Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Flavour of the first post

Online Research.

There are two objectives while doing any competition research online:

1. To show the client and creative’s what competition is doing online.
2. To give client an idea of the possibilities online.
3. To dig out industry insights.

Any data one chooses to include in the research report should meet at least one of the above.

Starting up: Step One

We first need to identify the industry of the company . FMCG, Consumer durables, Telecom. This info can be found on the company website.
Then we need to figure out the TG of the company.(Will be in the client brief)
The most important step then is to find out who are our competitors.

Our research will be on basis of the above information.

Example : If I am working on a client which sells engine oil and the company wants to target the age group of 24 to 38 then I should look for sites that cater to this TG and interest group. We must then figure out which site does this TG frequent. It is most likely that competition will be present on those sites too. We can look at cricket portals, financial portals, marriage portals and of course car portals. This is a good way to find Banner ads of competition they will most likely be present there.

Figuring out who are our competitors: This can be done by feeding the company’s product names on any search engine, Example: If my brand is Castrol and I do not know who its competitors are. I can find this be searching for the keyword Engine oil or engine lubricants. If my company is I will search for the keywords, book movie tickets online or Billu barber show timings. Depending on whether the client has national or international presence I need to search on or If it’s an Indian client I could also opt for the view pages in India tab.

We, By now would have found at least a couple of banner ads by competition.

Tip: Always remember a couple of sites frequented by interest groups in the age group of 16-24 and 24-40 as they are consumers who use the digital medium maximum and most of the ads are targeted on them. You will most likely find banner ads by competition here.


Step two: Identify the possibilities

1. Build a great site.
2. Community.
3. Social Networking.
4. Widgets.

While building a presentation we must cover all the above with respect to competition. As rule we must push ourselves to find out at least 2 unique things competing brands are doing. Only this can add weight to our presentation.

Step two: Questioning oneself

What are they doing with regard to Social Networking, widgets? How unique is their website. Is all this in line with their offline activities? If yes, then how? If not, then why? Ask yourself questions like, how does competition benefit from what they do online.

Step three: Digging deep to read between the lines

Triggers you could use:
1. Terms and conditions page of competition, this will help figure out what they do with registrations.
2. Scanning for corporate blogs.

Step four: Case Points

Case studies of could be included in almost all presentations. Findings should be backed up with case points. This will drive the point home easily.

Takeaways: Online research is not about loading the slides with screen shots of ads, but about making sense of competitor strategies. We have to know what is happening offline too.

Finally, insights are the bases for solutions. Strong insights can be developed only by keeping our ear firmly to the ground.

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