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Intel and inspiration for the world's best marketers.

What to Include in a Competitor Analysis [+Free Template]

Posted by Ellie Mirman on May 03, 2017.

A competitor analysis is a lot more than a feature comparison sheet. In fact, some competitive intelligence specialists will say to cover product features last, and instead focus on areas like finances, positioning, or campaigns. Ultimately, the most powerful competitor analysis provides a complete view across many aspects of the competitive landscape, including where each company compares to the other on various dimensions.

There are five main aspects of a competitor's business to evaluate as part of an analysis: Market, Team, Product, Marketing, and Sales. Let's dive into each and some of the key elements to include for each area. You can also download our editable Competitor Analysis Template that walks through each of these components with additional detail.

But first, a note on making a competitor analysis constructive. The most impactful analysis is not merely a report -- rather, it's a blueprint for a company's competitive strategy. The full cycle of an impactful competitor analysis includes these four steps:

Competitor-Analysis-Process-1234.png

  1. Benchmark Performance - Take stock of the current landscape and compare your own business to the market.
  2. Identify Opportunities and Action Items - Drive follow up actions in response to the findings from the benchmarking process. Be specific where possible and tie action items to desired results.
  3. Keep Stakeholders Updated - A competitor analysis is not a one-time effort, it is an ongoing strategy for winning in a competitive market. So, stakeholders across the business need the latest intel on an ongoing basis.
  4. Close the Loop - Connect with each department or employee that owned an action item to understand what actions were taken and how it performed. Revisit the competitor analysis regularly to see how your strategy has impacted the market.

This full cycle is key for an impactful competitor analysis effort. Where most analyses are lacking is going past the first step of benchmarking performance to driving action across the business and ultimately impacting the market. Be sure to complete this cycle to make the most of this effort.

So, what do you include in your competitor analysis to make sure it provides a complete and insightful review of the market? Let's dive into each of the five areas.

Market Insights

Starting with market insights helps provide a high level view of the landscape and key financial factors. A market analysis should include:

  • Competitors plotted by dimensions, such as direct or indirect, legacy or emerging, vertical, or solution
  • Financial standing and funding history to get an understanding of scale and stability for each company
  • Key market trends, whether tied to a specific competitor or generally to the market, to get a view into how the market is growing, shrinking, or changing

Plotting your competitors along various dimensions can provide a quick and easy framework for evaluating the impact of all other insights. 

Competitor-Analysis-Matrix.png

Team Insights

Team details give you insight into what goes on behind the scenes at each company, influencing how leadership and employees think about the market and subsequently act. A team analysis should include:

  • Team overview to see each company's scale, resources, and geographic focus
  • Key executives to get a view into their expertise and industry connections
  • Employee review trends and themes to identify strengths and weaknesses for further research

Employee reviews and ratings give an "inside peek" into each company. Looking at overarching rating trends as well as themes from comments can provide great intel.

Employee-Ratings-Company.png

Product Insights

Product insights are key for many of your departments, from sales, who want to know how to respond to product comparison questions, to product and services, who want to know how to drive development to better serve the market, to marketing and executive management, who can use this intel to influence overall strategy. A product analysis should include:

  • Pricing and packaging comparisons for products and services
  • Deeper feature comparison to dig into coverage and product focus
  • Product review trends and themes to identify customer satisfaction and disatisfaction in different areas

Customers' product reviews can be rich with intel on how the company delivers on its products and services, and uncovers what customers care about most.

Product-Reviews-Themes-Table.png

Marketing Insights

There are many different insights regarding marketing strategy and tactics to include in a competitor analysis. Each member of the marketing organization, from product marketers to PR managers to demand gen specialists should be digging into these insights to improve each of their efforts. A marketing analysis should include:

  • Positioning comparison to see how each company's messaging helps them or hurts them in differentiating their solution
  • Website traffic information to get insight into how each company is fueling their acquisition efforts and at what scale
  • Social media reach across various channels to review if and how they are engaging their audiences across different platforms
  • SEO details, like keywords and inbound links, that drive organic results for each business, to see where and how you can increase your SEO results
  • Content overview to understand where and how each business is leveraging content to drive acquisition or retention, as well as reinforce their positioning and SEO strategies
  • Calls to action and conversion points to get insight into each company's marketing funnel and the steps they want a propsect to take to engage and become a customer
  • PR activity and results, including news mentions
  • Other key marketing programs as relevant, whether events, email, promotions, or others
  • Tech stack for each company to see whot ehy're investing their marketing efforts

Marketing insights can provide inspiration on new campaigns to launch, give perspective on key acquisition channels by competitor, and direction on if and how to best differentiate.

PR-Activity-Graph.png

Sales Insights

Sales insights give the next level of detail regarding how each company is succeeding or failing in the marketplace in terms of acquisition and retention. A sales analysis should include:

  • Sales snapshot, including customer count, geographic focus, and sales model, so you can see a company's sales success and focus
  • Partner channel overview, including count and key partners identified, to get insight into the company's channel strategy and how it relates to sales and product
  • Win/loss data, including win rates and win/loss trends, to see where your team struggles or succeeds in the competitive market

It is critical to collect data on when and why you win or loss against each competitor. This can highlight where you need to invest in product, sales enablement, or other areas.

