Many businesses – especially niche, B2B ones – believe that because they have experience in their industry, they know it all. Yet as we’ve learned in recent years, in every industry, things can change in the blink of an eye.
As novelist George Eliot wrote, “It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.” To be a true leader, you must break the monotony of your own thoughts, keep pace with rapidly evolving trends and dynamics, and invest in finding new opportunities. One way to do this is through B2B competitive analysis.
What is competitive analysis – and why do you need it?
At its core, a competitive analysis is a comprehensive look at what your competitors are doing. You first identify your top competitors, then analyze their behavior and strategies in any number of areas. You might look at:
- Content: Types of content, voice and tone, topics, posting schedule, CTAs
- SEO: Key terms targeted, keyword rankings, backlinks, traffic, technical SEO
- Product: Features, user experience, product roadmap, pricing
- Sales and marketing: Sales process, length of sales cycle, marketing tactics and channels
- Customers: Who their customers are and what they care about
Another important piece of the puzzle for B2B competitive analysis in particular is reviews. Many B2B prospects are actively seeking third-party validation from sites like G2, Capterra, and TrustRadius. There is a chaotic network of narratives about you and your competitors that you may not have any control over, but that when used as part of your competitor analysis can help you shape your brand-product-creative-marketing strategy.
What’s the point? When you identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you can find gaps and growth opportunities for your own company. And when you know their marketing and content strategies, you can differentiate yourself.
Benefits of B2B competitive analysis
From creating ideal brand architecture to messaging, positioning, and go-to-market strategies, in B2B marketing, competitor analysis is the jack of all trades. And it has numerous benefits.
Increased market awareness
Competitive analysis helps you gain a better understanding of the market, including the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, customer trends and needs, gaps in solutions, and the competitive environment in general. This increased market awareness helps you give your prospects what they really want and need instead of imposing your own ideas on them.
Improved brand positioning
Analyzing the competition helps you identify your unique value propositions so you can position your product or service effectively in the market. For example, you can leverage competitive insights for website branding and messaging or for developing dynamic sales enablement playbooks. Moreover, a critical review of competitors’ in-market campaigns can help you identify creative gaps in headlines, copy, landing page narratives, and more so you can create more robust and impactful campaigns that give you an edge.
Understanding the competitive landscape can help you identify your target audience more accurately and create marketing campaigns that resonate with their challenges and goals. Have you ever read customer case studies or reviews before making a purchase? Adopt this curiosity mindset for players in your own industry. Analyze the problem-solution-impact framework of your competitors’ case studies and then checkmate with a move that weaves in your brand’s competitive advantage.
Increased marketing effectiveness
Agencies would be out of business if there was a tool that could tell you your competitors’ exact budgets and strategies, traffic trends, and other marketing metrics that everyone wants to know. While there are tools that provide a rough estimate, these estimates are often notoriously off, and one can only make sense of them with a thorough competitor analysis. By analyzing the competitive landscape, you can project what works and what doesn’t work in the market and adjust your strategies accordingly to increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
This article is just the tip of the iceberg – B2B competitive analysis is an essential part of your toolkit for any number of business and marketing tasks. BOL uses it in many aspects of our services, including SEO, brand direction and strategy development.
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