You have developed a superior product that will put your competition to shame. You know exactly how you stack up with respect to features, benefits and pricing and you have communicated it beautifully on your website. You celebrate your launch with an enthusiastic post to Facebook and wait for the traffic to roll in. Nothing.
The customer’s journey to making a purchase is well documented. They enter keywords into search engines, read customer reviews and blog posts, follow links and consult their friends on social media. Your product might be superior, but if your competition is better at driving traffic to their website it doesn’t matter. If your target customer cannot find you online quickly and easily you don’t exist.
Leveraging competitive intelligence toward the promotion of your product online is an important part of marketing strategy. You can gain invaluable insight into how well your competitor’s website performs, the keywords they are targeting, how they are spending their online advertising dollars and how they engage with their customers and industry influencers on social media. Used properly, this information could make all the difference to your organization’s success.
But, the amazing array of options available for gathering this information can be overwhelming. For this reason, I have been researching and cataloging online tools that can be used for competitive research and have now begun to share them in a “resources” section on my blog.
I have organized the tools into the following categories:
Most of these resources can also be used to monitor your own brand, but I am focusing on their use for gathering competitive intelligence.
My goal is to provide a resource that can be used to find solutions for any budget – from start-ups and individuals who want freebies, to medium-sized organizations who are ready to dedicate resources toward a systematic approach to competitive monitoring.
While making sense of the reams of competitive data can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be and it’s well worth the effort. Not only will you gain useful information toward designing your own marketing strategies, but it is important to remember that your competitors are gathering this information about you as well.
Some of the tools can be (and are) integrated into enterprise level packages for global organizations, but that is not my focus at this time. My intention is to grow this resource, so feel free to offer suggestions and check back often to see what is new.