This is the second of the five-part series to help experts craft a successful marketing plan with ways of creating measurable goals and accountability.
You have done the hard part – you have looked into the future and written your vision and mission to get there. Now, the next step in creating a marketing plan (and I find this step probably one of the most interesting – perhaps it makes me relieve my graduate school experience) – competitor analysis.
Everyone has a competitor and hopefully you have several. Competition makes us stronger. Open up a spreadsheet and start by listing your top 10 competitors. For each competitor, add to this spreadsheet, some of the following:
- The Competitor’s Strengths
- The Competitor’s Weaknesses
- What search engine keywords do they use?
- Do they have a social media presence and where?
- Who are their target clients?
- How much of the market share do they own?
- What are their unique value-added propositions for their expertise
- Key benefits and features they highlight in sales materials
- Which associations do they belong to?
- What conferences do they attend and do they speak at specific ones
- Where do they advertise?
- Where are they marketing their services, what is their current marketing strategy and how has that changed from past strategies?
- Do you know what their hourly rate is?
Competitive analysis should be an ongoing process. You will continue to track your competitors even after you have a first pass on your marketing plan and have concrete action steps. This 2nd step in your marketing plan is just to get you to start thinking in a bigger picture and I will revisit it in the discussion about putting your plan into action and creating marketing discipline.
Don’t get caught in the web of perfection here. This is just to get you started into thinking about who your competitor is and where you can best spend your time and money on marketing activities. It might even uncover trends and areas where your own expertise might be better marketed.
Article written by Kristin Baldwin of the Baldwin Network.