Competitive Intelligence Matters in Marketing

How do you know whether your marketing strategy is successful?

Most marketing teams will point immediately to key performance indicators (KPIs) – specific metrics that are most valuable to their company and which contribute most directly to the company’s goals. For inbound marketers, these metrics often include website traffic, search result rankings, geographic and demographic distribution of leads, among others. Tracking these KPIs over time can reveal the impact of your marketing efforts on your company’s growth.

We previously discussed the value of consistent metrics presented through well defined and visually appealing dashboards. It’s true that identifying the right metrics is a great step towards more effective marketing, but how many website visits should you be striving for? What percentage of visits should convert to purchases? In other words…

How do you calculate the right benchmarks for your KPIs?

The simplest answer is “better than yesterday.” But in the competitive world of marketing, you’re not just trying to be better than you were yesterday – you’re competing against other talented marketing teams for the hearts, minds, and wallets of prospects and customers.

It’s like being a runner. If you’re just out to improve your personal fitness, your goal each run is to beat your previous pace. But if you sign up for a race, you’re now competing against other runners. If you’ve improved from a 15-minute pace to a 10-minute pace, you’re doing great based on your own performance – but if the other runners in the race keep a 9-minute pace, you lose. Like the race, if your competitors are marketing better than you, their new customers are often your former customers. Their gain is your loss.

So what does all this mean for your KPIs? It means that your benchmarks should take into account your competitors’ impact, which means you need to know how your competitors are doing.

To set useful benchmarks, you need competitive intelligence.

Competitive intelligence is acquired by gathering data about how your competitors are performing in the marketing arena, and using that data when devising your own marketing strategy. Competitive analysis can help you learn from your competitors’ mistakes, identify underserved geographies and demographics, and highlight your company’s differences.  And of course – competitive analysis helps you calculate useful benchmarks for your KPIs so you not only beat yesterday’s performance, you beat your competitors in the marketplace. 

So how do you get your competitors’ marketing performance data?

A recent article from MarketingProfs (which you can access at the end of the blog) highlights some practical methods for gathering useful intelligence on your competitors and their marketing metrics, including some key website metrics:

  • Website visits
  • Bounce rate and site speed
  • Geographic sources of traffic
  • Website traffic by channel

The article also recommends several other sources of marketing insights to aid your competitive analysis:

  • SEO/PPC research
  • Social media
  • PR
  • Job postings
  • Nielsen Data
  • Market Tracker Information

And once you have competitor data, how do you leverage it to improve your marketing?

That’s where we come in.  CrossCap’s Digital Media Wall and Scorecards visually present your competitor’s media and the insights you collect so you can easily organize and analyze the information.  As part of our marketing management and collaboration platform, these tools give you a complete perspective on everything you’ve learned about your competitors, including the ability to access, share and discuss the findings online and in real-time. This interaction will insure all stakeholders stay informed and can collaboratively identify trends and gaps, and distill powerful insights that can be applied directly to your marketing strategy. Competitive intelligence often takes a back seat to key performance indicators, but that solely inward focus can lead you astray.  CrossCap helps you easily keep tabs on how your campaigns measure up against others in your industry which gives you a sustained competitive advantage.

Contact us today to learn more about how CrossCap can help you identify and improve the metrics that matter.

Check out the article for more details on these useful metrics and methods.

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