By John Landsman, Director of Strategy and Analytics

Can you think of any significant marketing judgment, decision or plaSWOT-Analysis-CMYKn that you’d properly make in the blind? I can’t either.   The bedrock of marketing consists of data and insights which inform your understanding of customers and competitors, using — formally or otherwise — something that resembles a standard S.W.O.T. structure.

Your competitors are the focus of our conversation this week.

You’d never reach a pricing decision without, in part, understanding your competitors’ pricing. Nor would you add a product feature without analyzing competitive offerings.   And you certainly can’t benchmark your brand’s relative market position without rigorous analysis of competitive performance.

All of this is essential to your goal-setting and decision-making — and to measuring progress in achieving your goals.

These same principles strongly apply to how you can best leverage the email channel. Every day, managers in this channel make high-impact assessments and choices about:

  • How to acquire qualified email subscribers?
  • What email campaigns to deploy? How often?
  • To what kind of audiences, and with what mailing quantities?
  • Timing? Subject lines? Content? Offers? Creative? Mobile readiness?
  • What has worked and what hasn’t?

One huge advantage in optimizing this process is having clear, comprehensive visibility into what — and how well — your competitors are doing with their email programs. Many email marketers attempt to solve this problem by simply opting-in to competitors’ emails. This approach shows you what your competitor is sending you, but otherwise it has limited value. You also need to know:

  • How large are your competitors’ mailable audiences?
  • How many campaigns does each competitor mail, and about what?
  • How large are their audiences for each email campaign?
  • Are their email campaigns precisely targeted?
  • How frequently do their email campaigns touch each of their email subscribers?
  • How many of their email subscribers overlap with yours? Which other major emailers are competing with you for attention in your customers’ inboxes?
  • Are your competitors’ open rates better than yours?
  • How are their subject lines structured?
  • What marketing offers perform well for them?
  • What does their email creative look like? Is it mobile-optimized?

Each of these questions maps to a decision element that you control for your own email programs, and to one or more aspects of your S.W.O.T. analysis. Are you really comfortable making decisions about these elements of your email program without detailed competitive visibility?

Pilots who fly in densely traveled airspace absolutely need to know what all those other airplanes around them are doing. They get that picture from Air Traffic Control. You operate in densely competitive marketing space. Dozens of other emailers are contending with you for each customer’s inbox engagement. Having visibility into how your competitors deploy their email — and with what effect — is essential to the process of doing it better than they do.

All of this information is available, uniquely, through our platform and the support we provide for its application.


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