The ever-evolving beauty industry is exciting — but there is a flip side to this: namely, the constant stream of new entrants to the market. To keep your product offerings relevant, it’s crucial to keep a keen eye on the competition.
This is where competitors analysis comes in. As its name suggests, this type of research is focused on collecting and using information about your competitors: who they are, what they are doing and what this means for your brand. In the beauty space especially, trends and customer preferences can shift rapidly. In light of this, competitor analysis can deliver useful insights on how to define your audience, sharpen your message and essentially nurture your customers to convert.
Rather than being a one-off marathon task, competitive analysis should ideally be an ongoing process — so it pays to make it manageable. This ensures that you always have up-to-date information at hand on what’s happening in the beauty market — and you can incorporate into the rest of your marketing strategy. With this in mind, here are seven actionable steps for taking competitive analysis in your stride.
1. Work out what you need to know
By identifying your knowledge gaps, it becomes a lot easier to target your research and to look in the right places for your answers. Here are some examples of specific areas to focus on:
Build a clear identity
A situation you don’t want to find yourselves in is to put effort into your range or message, only to find that someone else is doing something very similar. Pay particularly close attention to your competitors’ message, mission and values. Use this information to identify which parts of your brand to accentuate to make you stand out.
Create the best possible user experience
Especially for online sales, you can learn a lot from examining the look, feel and structure of competitors’ websites. For instance, how easy is it to navigate large palette ranges? How do competitors approach cross-selling?
Increase your following
Keep a close eye on competitors’ social platforms. What are the defining features of the posts that trigger the highest levels of engagement? This can give you useful clues on what type of content will resonate the most with your audience.
2. Maintain a ‘live list’ of top competitors
Whether you are deciding on product pricing levels or which influencers to approach for your next campaign, you should aim to weave competitive analysis into all aspects of your marketing decision making.
Set up a go-to list of top competitors that you and your team can refer to. Set it up in spreadsheet form with handy links to rivals’ websites and social pages. Allocate an hour or so every month to keep this up-to-date. For this, tools such as Google Trends and SEMRush can be especially useful.
3. Ask your customers
The chances are, many of your customers also make purchases from your rivals, or have done in the past. This makes them one of the best sources of information on the competition.
Surveys, either through social media or through sign-ups for special offers after purchase are one of the easiest ways of quizzing your customers. Questions to ask could be along the following lines:
- Which of these brands have you bought from in the past?
- Which of these things most attracted you to X brand?
- Which of these things caused you to switch from X brand to us?
4. Listen to your competitors
In addition to asking your customers about your rivals, you can also learn a lot by listening to what’s being said about them. Social media monitoring is especially useful for this: with this method, you can identify and analyse the conversations and trends happening online surrounding the beauty landscape.
Focus on what people are saying about other brands, both good and bad. For instance, Facebook users might be spreading the word about your competitors’ special offers, complaining about shipping and quality issues, or creating buzz around particular social posts. You can discover more about this in our guide to social media monitoring.
5. Liaise with insiders
Another way to spread the word about your own products is by attending beauty conferences and expos. This can also give you a heads-up on what your rivals have in the pipeline.
When you attend a conference, it’s worth exploring competitor stalls. Ask visitors to your stall about the favourite things they’ve seen on the day, and at your event debrief meeting, get your team to share what they’ve witnessed throughout the day and feedback that has been received.
6. Refine your ‘brand attributes’ list
Take what you’ve learned about your competitors and decide how it is going to impact your marketing strategy. For each competitor, draw up two lists of attributes:
Attributes you want to emulate
Include elements of their user experience and pricing structure, in addition to how often they post on social media.
Attributes you want to avoid:
Avoid certain aspects of their tone and their use of imagery.
When executed well, this isn’t about ‘copying’ you rivals, but carving out your unique identity.
7. Draw up an action plan
Having researched your competitors, it’s then a case of identifying the concrete steps you need to take to boost your market position. Examples might include improving your website to make it more user-friendly, offering free postage, or even tweaking your logo so it is easily differentiated from a rival’s. In regards to messaging, you might want to focus on the topics competitors have focused on, whilst looking for gaps in their content or new angles to approach the trends and issues they are addressing.
The next steps
Competitive analysis requires access to a constant stream of insights and data relating to all aspects of the beauty landscape. This is where Media View from My Market Insight can help. Helping beauty and marketing teams monitor all their media activity in one place, it gives you everything you need to track your performance — and always keep track of what’s important to your audience. Media View offers a more streamlined way of collecting, measuring, and analysing vital data — including brand and product activity, mentions by influencers, and engagement — from across social, online and print. This enables you to listen more carefully to how your brand is being perceived, and subsequently stay in control of your image.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Media View, or any of our other platforms, request a demo today. Or alternatively, if you’re interested in learning more about the latest in the beauty industry, head back to our blog for more insights.