Competitor analysis is a vital part of any business, in any industry. Navigating the cannabis industry isn’t a cakewalk. With thousands of confusing state and federal advertising regulations, it can be hard to determine what is okay, and what isn’t. Therefore, researching the current landscape of the industry is a must-do, in an effort to increase your likelihood of success, and see what might be working, and what clearly isn’t.
First, it’s important to define the purpose of competitive analysis, which is not to steal strategies. The goal is to identify what strengths and weakness currently exist within your market, and how to best build upon those, or avoid them altogether.
Additionally, it is key to select the proper competitors to gain a comprehensive outlook throughout your entire industry. You’ll want to identify competitors that fall into three different categories:
- Competitors that share the same customer and the same solution
- Competitors that share the same customer but different solution
- Competitors with different customers but the same solution
At the end of any competitor analysis, you are looking to have three takeaways…
- Understand the best practices for connecting with your desired target audience
- How to best prioritize your product/service development in order to intersect that with consumer trends
- Identify where to set benchmarks for campaign growth and goals
Take Notes in These Key Areas
How are they using social media? The power of social platforms like Facebook and Instagram have swung open a new door to consumer targeting. With over 1 billion users on these two platforms alone, the opportunity is there, and it can be done for little to no expense. When analyzing your competitors:
- Examine what social networks they are utilizing
- What type of content are they creating/sharing
- Is it organic advertising only? Paid?
- How are they interacting with their audience?
- How frequently do they post?
- What voice/tone do they use?
- Is their content and messaging being used as a lead generation tool, or strictly for brand awareness?
Almost everyone is doing some form of content marketing by now. However, a lot of it is ineffective with their target audience. It is important to see what forms of content marketing is being used in your industry so you can make better-informed decisions about the content you produce yourself.
- What kind of content are your competitors producing? (blogs, whitepapers, videos, podcasts, etc.)
- How much engagement is this content receiving?
- What are the best performing pieces?
- What key topics and subjects do they address?
Keywords and Audience
Maybe you think you’ve identified your core keywords and defined your audience… trying to determine who your competitors are targeting can help reaffirm your conclusions, or make you rethink your strategies. Maybe they’ve discovered a more engaged audience type or specific keyword phrases that drive better traffic — if so, you want to know that.
- What keywords/phrases are they hitting?
- Does their audience match yours?
This spills over into social media and content, but maybe one of the most helpful takeaways from a competitor analysis is what methods are they using to get in front of their audience. Regardless of how good the content and messaging is, if it is not delivered in the right avenue, the right consumers won’t see it.
- What platforms are they utilizing?
- Are they focusing on SEO, PPC, programmatic buying, organic social, email, etc.?
- How do they seem to diversify their ad spending?
Sales Funnel and Key Selling Propositions
This is the meat and potatoes section of any competitor analysis. How are other industry players filtering leads into sales, and what key points make their customers buy? Obviously, determining these takeaways are sometimes easier than others. However, this is invaluable information. If you can determine a better way to funnel your target audience from top to bottom, along with improving your main selling points, you’re going to start to see better sales figures.
- How do they gain leads? (lead magnets, applications, surveys, form submissions, etc.)
- How do they nurture their leads?
- What are their key selling points?
Location, Price, and Perks
The last three points we want to highlight in a competitor analysis are: where do they appear to market, how do they price their product/service, and what perks or kickbacks do they use (if any)? If your competitors are targeting only local customers, maybe you should as well. If they provide the same products/services are they undercutting your prices? Finally, do they offer buying incentives to further motivate consumers?
- Are they marketing locally, state-wide, nationally, globally?
- What are their markups and how do they price their products/services?
- Do they offer kickbacks to buyers? (match dollars spent for XYZ charity, free products with purchase, etc.)
Need Help With Competitor Analysis?
Elevato Marketing is a full-service digital agency specializing in cannabis advertising. With a team of experienced professionals, we are ready to help connect your products with the right clients. Contact us to see how together we can benefit your business!