In almost any competition you watch, competitors look around to see what or how their opponent is doing. As children and students, we are often choosing what to do based off of examples shown to us. It is only natural to observe others in similar nature and environment to see what to do and what not to do. The same goes for business. Also referred to as competitive analysis, competition monitoring is merely tracking and researching information about competitors. Gain informative data and improve your brand with these four tips.

Identify the competitor. You have to know who your competitors are before you can find out what they are doing. However, not all competition is worth your time. This doesn’t mean that smaller or newer businesses aren’t worth looking into. You want to make sure that the company is actually your competition for sales to your target audience. Once you know the main competitors who stand in the way of sales, you can invest your time and attention. It is essential to keep tabs on any company within the arena of competition to remain alert to new entrants in the industry.

Explore their client communication. This can mean receiving their emails and newsletters, following them on social networks, exploring their website, and even talking with employees. It is easy to gain access to social networks, emails, and newsletters to learn more about a company. Take it a step further by signing up for free trials or making small purchases to learn more about their signup, purchase confirmations, and more. Social networks can help you gain insight to their clientele and engagement, as well as gain an idea for their branding and marketing strategy. If you and your competitors make sales over the phone, talking with employees can offer a plethora of information on how they do business, their pricing structure, whether they use incentives, and more. 

Track their PR presence. Find out if the media has any interest in competitors by following interesting articles or press releases in newspapers and on the web. This can also be an excellent strategy for building a PR campaign as you can see what outlets are being pitched to and how. This can help spark new ideas or eliminate bad ones. This strategy allows companies to build a media list of journalists and bloggers who write to your target audience or about your product/service.

Get live product feedback. There is no better way to beat the competition than by offering the best product possible and good ‘ol fashioned customer service. No matter how much you monitor a company or target an audience, you can’t sell a lousy product or service. Listen to your customers, ask questions, communicate solutions, follow through, and improve the customer experience.