When it comes to business, marketing is how money is made. Sure, you can have great products and services, but without visibility, your business will struggle just to make ends meet.
As such, marketing tools have shaped the way companies do business over time. And as our technology has progressed, marketers have had to stay on top of trends in order to stay ahead of the competition.
From a marketing perspective, you have to know what tools and strategies your competition is using. And often, finding this information can prove to be extremely difficult if you don’t have an inside track. But thankfully, there are tools that you can use to track your competitors’ progress.
If you’re looking to keep one step ahead of the competition in your industry, the following tactics may prove helpful depending on what type of industry you’re in.
Usenet: A Collaboration-Oriented Network
Usenet, developed in 1979 by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, is a network that predates the World Wide Web in operation today, having developed from a network connecting three computers between two academic institutions into a massive community of users sharing information with each other for their mutual edification.
Usenet is made up of newsgroups. And each newsgroup is divided into categories. As a marketing professional, if you want to get a sneak peek at what your competition is up to, chances are you can jump onto a newsgroup and hunt around for information, ask questions and download data, all while remaining anonymous.
Usenet exists as a separate entity from the Internet, but you can access Usenet via the Internet using a newsreader, or Usenet service provider.
The information you can glean from browsing Usenet newsgroups might be much more valuable than you think. And many savvy marketing professionals have edged out their competition by using this strategy.
Competitive Analysis: What Are Your Competitors Doing?
Performing a competitive analysis is the key to finding out where you stand among your competitors. But how do you go about analyzing data from a company that you don’t even work for?
The answer is by both direct contacts, in-depth research, and a little old-fashioned sleuthing.
The truth is, there are many moving parts to a comprehensive competitive analysis. As such, you basically have to answer a bunch of questions about your competition, many of which you’ll find it hard to come across answers for.
For example, you might want to find out what tactics your competitor is using for B2B sales and lead generation. Or perhaps you’re interested in obtaining sales reports.
Today, many companies are publicly held, which makes their sales reports part of public record. So if you’re in direct competition with the big kids on the block, you’ll be able to find these reports fairly easily.
But you can’t forget about the little guys. Because your smaller competitors are likely to edge you out if their services are superior to yours.
Talk to Your Former Customers
Let’s face it. Some businesses will lose customers to competition over time as newer or better-marketed services come about. But this is where your email lists and CRM data can come into play.
There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to former customers. And if you know that a customer relationship is spoiled by some reasons and he has stopped using your services in favor of your competition, a logical question to ask is, why?
You’d be surprised to know that many customers are happy to share why they left a certain brand for another. In fact, they may brag about it, believing that they made a better choice. And this is something that you can use to your advantage in the form of surveys or via direct contact.
The information you glean from former customers can be vital information that can cue you into buyer trends and what your target customer is looking for in a brand.
Marketing is constantly evolving. And as our technology evolves, more aggressive marketing efforts have been projected to become the way of the future. But regardless, staying on top of the competition is the best way to ensure your survival in the modern business world.