Data plays an integral role in how marketers today create and execute their strategy.
From establishing buyer personas and segmenting your audience to developing nurture campaigns and predicting future behavior, marketing data helps you establish a framework for growth for your business.
Despite the proven impact of data to help marketers reflect on their audience and campaign strategy, few turn the lens outward and think about using data to reflect on the competition. Conducting market research can be one of the most effective ways to uncover what “works” when trying to reach your target audience.
Admittedly, knowing what data to use (and how to use it) can be a bit complicated. The ReachForce team put together this post to show you how best-in-class marketers leverage data to gain an edge on the competition. To get started, take a look at exactly what metrics you can (and should) measure from competitors and what that information tells you about your own business.
Focus Your Market Research on Data That Matters
At some point or another, every marketer is guilty of getting caught up in what is known as “vanity metrics.” That is okay; at times, it makes sense to use them. However, when conducting market research on competitors, it is important not to get wrapped up in data that does not offer any real insights.
For example, many marketers put too much weight on site traffic alone. Sure, it feels good to see a surge in traffic to a particular blog post or landing page on your own website. Alternatively, it is easy to get a bit skittish when you notice a competitor is besting you in driving traffic to their website. Try not to forget that traffic alone means next to nothing. For that data to mean anything, you also need to know:
- The searches that drive that traffic to your competitor (and not to you)
- Whether that traffic actually converts to leads
- How much your competitors spend on generating that traffic versus the actual revenue derived
In other words, focusing on the right data — data that actually informs your own strategy — is the only way to get any value from competitive market research. So, on what data should you specifically focus?
That depends on your own marketing goals. If, for example, your aim was to build a better presence for your brand on social media, analyzing engagement data — likes, comments, retweets, shares, etc. — tells you a bit about the types of content that resonates with your audience. Or, suppose your goal was to boost conversions through your content. In that case, using a tool likely Simply Measured to measure and track conversions can be huge because it will tell you exactly what works — and what does not — with your competitors.
With the right data in hand, you can gain a fast advantage over the competition. However, knowing how to actually put insights to work for your business can be confusing.
How to Turn Competitor Insights into Actionable Marketing Activities
“Knowing where you stand in relation to your competitors will help inform the strategy and tactics needed to achieve your client’s SEO goals, allowing you to focus your efforts and set realistic expectations.”
That is true, not just for digital agencies developing an SEO strategy for clients, but for you as well. Knowing how your competitors approach SEO tells you a lot about what you need to do to have a similar (or better) impact. Measuring indexed pages of a competitor’s website, for example, tells you how much content your competitor has created to gain their current site authority and ranking. Backlinks to key content — another easily accessible piece of competitive market research — tell you the sites that are linking back to your competitor’s pages, which you could use for trying to improve your own site ranking.
Of course, in both situations described, it is critical to take a deeper look at the quality of your data. A competitor may have 500 indexed pages on their website or 30,000 backlinks, but that does not always correlate with good results. Instead, it is about looking at these data points in relation to the competitor's sales or brand awareness. That tells you not just how many pages your competitor indexed, but also the impact those indexed pages had on their business.
Quality Data Makes All the Difference — Customer and Competitor Data Alike
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization, and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean, and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.