With dozen competitors for any product/service segment, grabbing the attention of target audience remains tricky.
Competitive Intelligence can help produce content that converts, sells and nurtures – All In One!
Internet has done many wonders. One of them is the digitization of buyer-seller relationship. This has aided fast shopping experiences, fuss-free monetary dealings and made bulk options available at fingertips of the end consumer.
This rosy picture has but one hiccup. The whole person to person connect goes amiss to a great extent and companies keep wondering what their customers actually need or desire.
Competitive Intelligence is a technological marvel that helps businesses to analyze and predict with great reliability what can click with specific customer segment.
How it happens? By collecting, understanding and calculating information from anything external that relates to business – competitors, market forces, seasonal nuances, customer preferences/buying behavior, content catalysts etc.
It allows you develop a base to anticipate things good/bad for your products and make wise content investments.
Why should I be excited for Competitive Intelligence?
Learning the opportunities and deterrents for your intended client segment means you can plan your content marketing strategy in line with this acquired knowledge. And as a result, you can be assured of greater returns by tapping the increased traffic and converting leads into sales.
Content then becomes a futuristic tool that attracts and retains your buyers – way before your competition does it!
And if you add a tinge of personalization in this competitively intelligent content, you will have loyal customers for life.
By jumping on the Competitive Intelligence bandwagon, you can benefit by:
• Discovering the keywords and relevant terms that help your competitor sites to garner traffic. Including these terminology in your content stack up means you can dominate the search results and divert the audience to your business.
• Understanding the right content mix that works by identifying the content gaps, correlation between frequency and content type, new content ideas, desired ratio of third-party: branded: curated content. Basically you know what type of competitor content is getting views, shares and mentions and what worked for them.
• Reducing the guess work risks and creating impactful content backed by data on buyer landscape that sets you for an early advantage by moving the customers faster through the funnel
• Monitoring business environment to eliminate threats during the entire buyer journey by providing targeted and unique content during the awareness, consideration, and decision stage
• Identifying authoritative websites/domain links that backlink competitors content and similarly content amplifiers/influential sharers who are helping their content to get distributed
• Knowing what content category works for different social channels and how it generated desired customer engagement for competition
What things should concern me while deploying competitive intelligence (CI)?
Competitive Intelligence draws its value from the fact that companies who use it can fine-tune their content marketing process to make it customer focused and eventually revenue friendly.
The evaluated information can be highly crucial if used effectively and to ensure this at each stage of implementing competitive intelligence, the entrepreneurs should have following considerations:
The stakeholder buy-in has to be tightly linked with CI, as the investment matters and the reasoning should be basis the current gaps in content and relative worth in comparison to competitors. Any past strategies for making customer oriented content should be analyzed for loopholes to avoid the same mistakes with CI.
Content Marketing should be at the forefront of boardroom discussion to flesh out the outcomes of investing/not investing into it.
Planning and Direction Stage
This requires to clearly state for everyone involved why competitive intelligence is required and how each team (Sales, Marketing, Product Development, IT, R&D etc.) will be impacted or contribute towards it.
Identify where does your content currently rank in contrast to competitors by segmenting and grouping them as per priority. This requires answering the questions:
• What do we need to know and Why?
• What competitors we would like to study/audit?
• What content categories and platforms are we interested in?
• What is our target buyer persona (a.k.a Source Targeting)? Where, When and how you and your competitors reach them?
• What is the effectiveness of current programs?
• What are the long-term market prospects for our product/service?
Collection and Validation Stage
In line with the set purpose or goal of the CI project, pinpoint the sources of data collection and start the process of advanced monitoring. Some of the info mining can be manual involving human intervention; the others can be automated through intelligence crawlers, extraction and machine learning tools.
Be careful to segregate strategically valuable insights from the clutter. This will lend focus to CI exercise and ensure you don’t get lost in the maze of information.
This is where things get interesting. The understanding of competitors and market forces is transformed into actionable To-Do’s for content mapping. It tells you where you can up your game immediately and where you need to improve on a sustained timeline.
Ensure to be astute with the observations and drive content marketing ideas from each of the short-listed insight.
Implementation and Review Stage
Before implementing the intelligence gathered, it is extremely important that various stakeholders are on same page with respect to content delivery plan for various channels and audience groups. This synergy ensures CI is leveraged maximum by producing and disseminating focused content.
Similarly an objective and regular review would help to identify progress on the success of marketed content in terms of new and repeat customers engaged, sharing of content on social media and sales numbers emerging from targeted content.
Necessary tweaks should be done as and when the market trends and competitor approach changes.
Competitive Intelligence is changing the way we develop and market content. It will become more powerful as solutions now not only cater to the past (What happened) but also the future (What will Happen).
Are you ready to make your business competitively intelligent?