The Role of Competitive Intelligence and Analysis in Marketing

Competitive intelligence and analysis gives brands an edge. It tracks and measures any gains made by your rivals and identifies emerging trends. This intel will boost your brand presence and propel you toward success, leaving your contenders demolished.

In this article, we will go over how competitive analysis helps businesses, focusing on these points:

  • How your brand, and others, are perceived and why it matters
  • Winning the social media game
  • A “newsy” opportunity

And this conversation is timely for brands, considering these stats:

  • In 2020 more than 8,000 retail locations shut their doors for good
  • Online platforms experienced an increase in online traffic worldwide, from 16 billion visits in January 2020 to 22 billion in June 2020
  • There are more than 1 M news articles published every 24 hours
  • 94% of brands said their company was planning to invest in competitive intelligence; 90% of Fortune 500 companies already do.

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Understanding Brand Perception – Yours & Your Competitors’

In 2020, more than 8000 retail locations closed their doors forever. As we navigated the tumultuous year of isolation, social unrest and new norms, consumer behavior changed. And consumers demanded that brands change as well.

Those who were perceived as unwilling paid the price. Brands still standing had competitive intelligence and analysis on their side, informing them of not just consumer chatter, but competitor actions. It provides expansive, real-time views into your competition, including:

  • Visibility into how your competitors are interacting and performing with audiences
  • Brand perception in the news and across various social channels
  • Sentiment and share of voice

You can use the intel to then benchmark your brand’s position against. This gives you a valuable intelligence-backed view of where your brand stands in the overall conversation in your industry. The better informed your brand is, the easier it will be to plan, evaluate and manage anything thrown your way – including a crisis.

A critical part of competitive intelligence and analysis is a social media audit. This assigns value to the metrics that matter most to you. Below, we have a comparative brand analysis within the CPG category, showing how three brands rank on qualities important to their consumer base. And it’s measured by Net Sentiment, a score from -100 to 100. This is key intel for any brand to have on-hand:

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There are a variety of ways to break down this sort of analysis as well, beyond Net Sentiment (love/hate). You can compare post count, mentions, potential impressions, likes, shares and much more. Each one tells you a little more about your brand and how it measures up to your competition.

These metrics can be used as a reference point for messaging. For example, maybe you aren’t doing so well with “Trust?” It’s time to see what’s making your competitors so trustworthy and follow suit. And that’s as easy as exploring Word Cloud conversations and popular posts. Immediately actionable intel is so useful!

From there you are better outfitted to make a plan.

Winning with Social Media Intelligence & Planning

Online platforms experienced a boom in traffic which boosted visits from 16 billion in January 2020 to 22 billion by June of 2020. Some of these Chatty Cathys have the ability to influence their crowd – and this can be to your advantage (or disadvantage, if you’re not watching closely!).

You want to locate these influencers and detractors, not only for your brand, but for your competition as well.

For example, maybe you’re checking all the boxes on the brand attributes above, but you’re not able to reach certain demographics. Using competitive intelligence and analysis you can locate other brands’ influencers and detractors who have an “in” with the crowd you’re trying to reach.

A detractor could potentially be powerful for you. A consumer that feels a brand they loved is no longer meeting their needs can be easily won by a competitor with the right messaging. And you can bet they’ll have a lot to say about it to their friends online!

Likewise, locating valuable influencers who already love what you offer can give your brand a boost. An influencer analysis can pinpoint these highly engaging posts. However, just one post isn’t enough to tell if a user will be a good influencer for the brand. A company would need to track this users’ engagement rates over time to see if they are indeed an influencer in the space.

For example, below are top influencers within the beverage category, sorted by engagements. We can view how many mentions, along with how many followers/visitors they have. Scrolling down we see Aproko Doctor. His engagements are consistently high with likes, retweets and comments. He keeps his followers engaged. Though there are others above him with higher engagements, they just aren’t as involved when we track their posts. And Wiz Khalifa may be outside of your budget constraints!

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Once you are sure a social media user can grab the attention and engagement you’re looking for, you might partner with them and create a hashtag to track and monitor for your partnership efforts. This will allow you to see where new interactions are coming from.

65% of influencer marketing budgets increased in 2020 for good reason, after all! And this speaks to how valuable companies view this investment.

And there are other ways, as well, to reach out and connect with you and your competitors’ audience. If you have competitive intelligence and analysis, it’s easy to locate top channels and news sources to do so.

Using the News to Break Through The Noise 

It’s not enough just to have the voice of the consumer on your side – there are more than 1.1 M news articles published every 24 hours and the media is a powerful temptress that has the ability to sway tens of thousands with just one article.

Using competitive intelligence and analysis we can see top news sources talking about a specific company. Market Screener, Yahoo and Nasdaq are leading the conversation. Knowing which publications are writing stories about your industry, your competitors and you, tells you where you should be focusing your pitching efforts. And it offers intel around how well those stories resonate with readers too.

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Competitive intelligence and analysis can provide you all of the intel you need to stand out from your competition, with a voice that resonates with your consumers.

Ninety-four percent of brands surveyed said their company was planning to invest in competitive intelligence; 90% of Fortune 500 companies already do. What is your company planning to make 2021 wrap up as a dramatic win? If it doesn’t include competitive intelligence and analysis, you may fall short of that goal. It has become a non-negotiable as a tool. Reach out for a demo and get ready to win again!

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