Brands can learn from their own mistakes, and from those of a competitor with competitive monitoring capabilities in place. We will outline the top ten strategies you can employ with this intel – with incredible outcomes.
Leading brands rely on competitive monitoring to:
- Identify aspirational companies to follow in their footsteps
- Spy on the campaign trail of your competition and learn from their efforts
- Examine competitors’ mistakes to create opportunity
- Fine-tune your niche and discover new audiences
- Track emerging trends for success
- Pinpoint new brands that could disrupt the market
- Follow KOLs and track industry-defining intel
- Watch for new patent filings to know about new ideas before they’re live
- Make the most of mergers and acquisitions intel
- Understand the significance of competitors’ earning calls
And then these statistics around consumer behavior shed a light on why competitive monitoring is crucial:
- 87% of consumers start their product searches online and will often talk about it on social media. Capturing this chatter offers valuable insight.
- 88% of consumers want brands to help them be more environmental and ethical, discovering these beliefs, and others like them, can be crucial to your marketing efforts.
- Key opinion leaders (KOLs) have more influence than brand ads, with 92% of consumers trusting them more than brand marketing.
Competitive monitoring can help you establish your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your competition. And this reveals opportunities. For example, below we have two competing makeup brands. Net sentiment is high for both, as is passion intensity. However, one is winning more mentions.
As competitor B, you would want to know what’s behind the volume of mentions. Competitive monitoring reveals details on competitor A’s mascara, with 12,084 mentions in the last month of just one of their mascara lines. And posts rave about its “staying power.” These details can inform product creation, or even just messaging if your product has winning ‘staying power’ as well!
Let’s dig into that list.
1) Locate the Crème de la Creme of Competitors to Monitor
You want to monitor the best companies so you can see where they succeed and then apply their tactics to your own brand. It’s always a good idea to look to the top competitors in your industry and follow successful formulas. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel when they already know what works.
Competitive monitoring can help you identify these platinum-level companies, giving you a goal to aspire to and keeping the fires lit. It’s important to note that they key players in your industry may not be the brands you expect. It may not be those who’ve been around the longest. Monitoring for brand mentions in your space with show who consumers are talking about most, and those are the brands you want to examine.
2) Following the Campaign Trail
Sometimes you’ll get a lightbulb moment from following consumer chatter via social analytics. Other times, through competitive monitoring you’ll discover a campaign that’s trending and it will shine a light on which way your brand needs to go.
Winning campaigns are based on consumer trends, and if you see a competitor’s campaign taking off in all the right ways, it can be advantageous to follow suit, albeit with a few tweaks of your own to make your brand’s message unique.
But sometimes a campaign that’s chasing a trend falls flat. By monitoring your competition, you can learn not only the dos but the don’ts as well….
3) Benefits of Monitoring Competitor Mistakes
Keep your friends close and your competitors closer. This way you can avoid their mistakes and also be there to rescue their consumers as they jump ship after a marketing flop. Consumers are fickle after all, and it only takes a small mishap for their eyes to wander towards another brand who can meet their needs. Competitive monitoring identifies competing brand failures.
Maybe their ad came across as not inclusive. Or perhaps they just don’t offer what a large group of their consumers want. 87% of consumers start their product searches online, and if their preferred brand doesn’t have “it,” they’ll let social media know as they continue their frustrated searching. You can identify these instances by using competitive monitoring.
4) What’s in a Niche?
Brands must find their niche in order to draw the right crowd. And you’ll struggle doing this if your brand doesn’t have a solid understanding of its strengths and weaknesses. Monitoring your own audience for brand perception is a good start.
Start by narrowing down who your consumers are and what they’re saying about you. Social analytics tools can identify different demographics and organize them according to gender, geographical similarities and even interests and professions.
For example, we have two top makeup brands below – with audiences segmented by gender. Brand B is definitely winning when it comes to reaching a more diverse crowd of consumers. And our wheels reveal what each are talking about.
The largest category with men in the wheel speaks of perfume. Brand B clearly has a voice with men. This kind of intel can be used to target men more effectively with what they actually want, highlighting your strength as a brand in this area and further defining – or expanding – your niche.
