From Keyword Research to TAM
Let’s say you work for an online stationery eCommerce site. You’re trying to persuade the company to invest in content. You could look at the existing content rankings, look at the next 50 pieces of content you might write – essentially try and model out some growth bottoms up – starting with what you have today.
But top down, we might try and find a reference point to see what the total opportunity is. Turns out Hallmark’s content hub ideas.hallmark.com gets 21m visits / year (~40% of all of Hallmark’s organic traffic).
Now there’s all sorts of reasons why this may or may not be a good analogy – and who knows how much of that traffic is revenue-generating. But if I’m an executive at company competing with Hallmark, I’m likely paying more attention to your pitch than I was before.
From competitive analysis to competitive advantage
If you’re going to make pages you need to think about your competitors not through the lens of competitive analysis but through the lens of competitive advantage.
Competitive analysis asks: what do we have and what do competitors have?
Competitive advantage asks: what can we do that competitors can’t?
Not simply asking how do we grow, but how do we build defensible growth – how do we build a moat around our business to create deeper value.
Often we look at strong brands with jealousy but a strong brand positioning can often lead to a more constrained strategy (that’s often the point!) – competing head to head with them is competing on their terms. Instead look to change the rules and play in areas they can’t.
Tom Critchlow from The SEO MBA
“Tim Cook led the iPhone 12 event with privacy.
If you walked around the Apple HQ and asked what should Apple lead with in their marketing, I don’t think anyone would say “privacy”. But they are leading and have led with privacy.
It comes down to a basic concept in brand strategy called “laddering”.
When you make a marketing statement, when you promote a feature of a product or service, you are not only highlighting a strength, you are immediately raising that dimension for public scrutiny and thereby ideally depositioning your competition.”
Scott Galloway discusses Amazon’s hidden costs to American society, economy, and consumers.
“Our entire society; our roads, our hospitals, our military, is based on profitability – and that is we tax profits.
What happens when the most successful company in the world has paid in the last 10 years 1.4 billion dollars in taxes and Walmart has paid 64 billion despite the fact that Amazon added the value of Walmart in a three-month period in 2017?”
“Should [AWS] be able to funnel profits into the retail group, which we largely think of as Amazon and sets the tone for all of Amazon, [to] sell at-cost or slightly below? [Amazon retail] is being subsidized by Amazon Media Group and AWS.
When the Chinese tried to do that with steel they said ‘We’re going to roll out the international steel market and we’re going to sell steel into the US market at less-than-cost’. Back then we called it dumping – with Amazon we call it innovation.”