UnRolling the Warriors Brand: How an Obscure Team Became a Global Brand
You may not root for the Golden State Warriors, but if you’re hoping to score some branding wins, they’re the team to watch out for.
Competitive research doesn’t have to involve hiring professionals to track and assess your competitors, like straight out of a spy movie — there’s plenty of data on the internet to collect. By investing even a small amount of time, businesses can gather intelligence on business rivals, identify opportunities and threats in the marketplace, and refine their messaging.
To build an effective framework for competitive analysis, we’ve included a basic step-by-step process to follow as well as a SWOT analysis chart to kickstart your process.
Analyzing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses can help strengthen your marketing strategies. Seeing what’s out there allows you to address your shortcomings.
For instance, sustainable sunglass company Sunski learned that a competitor was successfully advertising on social media. To counter, Sunski used segmentation (which involves dividing audiences into different groups based on demographics, buying habits, or other parameters) to help personalize ads that were more relevant to each of their audiences. By better matching content to specific target audiences, they created better engagement and achieved a 2.4x return on investment.
And you shouldn't just keep an eye on your direct competitors — often, you'll have indirect competitors who offer similar services and products to you, but are serving a different need or purpose or targeting a different audience.
For example, if you’re a business offering accommodation like Student.com, the target audience would probably consist of college and graduate students. There could be intersecting marketing tactics from related competitors such as short-term rental brokers and apartment hunting websites.
A step-by-step approach makes it easier to navigate the choppy waters of competitive research. You don’t need anything fancy to start – a simple spreadsheet for tracking your findings and your web browser are enough. Consider also setting up a spreadsheet that’ll be used as an index and data resource rather than something you check and update regularly.
Once you’ve done your competitive research, take the information you’ve learned and use it to create a SWOT analysis. A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis can serve as your strategic road map. While you’re using this table, keep both your ideal audience and your competitors in mind. You may find a lot of opportunities and threats.
For these purposes, you can simplify by focusing on the ones you can change with marketing. For example, a competitor’s weakness could be customer service that doesn’t respond quickly. While you can’t impact delivery with marketing, you can set better expectations.
For the full A to Z on how to identify, grow, and maintain your audience through content and marketing strategies, check out AdRoll’s Ultimate Guide to Growth.
Originally published on November 1st, 2019, last updated on September 16th, 2022.