Hack your Christmas: Gather competitor intelligence while shopping

Inspiring ideas to expand your mind over the festive period.

It’s easy to get tunnel vision in the run-up to Christmas. Not only does the average marketer have more to think about in order to maximise sales in this crucial period, many will also have one eye on shopping for presents and making arrangements for the holidays.

But shopping isn’t just a time-consuming distraction, it is itself a huge source of insight into how brands other than your own are approaching a key business challenge – and there’s much to learn about business strategy as well as the psychology of your competitors and other marketers.

Next time you browse a website looking for gifts, take note of what you see. How much stock is on promotion? At what times of the season? How heavily discounted are they? And what can you glean about the merchandising deals brands and retailers have done from the products that are available?

The answers to these questions could tell you a lot about how well-prepared individual brands are for consumers’ shopping behaviour. It’ll also indicate whether they’re any good at adapting to unexpectedly good or bad sales, and how efficient their logistical operations are. You might benefit from browsing products in other sectors, even if you don’t plan on buying anything, so you can see what tactics might be transferable to your own.

Of course, there’s a lot you can infer from a Christmas ad too, with some brands featuring products and prices prominently, and others stick to a higher-level brand message.

All these things could imply a great deal about how good a brand’s marketers are at strategy and planning, and how confidently they go about executing them – insights that will still be useful to you in the new year.

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here

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