Eyeing The Competition - What Are They Doing Right Or Wrong? Now Improve It!

Eyeing The Competition

What Are They Doing Right Or Wrong? Now Improve It!

Revised March 21, 2018
Originally Published September 30, 2008

Online & offline marketing campaigns are a part of everyday life; both are integrated into mainstream business and consumer activities daily, and often second-by-second.

For businesses to get the most for their online & offline marketing dollar, it is imperative to keep an eye on the competition and make note of:

  • what is the competition doing right or achieving?
  • what is the competition failing to provide or accomplish?

Surveying the market, what the competition offers, and gauging where their marketing efforts excel, or could use improvement; is required to get ahead in both online and offline marketing.

When analyzing competitors and related campaign features, benefits, as well as industry specifics, there are many important questions to ask.

Questions to Help Analyze the Competition

The following are some general questions in the areas of Brand, Awareness, Overall Design, Presence, Navigation, Online & Offline Content, Functionality, and Customer Service:

Brand, Awareness, & Overall Design

  • Is the company's brand inclusive of, and appealing to its target audience?
  • Has the company incorporated the branding cohesively throughout its entire marketing collateral and on all platforms?
  • What efforts has the company used to build brand awareness and reach its target market?
  • Does the brand and related marketing collateral have a professional appearance?
  • What type of color scheme is used and how does it affect the customer?
  • What kind of images are used for online & offline campaigns; if online, are they in cross-platform compatible formats?
  • Are the images used within the campaigns high-resolution, clean, clear, non-distracting, and quick to load?

Presence & Navigation

  • Does the business offer both an online and offline presence?
  • Is the company accessible via standard online and offline medias (such as a website and standard social medias)?
  • Can the business be found on both online & offline industry specific medias?
  • What types of media(s) are used?
  • Is the overall layout and navigation of all collateral easy to understand and use regardless of media?

Online & Offline Content

  • Is the content clean, clear, easy to read and navigate regardless of media?
  • Is content kept up-to-date and fresh?
  • How are the products, services, and related categories laid out?
  • Does the content fully describe the company's intentions, features, and benefits to its customers (show how it solves a customer's issue)?
  • Are descriptions summarized for quick review; as well as in-depth and keyword rich for consumer research and optimization purposes?

Online Functionality

  • Are online medias designed responsively, (meaning viewable on mobile browsers and tablets, in addition to regular platforms such as laptops and desktops)?
  • Does the competition offer online sales (e-commerce) of products and services?
  • Do they offer online scheduling and appointment setup?
  • What other types of online services does the competition offer?
    • Online Signup
    • Account History
    • Payment on Account
    • Gift Certificates
    • Coupons
    • Layaway
    • Online Billing
    • etc.

Customer Service, Sales & Support

  • What kind of online customer service support and help do they offer? (Online Chat, Email, etc)
  • Is there a resource library of related information for customers?
  • What type of related resource information is available?
  • Are there industry related news or online newsletters?
  • Does the company have online social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ & Alignable) for reaching out to consumers and providing a public forum for feedback?

In addition to the above general questions for competitive analysis, there are some important unique factors to consider as well:

Unique Elements of Review

  • Analysis of any unique, industry specific factors that may pertain only to online & offline marketing within certain business sectors, factions, or genres.
  • Locality, regional culture, and social norms are also imperative factors when analyzing any company's campaign efforts, and how to properly "speak to" and "identify with" the target market of the local area.

Implementing Positive Change

Once we understand how a company's online and offline marketing efforts compare to the competition, it's easier to see where a company's marketing efforts may be lacking, and needs assistance; in addition to where efforts exceed the competition and expectations.

Unless online and offline marketing efforts are utterly intolerable, changes are best implemented slowly, and methodically so as to avoid consumer inconvenience or confusion. While change can be good, change can also cause chaos and loss of business if not implemented in a positive, recognizable, and easy to understand manner.

Successful competitive market analysis is on-going and should be approached in a phased, long-term manner.

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