Media monitoring can reveal a lot about your own PR and marketing effectiveness, but have you thought about how much it can reveal about your competitors? Our eBook, “Leveraging Media Intelligence for Effective Competitor Analysis,” takes a closer look at the strategic benefits of competitor benchmarking. Read on for a preview:

In the Sixth Century B.C., a Chinese general by the name of Sun Tzu earned a reputation as a masterful military leader by achieving a series of victories through deft strategy that outmaneuvered his enemies. He ultimately assembled his thoughts into one published volume, The Art of War, which remains a classic to this day for its wisdom on military strategy.

Sun Tzu laid out three key principles for victory:

  1. Prepare thoroughly
  2. Contemplate potential courses of action carefully; and
  3. Execute plans with realistic possibility of success

His underlying premise that guided this deliberate planning was that deception is the essence of warfare, which requires a detailed knowledge of the enemy’s tendencies and moves.

Sun Tzu’s masterpiece was written in 506 B.C., but its basic principles about how to defeat an opponent in a conflict have stood the test of time—and, in recent decades, have been applied to environments far from the fields of battle. To this day, every systematic management plan in various walks of life follows the same logic of preparation, planning strategy and tactics, execution of the plan and— perhaps the fourth piece missing from Sun Tzu—assessment and evaluation of success or failure for future planning purposes.

“Today, Sun Tzu’s appeal has extended beyond the military realm into the world of business,” writes Mark McNeilly, the author of two books based on The Art of War, both published by Oxford University Press. “Because business by definition deals with competition, Sun Tzu’s principles are ideally suited to competitive business situations.”

More specifically, professional marketers have learned the value of applying Sun Tzu’s principles to business as way to gain market share and competitive advantage. Marketing gurus Al Ries and Jack Trout coined the term “Marketing Warfare” in their landmark 1986 book, ushering in a new way of thinking about competitive intelligence and marketing strategy.

For example, “defensive” marketing warfare might include the strategy of always blocking strong competitive moves to protect your market share, while “offensive” marketing warfare might include the strategy of finding your competitor’s greatest weakness and attacking them with new products or services to gain market share.

These marketing warfare strategies have something crucial in common: they are dependent on having accurate knowledge and reliable insights into what your competitors are doing.

See how to efficiently capture critical competitive intelligence with media monitoring. Download the eBook for helpful tips, including:

  • 3 clear benefits of competitor benchmarking
  • 4 steps needed to achieve actionable media intelligence
  • 5 ways to put media intelligence to work as part of your competitor analysis