Why spying could be the way to beat your business rivals

If you want to rise to the top of your sector one of the most pro-active steps you can take is to monitor the marketing activity of your main rivals.

While gathering intelligence is vital, there’s little to be gained from simply copying the work of others. If existing operators were getting everything right, there would be little point in you attempting to enter their space.

In effect, spy on them: see what they are up to, how they are promoting themselves and where, from a marketing point of view, they are hanging out. Remember, though, this is a great opportunity to consider what they are getting wrong, as well as emulating their successes.

So put away the magnifying glass and move that yoghurt pot away from the wall, and follow these 4 tips for effective, James Bond-standard spying on your competitors:

1 Compare product

Before thinking about marketing activities, first look at product. Check out what your rivals are selling on their website, and how their range of products and prices compare to your own. Also think about their website itself in terms of aesthetics and functionality. You can also look at price comparison sites such as Pricerunner to gather data from across the market.

2 Sign up to their marketing channels

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer,” said Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II. While he may not have actually been discussing whether to follow his rivals on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, it’s certainly something he should have done. Keep an eye on your competitors’ accounts to see what they are offering and how they communicate with their customers. Also, sign up to their email newsletters and any other membership schemes so that you will receive all their digital and traditional mailshots.

3 Google it

By setting up a Google Alert you can receive any mentions of your rival, good or bad, through regular emails. Simply tap in their name as a keyword, and maybe also use the service to keep informed of any other industry developments. Google Trends is another useful tool that displays levels of interest in search terms through both the company’s search engine and its YouTube subsidiary.

4 Follow their keywords

It’s actually possible to find out which keywords your competitors use in search engine marketing (SEM) and how their performance compares to yours. SEMrush is one firm which offers business intelligence services such as these for free, while also tracking traffic, backlinks, social media and video advertising.

At GrowthMinds, we believe that research and planning will make sure that you get the most from your marketing spend. We can help you can track your performance across your channels and see what’s working effectively. Get in touch!