Understanding who’s talking and what they’re talking about, along with your own goals can help you shape your niche and create targeted messaging that will resonate. Once you have a plan, test it, adjust and repeat!
5) Detecting Emerging Trends
You can, of course, track conversations over time using competitive intelligence. Brands can highlight trending topics, hashtags and conversations for you to use for ads and campaigns.
Your competitions’ audiences, however, may be different from your own. Competitive monitoring can identify these different demographics and you can begin to pinpoint trending conversations happening between your competitors’ consumers as well. Once you decide these topics are trending upwards and consistently, you can create targeted advertisements and campaigns for your competitions’ consumers – perhaps beating your rivals to the punch and winning a whole new category of fans.
6) New Competitors Who May Pose a Threat
Who are consumers talking about? Is it you, or someone else? You can identify emerging competitors by using social listening tools. This capability recognizes new players in the game and highlights which of them are capturing an increasing amount of consumer interest. Not only that, but social listening reveals why consumers are talking about them.
Maybe it’s a new product that, so far, is exclusive to the brand. Perhaps it’s their commitment to earth-friendly practices that is drawing a crowd. After all, “>88% of consumers want brands to help them be more environmental and ethical, so aligning yourself with a trending belief is smart.
For example, we can see that Maybelline’s customers are pretty loyal. However, there are a few other brands being discussed. One being Nars, which much like Maybelline, wins kudos for its commitment to cruelty free practices.
7) Following KOLs’ Lead
KOLs have a lot of power, and this includes the power of influence. 92% of consumers trust KOLs over paid advertising. Elon Musk is a continuous example of this, one mention of Bitcoin and stocks raise or drop.
Consumers pay attention to these influential people because they come across as authentic. They aren’t paid for their opinions; they’re just thought leaders in a given space. Monitoring for these consumer heroes can help point your brand in the direction it needs to go. And if you’re lucky enough to align your brand with one, that isn’t a bad idea either as it can drastically change the way consumers view your brand.
Our KOLs below have advice and valued information to pass on, and that’s why consumers love them. Our top Makeup KOL, Pat Mcgrath received damehood from the Queen herself, and was recognized by Vogue as the most influential makeup artist in the world. Aligning with what she has to say in the world of makeup could automatically win your brand some new fans.
8) Monitoring Pending Patents
Necessity is the mother of invention. We have seen this in the world of apps, such as Instacart. This company grew as a result of the pandemic and the need to stay safe and healthy. This resulted in a 500% YOY growth.
Similarly, new products and patents can evolve out of tracking consumer wants that are left unmet. And they can be realized by monitoring new patents so you’re not left wondering what happened to your newly disrupted space. It’s wise to keep your ear to the ground on what’s being created. Knowing this can guide your brand toward jumping on board an already moving train before it picks up too much speed, or to help you identify areas that your company can uniquely fill.
9) Monitoring M&A for Opportunities
Merges and acquisitions have been happening since the beginning of business. And companies are finding it can be a great way to improve costs and increase your market share. Two companies can pool their resources and quickly build a larger empire, increasing not only market share, but brand share of voice.
As a brand, you need to be aware of who is buying what – preferably before it happens. Competitive monitoring can identify these M&A opportunities and also keep you aware of any larger threats to your category.
10) Competitive Monitoring & Earnings Calls
Stock prices can rise and fall according to earning calls. If an investor is on the fence about investing or continuing to invest in a particular brand, an earning call can provide more information. Competitive monitoring allows you to listen in on not just financial data, but on how leaders explain key pieces of intel and how they rise to the questioning. These can be great indicators of what’s happening behind the scenes, assuming you have a tool handy to analyze the language. Data visualization of these events can inform long-term strategy, and certainly offers valuable insight for any company.
The competitive landscape is crowded and it’s only getting more crowded each day. Competitive monitoring can keep you in the know, alerting you to competitor moves, missteps, and so much more. Be proactive and reach out for a demo and make your company the one to watch!