A Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting Competitor Research in B2B Markets

We know how challenging it can be to get attention in the B2B marketplace these days, especially when your competitors have the same or a similar target market.

Conducting competitor research is an important part of developing a genuine brand.

B2B brands should know the answers to these questions:

  1. What problem(s) does your brand solve for your clients?
  2. How do your products/services help clients achieve their goals?
  3. How is your brand different from the competition?

It’s important to know how your brand is distinctive in the marketplace and how you stand out from the competition.

Step 1: Identify your company’s competitors.

There are three types of competition that your company should look out for:

  1. Direct competitors offer similar (or identical) products/services within the same target market.
  2. Indirect competitors sell different products/services to solve the same problem(s) as your business.
  3. Replacement competitors provide an alternative to the products/services your brand sells.

Here are three ways to identify your company’s competitors:

Conduct market research.

Research via Google, review trade journals, and check in with your sales team to find out which competitors are mentioned the most.

Research targeted keywords.

As competitors are likely targeting some of the same keywords as your brand, researching keywords can help reveal who they are.

Some helpful free resources for keyword research include:

Talk to your customers.

When you’re learning about your customers (via surveys, interviews, or focus groups), gather information regarding other similar products/services they’ve used.

 Step 2: Analyze your competitors’ online presence.

Keep tabs on your competitors, but don’t copy them. Gather information by acting like one of your competitor’s customers: Periodically check their websites, emails, downloadable content, and social media pages.

You can use this research to gain creative inspiration and ensure you’re maintaining a clear differentiation in the marketplace. Know what makes your brand stand out from the competition, and discover how to effectively connect with your audience.

When assessing a competitor’s online presence, you should consider:

  • What is the user experience like on their website?
  • Is their website easy to navigate?
  • Is the information on their website clear and concise?
  • Are their email sends providing value? (Sign up for their email list).
  • What type of content are they creating? (Take a look at their blog, videos, and more).
  • What social media platforms are they utilizing?
  • Is their social media content engaging their audience?

Step 3: See which ads are working for your competitors and what’s not working.

A good way to assess the engagement level of a competitor’s audience is researching their paid social media ads. See if their audience is engaging with their posts (Liking, commenting, and sharing). You can get a general idea of what’s performing well and what their audience is reacting to the most.

On LinkedIn, visit a competitor’s page. Once there, click “Posts” on the main menu, and then select “Ads.” This will show you all of the active ads the competitor is running.

On Facebook, you can locate your competitors’ ads in the Ad Library. Put in the name of your competitor, choose a location, and an ad category. This will show a competitor’s current ads on Facebook and Instagram.

You can also find helpful competitor analysis tools here.

Step 4: Monitor your brand’s competitors over time.

Competitor research and analysis is not a one-time project. To truly benefit, we recommend regularly monitoring and tracking your competitors long-term. Check up on your competitors around 1-3 times per quarter, and keep a spreadsheet with their names, websites, useful links, and pros and cons. Analyze how your competitors’ brands evolve over time.

When regularly assessing your competitors’ online presence and content, you will determine the main differences between your brand and your competitors’ brands. You’ll discover your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to see ways in which your brand can improve.

Then tell your brand’s unique story and create content that’ll allow your brand to stand out.

Contact CGT Marketing for B2B Competitive Research on Long Island

Need assistance conducting competitive research and standing out in the marketplace?  Give us a call at 631.842.4600 or contact us here.