Sales-Win-Rate-Competition.png

An initial benchmark of the above business elements is simply the first step in understanding and out-maneuvering your competitors. The key is to leverage this information to create a strategy and ultimately close the loop on activities driven by this strategy. This process is an ongoing one, to stay on top of each competitor's moves and the many changes that can happen in the market. Armed with this intel, every leader across the business can make smarter and more strategic decisions to win in a competitive market.

Want to get your analysis off to a fast start? We've created an 50+ slide template that you can download and edit with your own data and analysis. The template also includes a list of (mostly free) resources to help gather competitive intelligence data.

Download the Competitor Analysis Template here.

Download the Competitive Analysis Template

Lessons from the Top 100 People Pages on Marketing Your Company Culture

Posted by Ellie Mirman on March 31, 2017.

A marketer's role is not just to promote the company's product, but also promote the company's team. After all, it's the employees who build the product, bring in new business, and work with customers day after day. A company can't be successful without a great team behind it, so it's critical to attract and retain great talent.

So how are marketers promoting their teams to attract talent? How do they use their About, Team, and Jobs pages to communicate their culture and values? What does this content also say to potential customers who are looking to get a behind the scenes view of a potential partner?

We looked at the top 100 people pages from Inspire, Crayon's web design catalogue for marketing design inspiration, based on popularity among Crayon users. What did we learn from the best of the best?

Check out the full collection: Crayon's Most Popular People Pages, Q1 2017.

Show Your Friendly Face

Most of the top people pages involved not just photos of the teams, but specifically informal or candid photos. These photos made the companies seem approachable and fun, a great place to work. Each company took a different approach - some took group photos, some showed executive leadership with funny props, some showed people at work throughout the office. It is well worth it to have a photographer take shots at team events or even gather a casual office photoshoot to create content for the website and social profiles.

Nomad, Method, and Mapbox all leveraged employee photos in different ways

HelloNomadAboutPage.png

MethodTeamPage.png

MapboxJobsPage.png

A Video is Worth a Thousand Pictures

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a thousand pictures. Some companies leveraged multimedia on their people pages to give a deeper view into the culture of the team. Some companies had a general "what it's like to work here" video, and some companies created multiple videos, each focused on a different department, role, or aspect of the company.

EasySignMobile's Jobs Page features a video front and center

SignEasy.png

Talk About Values

A company doesn't just want to attract any potential employee, they want to attract the right employees that will embody the company's values. One strategy for making this happen is to communicate those values on the website. This can energize the right candidates and turn away the candidates that would be neither happy nor successful due to culture fit.

DataSift includes a video as well as an overview of their culture on their Jobs page

DataSiftJobsPage.png

Beat the Drum of the Mission

Finally, a key part of attracting talent in a competitive candidate marketplace is getting people excited about the company mission. In talking about the mission, companies often shared their history and founding, as well as the impact they're having. Some leveraged video, and some had this coming directly from the founders themselves.

DuckDuckGo, Ericsson, and Bitly all have website sections dedicated to their mission

DuckDuckGoAboutPage.png

EricssonTeamPage.png

BitlyAboutPage.png

Check out all 100 designs in the collection: Crayon's Most Popular People Pages, Q1 2017.

Top Landing Page Colors of 2016

Posted by Jonah Lopin on January 18, 2017.

This is a guest post submitted by a member of the Crayon community. Thank you! 

Crayon has a database of more than 100,000 landing pages that range from university websites to personal blogs to marketing lead capture pages. Our platform has an extensive library that offers a plethora of design ideas. This post is the first in a series analyzing the most popular landing pages of 2016 based on votes & saves by Crayon users. This first post focuses on color. 

As anyone will tell you, choosing the right color for any kind of project is a challenge. In the case of webpage design, choosing the right color for the right audience at the right time is an even more daunting exercise. Not only do you want to make sure your color choice conveys your webpage’s mood or philosophy, it must also speak to your target audience and grab their attention immediately.

While you can find a plethora of information on how to choose webpage color combinations on the internet, we’ve decided to make things simpler for you and give you a starting point in this article. We’re going to list the top color families that were used in the top 500 landing pages of 2016, and we’re going to review the top 5 based on usage and popularity across industries. 

1. The Most Prominent Colors 

  • There were 16 primary color families that were used across 25 industries on our list: Black; Blue; Brown; Gold; Green; Grey; Orange; Purple; Red; Sienna; Silver; Sky; Teal; Turquoise; Violet; and White.
  • Teal was used by 20% of webpages in our dataset, making it the top used color family of 2016. Grey came in second at 16%; then Black at 15%; Sienna at 14%; and Silver at 9%. 
  • Grey was used by 17 out of the 25 industries, making it the most used color across industries. Sienna came in second with 14 industries, while Teal was third at 13 industries. Black and Silver were tied at 11 industries each. 
  • Sienna was used by the most popular webpages in the dataset. In other words, the webpages that received the highest popularity scores (total votes + total saves) had sienna as their dominant color. It was followed by teal, black, grey, and silver.
  • The least used colors were red (1%), violet (1%), and blue (0.34%).

