Have you ever performed a digital competitive analysis study or research for a client or prospect? There are various ways to go about it and many angles to investigate. This is a case for outsourcing your next competitive analysis to ensure it is objective and thorough.
The first thing to determine when considering a digital competitive analysis is the scope. I’ve done quite a few over the last few months for a number of clients and they all have different objectives, different things they want to learn.
Some do a competitive analysis before deciding how to best tackle their new website redesign. Others, more international brands, seek to understand adjustments needed at the local or regional website level. Others still are interested in understanding their social media standing comparatively to their competitors.
Understanding the objective will in a way help determine the scope of the competitive analysis to be performed. Another important factor in determining the scope is the budget you or the client has to get this done. Consultants like myself either charge a flat fee for a digital competitive analysis or an hourly rate based on the volume of work with a client or what’s required.
You’ll definitely want to explore the market’s websites in their entirety, including content, ecom, catalogue, newsletter and mobile friendliness. You might also want to explore how they rank in SEO, social media and beyond.
How far afield should your competitive analysis look? Do we investigate only the usual suspects? Do we look to a broader set of competitors? How about going beyond your main market? Some markets are further along their digital learning curve than your own and may provide valuable insight into what should come next for your brand.
Breadth also involves the specific number of competitors to explore and evaluate. I recently did one for a local Quebec retailer where I looked at US comparatives for insights and noticed something after the first 5 I evaluated. In seeking to confirm this “trend” I ended up looking a 30 others to realize only a handful were doing this specific thing. This “thing” changed from a trend to a wait and see element.
In your scope, let us not forget the elephant in the room, the client itself. It needs to be analyzed first, and last. First to get you started, get a feel of the market from the client’s perspective. Last to compare it to the competition in light of everything you’ve see. At first it may seem outdated or missing key components while at last they may be very much in the middle of the pack or one of its leaders.
How pressed for time are you to get this project done? A digital competitive analysis takes at least 10 hours, 15 is ideal. Do you need it within a few days, a week or two? These are important elements to determine before starting any project.
The time it will take really all depends on what we’re looking at. Sometimes 6 hours will be enough. What’s important is to be flexible in your expectations.
In case you didn’t get my angle, I can perform digital competitive analysis for you or your clients. Don’t hesistate to contact me should you wonder how much I charge for this type of service, or refer me to colleages who may need this.