement and tailor our lead nurturing process where applicable.

market competitors

Blogging

Everyone is blogging and everyone is reading blogs. Informative, organic and even instructional blogs have found a home in the inbound marketing cycle. What are the successful companies in your industry blogging about?

Are these blogs lighthearted or more corporate in nature. Note the tone, topics, style and even aesthetics of these successful blogs to improve your own.

Newsletters

The inbound marketing strategy is often designed to cultivate interest, nurture leads and develop the kind of relationships that extend well past the sale. Newsletters can be an effective measure in reaching those goals.

Find out what companies are using newsletters, who is doing it successfully and how they are being used. Are the successful companies in your industry sending out newsletters that are more technical in nature, informative or fun and easy-going?

This type of study can tell you as much about your audience as it can your industry or campaign.

Marketing Strategy

There are countless marketing strategies and the right one is always the one that works. Deciding what strategy works best in your industry and for your company may require some trial and error.

That also means studying what is working for your competitors and working those tactics into your strategy. Your inbound marketing success will thrive if you study your competition.

market competitors

Content

What are you saying, how are you saying it and who are you speaking to? This is content and it can dictate the success or failure of your marketing campaign.

From your call-to-action and landing pages to your social media and SEO application, great content counts. This is one area where a little more study and considerably more caution needs to be applied.

We don't want to copy our competitors (they call that plagiarism) and we don't want to sound or look exactly like them either.

Using caution in borrowing content ideas, themes and verbiage is important if you want to sound smart and not be accused of being a copycat, or worse.

Distribution

What platforms, podiums and arenas are your competitors successfully using that you aren't. Knowing where your prospects are, what forums they use and how to find them is essential if you want your message to be heard.

Studying your competitors will often reveal untapped sectors and alert you to where your industry's customers are being discovered. This will likely illuminate several areas for you to explore...

market competitors

Multi-Channel Marketing

If your business is a SaaS company or insurance agency for example, your audience could be wide-ranging and cover many groups.

For businesses that have a wider audience multi-channel marketing has proven to be an effective strategy. Take pointers and watch where your industry leaders are headed, there is likely to be an audience for you there as well.

What NOT to Do

Sometimes studying others can teach you as much about what not to do as it can teach us what to do. Every company makes mistakes and we can all learn from those mistakes if - we are good students.

Contact us if you want to learn more about what to do, what not to do and how to get the most out of your marketing campaign. We are more than marketing professionals, we are excellent students too.

Topics:Inbound Marketing
competitor analysis