The energy industry is a crowded space. It’s filled with diverse companies involved in saving, producing, refining, distributing and managing power all while navigating a maze of complex regulations and requirements. Amid this chaos, how do organizations find clear air and communicate what sets them apart from others in the market?
One way to determine how your organization stands above the crowd is by conducting a competitive messaging analysis. This enables you to understand what your competitors are saying about themselves, which could help you identify strategic messaging opportunities.
Here are four key steps in this process:
1. Assess how messaging is used overall within the industry. What are common threads, themes or topics that are frequently discussed? How does industry communicate these topics to key stakeholders and the public (e.g. television and radio advertisements, newsletters, trade publications, conferences, social media)
2. Determine what your competitors are saying. Mine all free, publicly available materials from each of your competitors:
- Assess their websites to see how they are messaging to their audiences
- Analyze their datasheets, case studies, reports, white papers and other publications to learn what they are claiming as their differentiators
- Review their Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Tumblr and other social media channels to understand how they engage with customers
3. Determine how effective their messaging actually is. Are your competitors saying things that align with customer pain points and market research data? Are they deploying their messages through the right channels? Do they have case studies to back up their claims? Are they engaging customers on social media?
4. Identify potential communication gaps your organization can fill. Based on what you discovered in the steps above, find areas of communication your competitors are ignoring — for example, maybe they entirely neglect talking about how they help customers finance energy efficiency improvements. Fill that void and clearly explain what your organization does and what value it provides to customers. It’s also possible that your competitors haven’t done enough proper market research and are ignoring some prospective customer segments altogether by not advertising in the right publications or interacting on social media.
A thorough, insightful competitive analysis should be a core component that informs energy companies’ annual marketing plans.