Competitive analysis. Another one of those business jargons that sound vague and intimidating.

But it really isn’t.

Competitive analysis is basically just tracking and researching your competitors, and gathering information that can help you make more informed decisions for your own brand.

That can be looking into their marketing and PR campaigns, following their product launches, and tracking which influencers they’re BFFs with. There are a million reasons to spy on your competitors, and now that everything is online and public, competitive analysis has never been easier.

With a simple yet powerful monitoring tool, you can gather any information you need on your competitors, and improve your own business strategies.

We know that strategy blog posts can sometimes sound “too good to be true” and leave you feeling “alright, but it’s easier said than done.”

That’s why we’ve asked one of our power users, Leetchi, to share their tried-and-tested competitive monitoring tips. In this blog post, we’ll explore exactly how they use monitoring on a daily basis to stay informed, anticipate what’s coming, and outshine their competitors.

Read the full success story here.

Ready? Let’s get to it.

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Here are five ways Leetchi stays ahead of their competition with monitoring, and how you can do the same:

1. Identify your competitors

Before you can find out what your competitors are doing, you need to know who they are.

You may think that’s fairly obvious, but if you want to become the industry leader, you have to go beyond the biggest and most direct competitors.

Leetchi not only uses Mention to track their existing competitors, but also to keep an eye out for new entrants. This includes competitors who were targeting different markets than them, but expanded to their territories.

They do so by keeping a tab on all their known competitors, and also on industry keywords, so that they’ll be alerted whenever a new player comes into the picture.

“We’re monitoring our competitors in Spain, in Germany, UK, and all over the world. [For example,] We have a new competitor from the US who’s coming into France, so I’m able to figure out very quickly what is being said about them. It’s very easy to see that information with Mention.”

2. Follow their marketing strategy

This is an obvious given. Since online marketing by definition puts all the information you need online – ads, website content, social media, SEO – you can easily keep tabs on your competitor’s every move.

Leetchi uses Mention to pull in all this data without having to go searching. As they said, “it’s market research on steroids.”

Depending on your competitive monitoring goals, the exact things you’re tracking will vary. Some examples may be:

Your competitors’ marketing campaigns

This should be a major priority. One benefit of real-time competitor analysis is you’ll know when they launch new campaigns and products. It goes without saying that if a competitor produces something exciting or innovative, you need to know right away, and see how successful they are.

Your competitors’ social media presence

Remember, you’re fighting for your potential customers’ attention. So wherever your competitors are, you want to be there. You need to see where they’re the most active, and what their social media marketing consists of. That means tracking where they’re posting, when they’re posting, as well as the content and themes of their posts.

Influencers talking about your competitors

These could be reviewers, industry bloggers, or just fans with social media accounts. By finding these influential people who’re talking about your competitors, you can make sure they’re aware of your own offerings. If they’re already interested in your industry, they’re very likely willing to talk about you too.

3. Track their PR presence

Leetchi uses Mention to track “press releases or interesting articles [of their competitors] in newspapers or the web.” This helps them assess if there’s media interest in their competitors.

Tracking your competitor’s campaigns and coverage basically builds a PR strategy for you.

You can see which angle and stories they’re pitching, and to which outlets. Are they highlighting their company culture, or innovative products? Knowing how your competitors are selling themselves can help you think of a unique angle to differentiate your brand.

And tracking who then covers the competitor helps you build a media list of journalists, influencers, and bloggers who write about companies similar to yours, and to an audience that’s the most relevant.

Questions you need to ask:

  • How is the company making themselves stand out? Can we beat that or highlight a more valuable proposition?
  • Are they getting press from publications we’re not? Can we start building relationships with journalists there for our next campaign?

4. Explore new markets

As a growing business, Leetchi is always exploring new markets. Before they expand to a new country, they first use Mention to track industry conversations and see if there’s a real demand and market fit.

“We have alerts on the UK market, on the Spanish market, on the German market, with dedicated keywords to have a broad idea of the market, and some information about the competitors.”

You can find valuable information about potential markets by setting up alerts for your services or products in specific countries and languages.

For example, if you’re selling automatic toilets in Japan and want to see if there’s a market for it in France and Germany, you’d set up alerts for keywords such as “automatic toilets,” “smart toilets,” or “smart homes,” in French and German, and look at the volume of these discussions to see if there’s enough demand for you to consider these new markets.

By monitoring these conversations, you’ll also catch existing competitors in those markets, so that you know who you’re up against before expanding your business there.

Of course, the best case scenario is you uncover new and untouched markets before your competitor does.

Questions you need to ask:

  • In which countries are your competitors present? What are they doing to expand to those markets?
  • In what languages are people talking about your industry? Are there any territories that your competitors haven’t ventured into that you should explore?

5. Get live product feedback

Of course, the best way to out-win your competition is by offering your customers the best product or service possible. Leetchi knows that the only way to give customers what they want is to monitor live feedback about their product.

“It’s also very important to monitor what’s said on Leetchi to upgrade our product and user experience.”

Which features are your customers raving about? How are they using your product? This is helpful info for products in the early phases of development. Or if your product team is looking to cut or add features.

You can discover something’s popularity by tracking how much customers talk about it online.

At Mention, this feedback drives our product team’s roadmap.

For example, we found that customers loved our Twitter dashboard, so we’re creating one for Instagram, too.

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You can also get new ideas by tracking what features your customers like about your competitors. Are they offering something you’re not? Are customers choosing them over you because of them?

Questions you need to ask:

  • What do customers love most about your competitors?
  • What’s the biggest reason customers choose your competitors over you?

Over to you

Now you see how much any brand can benefit from competitive analysis, and how many opportunities you’ll miss out on if you aren’t tracking your competitors.

The best part is, none of this requires hardcore data-crunching or any technical skills. With the right monitoring tool, you’ll have all the info you need delivered to you in one simple dashboard. If Leetchi can do it, so can you.

Want to try this for yourself? Talk to us about using Mention for your business.

Joei is a Content Marketer at Mention, where she turns dry, uninspired content to engaging narratives. Or at least she tries to. Is usually eating otherwise. Connect with her on Twitter @joeei.

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