Competitor Tracking in Pardot: 3 Best Practices

If your journey with Pardot was a story, it would be filled with a number of familiar character types.

Our world would revolve around both our protagonist (“Customer”) and our dynamic, changing character (“Lead”). We generally know the storylines we want these characters to follow from day one. We structure the plot to ensure these character types see a happy ending.

But what about our antagonist—who would that be? While we aren’t likely to house any true villains in our database, we can probably find a few characters who might oppose our protagonist’s journey: our competitors. By their very definition, “Antagonists usually play just as important a role in a story as their protagonistic counterparts, but they may not be seen as much.”

If competitors are so important to our stories are marketers, we had better pay them the attention they deserve. Here are three best practices you can implement to restructure your Pardot plot, thwarting your competitors’ best efforts at every turn.

1. Set Up Basic Competitor Tracking

We can’t do much about our competitors if we don’t know who they are. In order to monitor or track competitors efficiently, we first need to sit down with our team to decide who we consider a competitor. Once we’ve put a list together, we can leverage Pardot tools to begin tracking.

Competitor Dynamic List

Building a dynamic list in Pardot is an easy way to “bucket” your competitors. If your Pardot instance is a few years old and you’ve never given your competitors a second thought, don’t be surprised if you find some highly engaged and recently active prospects in this list.

Simply create a dynamic list in Pardot, and use any obvious filter criteria you can think of when setting your rules. There really aren’t that many ways to identify a competitor, so you shouldn’t have to think too hard about this one.

In this list, we’re filtering for either suspicious company names or email addresses

Competitor Website Monitoring

One of Pardot’s Search Marketing features is competitor website monitoring. Keeping track of how your competitors’ websites are performing (in terms of page authority, domain authority, links to root domain, and other metrics).

These metrics open the door to competitive analysis, but they won’t do much to change your day-to-day activities within Pardot.

2. Make Competitors Unmailable

Now that you’re tracking your competitors, you need to decide what you want to do with them. Or what you don’t want to do with them. If sending them email of any kind is something you don’t want to do, you need to be proactive and set up automation accordingly.

Remember the rules you used when you created your dynamic list? Take it a step further and create an automation rule to mark these prospects as “Do Not Email.” To build this rule, you can either recreate the rule criteria from your dynamic list or use the list membership alone.

3. Prevent Competitors from Downloading Gated Content

While making your competitor prospects unmailable will prevent them from receiving email, it won’t prevent them from accessing gated content. If you redirect prospects to gated content after a form submission, Pardot has a great article about how to insert javascript to your form’s thank you code to redirect competitors to a different location entirely (effectively blocking access).

Read their article for how-to instructions. An example of their thank-you code snippet is below.

<script type="text/javascript">
  var email = "%%email%%"; //set the field name to a local javascript variable
  if (email.indexOf("@competitor1.com")!=-1){ //if the string has the competitor name
    top.location="http://loc1"; //redirect to a location
  } else if (email.indexOf("@competitor2.com")!=-1){
    top.location="http://loc2";
  } else { //go to the real location
    top.location="http://nonCompetitorLocation";
  }
</script>

Summary

While all of the above-listed best practices are 100% reliant on competitors self-reporting their affiliations, they work. Some competitors are savvy (aren’t the best antagonists?) and will make it through the cracks, but many will be weeded out with time. Keep an eye on your lists and automation rules, and think of every thwarted competitor as a success.

If your organization has more complicated competitor-tracking needs or challenges, contact us to set up a consultation.

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