2. The Top Color Choices by Industry 

Teal

  • It was the top color within the industries that utilized it as a dominant color.
  • It was the top choice for the B2B Services, Internet, Legal, Education, Marketing, and Software industries.

Grey

  • It was in the top three choices for all industries on the list except Internet.
  • It was the top choice for construction and consumer services.

Sienna

Sienna was the top choice in Education, Consumer Services, Internet, and Media.

Black

Black was the top choice in B2B Goods, B2B Services, Internet, and Non-Profit.

Silver

Silver was the top choice in Software, B2B Services, and Entertainment & Lifestyle industries. 

Other Observations

B2B Services, Marketing, and Software industries were the most dynamic in their color choices, using 12 of the 16 colors in our dataset.

Marketing was the only industry on the list that used violet, using its bright hue for impact rather than emotional connection. These pages were simple: white text, logo, and a lead capture form. 

3. How Were the Colors Incorporated? 

Teal (Hex color #008080):

  • Teal is a mix between blue and green. According to internet searches on color psychology, it is a perfect expression of blue’s calmness and serenity, and green’s creativity and connection to nature.

 

  • Blue, surprisingly enough, was used in less than 1% of webpages. It is regarded as a “safe” choice by most webpages because it is liked by both men and women and across cultures. It seems that teal’s welcoming vibrancy has replaced it as the go-to color.

 

  • Teal was usually paired with complimentary blues and greens, and used brightly colored elements in oranges and yellows to accentuate action items and key messages.

 

Example Page: https://www.crayon.co/page/14934578/ 

Grey (Hex color #808080)

  • Grey was the second-most used color on the list and with good reason. It is a neutral color that generally projects a sense of formality and elegance. When darkened, it is dramatic, and when lightened, it is soft and illuminating.
  • These webpages included black, white, or varying gradients of grey as secondary colors, while the action elements stood out in reds, greens, or oranges. Red was particularly elegant; the grey tones softened red’s intensity, while red provided an energizing splash of color. Grey’s emotionlessness seems to be a good way to take advantage of red’s strong hue in a way that does not overwhelm the page or the visitor.  

Example Page: https://www.crayon.co/page/21963089/

Black (Hex color #000000)

  • Black is another neutral color that was popular on the list. This a powerful color that radiates strength, sophistication, leadership and expertise.
  • The webpages that used black tended to be impactful and full of action-oriented language. These pages projected an aura of

 

  • Text and secondary colors were usually a grey, white, or silver, but the action and messaging elements were vibrant greens and orange.

 

Example Page: https://www.crayon.co/page/39797206/

Sienna (Hex color #8b4513)

  • Sienna is a brown, earthy shade that feels wholesome and natural.
  • These webpages made a concentrated effort to connect with directly with visitors; images of people were used to establish this intimate feeling.

 

  • The brown tones were emphasized by the lower-key shades of grey and silver, while the text was always in white. The action elements kept the natural theme with their bright rusts (a mix of brown and orange) and earthy greens.

 

Example Page: https://www.crayon.co/page/9648021/

Silver (Hex color #C0C0C0)

  • Silver is a softer version of grey. It is elegant and formal, just like its stoic sibling, but its lightness makes it a shinier and light-hearted option. Silver is popular in the corporate world and amongst men and women in positions of responsibility because it maintains their formality but softens their image with an air of accessibility.
  • Silver was the most versatile because it was paired with a wider variety of colors. Text and design elements were in shades of complimentary hues of blue, white, black, and teal. Blue and teal contrasted beautifully with silver, making them a popular combination.

 

  • Like sienna, most silver webpages had images of people. These pages felt the most intimate as many of the pictures were close-ups of individuals happily engaged in an activity. This personal connection is probably why the education and consumer services industries used sienna the most.

 

Example Page: https://www.crayon.co/page/9648019/

Key Takeaways

  • Teal may be the modern alternative to blue. It is serene while connected to nature and the environment (through its green parent). It is an easy choice across industries.
  • Action elements were predominantly green or orange. Red was sometimes used, most especially in grey and silver webpages.
  • Grey is the most neutral color
  • Sienna and silver are strong choices if you want to portray a feeling of intimacy and connection. A lot of these webpages included images of people, and silver pages were especially versatile when paired with a variety of color.
  • B2B Services, Marketing, and Software websites are more apt to take use unexpected colors. Between them, they also used violet, turquoise, purple, gold, green, and orange.

Crayon T-Shirts: Smoking Hot Right Now

Posted by Jonah Lopin on December 28, 2016.

Let’s keep this simple: get a Crayon demo in 2016 and we’ll send you your new favorite T-Shirt.

We believe marketing teams need a complete picture of what’s happening in their market. We believe you should be fully informed and never get blindsided by news or competitor moves. We believe that to do your best work, you need a high degree of market awareness. Hop on a demo with us and we’ll show you what we do.

Happy holidays from your friends at Crayon!

* awesome developers not included in free T-Shirt offer.