Strategic, well-informed marketing can be key to boosting occupancy, building your audience’s trust in your business, and more. But before you start a new marketing initiative for your business or begin the rebranding process, taking the time to perform a competitor analysis can be a valuable decision.
Whether you’ve never performed a competitor analysis or think it’s time to revisit this marketing technique, putting time into this strategic analysis is an investment that can pay off with more effective marketing.
Understanding the Competitor Analysis
Catrina Clulow-Phillips, a Chartered Marketer FCIM and director at Cut Through Marketing, a B2B Consulting Global LTD brand, explains that a competitor analysis gives businesses valuable information about where their competitors sit in the market compared to their own business. “Before you start, you should list the information that you are interested in finding answers to,” she recommends. That information might include a competitor’s:
- Social media platforms
- Pricing information
- Reviews on independent sites
- Whether they have waiting lists
- Who their content is aimed at (the client, their family, their doctor?)
You may also want to evaluate whether the competitor is aiming at the top, middle, or bottom of the market.
Clulow-Phillips suggests using a spreadsheet to keep the information organized. Sorting information into different columns makes it easy to quickly review and compare information across multiple competitors.
The information you gain through that analysis can benefit your business in multiple ways. “Knowing where your competitors are concentrating could highlight a gap in the market that you could leverage,” says Clulow-Phillips. “Knowing where you sit in comparison to your competitors means that you can clearly understand the pricing conversation and know whether you are being given accurate information by the prospective clients. It will also ensure that you are aware of how the market is moving in your geography and what you need to do potentially to be in the tier that you want to be in.”
Performing a competitor analysis can be particularly valuable if you plant o launch a new marketing initiative. “Understanding the market, including your competitors, will allow you to set goals and stretch goals more effectively for that initiative,” Clulow-Phillips says. “If rebranding, then knowing how to differentiate yourself in terms of offering, name, and logo is all important. You don’t want to confuse the market by being too similar to anyone else.”
Performing a Competitor Analysis
Clulow-Phillips explains that you can gain most of the information you need on your competitors from the internet. Some companies do perform their own phone or mystery shopper visit research. “If using in-person research, then have a clear reason for the call or visit, and have a scenario in mind,” advises Clulow-Phillips. “Rate the customer service and knowledge level of the person answering the questions. When doing in-person research, some companies will have a mystery shopper call or visit their own company so that they are rated, too,” she says.
The amount of time that a competitor analysis takes will depend on whether you’re relying entirely on online research or also using phone and in-person follow-ups. Plan to spend about 30 to 60 minutes going through a single competitor’s website, social media channels, independent reviews, and information available on news sites.
While researching your direct competitors can give you valuable information to inform your marketing strategy, Clulow-Phillips also highlights the importance that researching your indirect competitors can offer, too.
For example, an assisted living facility might be able to learn important information or get inspiration from how a nursing home known for the quality of its memory care wing does its marketing. “Looking outside of the direct competitors can help you to uncover new strategies and ways of going to market, or even strategic alliances where you work with the indirect competitors to strengthen both parties’ offerings and sharing marketing costs,” she says.
Keep in mind that a competitor analysis gives you plenty of details, but avoid the temptation to replicate the marketing techniques that your competitors are using. Instead, consider how you can adjust your marketing so your business stands out against your competitors as a unique, appealing option.