On average, businesses battle in the marketplace with 25 different competitors. Those competitors make up the competitive landscape your business operates in. Learning about your competitive landscape requires a competitor analysis which identifies the drivers and context that evolve the competition. A competitor analysis, which is also known as a SWOT analysis, involves you identifying major competitors and researching their products, sales, and marketing strategies. It will help you identify the ins and outs of your competition. This understanding of your competitive landscape will give your marketing team an advantage over your competition.
Benefits of Knowing Your Competitive Landscape
- You can improve your own strategies by identifying where your competitors are falling short. This information will show you areas of opportunities in the marketplace. Plus, you can test out new, unique marketing strategies your competitors haven’t taken advantage of.
- It can also allow you to identify potential opportunities where you can outperform them. It will also help you stay on top of industry trends to make sure your product or service is meeting or even exceeding industry standards.
- You can identify your product or service’s unique value proposition; what makes your offering different from your competitors’. This can inform your future marketing strategies.
- You can identify what your competitors are actually doing right. Having this insight can help you stay relevant. It also ensures your offering and marketing campaigns exceed industry standards.
- You can learn from customer reviews of your competitors. You can identify what features you might add to your own product or service to meet what is missing in the eyes of your customers.
- A competitor analysis also gives you a benchmark to measure your own growth against.
10 Steps to a Competitor Analysis
1. Determine Who Your Competitors Are
Who are you currently competing against? You should divide your competitors into direct and indirect competitors. Direct competitors are businesses with a product or service that could be considered a substitute for yours. They will also operate in the same geographic area as you. An indirect competitor provides products that aren’t the same as yours, but could satisfy the same need or solve the same problem for your customers. However, the companies you want to focus on for your competitive analysis are your direct competitors. Keeping your indirect competitors in mind is still important as they could shift their positions and cross over into a direct competitor.
2. Determine What Products Your Competitors Offer
You want to analyze the complete product line of your competitors. You also want to analyze the quality of the products or services they’re offering. Finally, you will want to take note of the pricing and any discounts that are being offered. Some questions you will want to consider: Are they a low cost or high cost provider? What is their market share? How do they differentiate themselves from their competitors? How do they distribute their products or services?
3. Research Your Competitors’ Sales Tactics and Results
In this step, you want to find answers to questions like the following: What does the sales process look like? What channels are they selling through? Do they have multiple locations or one central location? Are they expanding or scaling down? What are their revenues every year? What about total sales volume? How involved is a salesperson in the process?
4. Take a Look at Your Competitors’ Pricing.
One of the major factors that go into pricing your product correctly is understanding how much your competitors are charging. From here you can assess whether your product is of a higher quality than theirs and therefore deserves a higher price. In addition to pricing, you want to look at any perks they offer. Free shipping, personalization options, and volume discounts are some examples of perks. How can you match those perks to compete?
5. Analyze How Your Competitors Market Their Products
The quickest way to do this is to analyze your competitors’ website. What online and offline advertising campaigns are they running? Do they have a blog? Are they using static visual content like infographics?
6. Take Note of Your Competitors’ Content Strategy
You’ll want to look at the quantity of the items you identified in the previous step. You’ll also want to identify how frequently they are posting them. Then, you should evaluate the quality of the content. Instead of analyzing every single piece of content, review a handful of samples. You’ll want to analyze how accurate it is, whether there are spelling or grammar errors, and what tone they use.
7. Learn What Technology Stack Your Competitors Use
This step can be essential for helping your company increase momentum within your own organization. You may have noticed while looking at your competitors’ reviews that their customers love their customer service. Maybe you can see they use a certain customer service software you haven’t been using. This could arm you with the chance to outperform them.
8. Analyze The Level of Engagement on Your Competitors’ Content and Social Media
So your competitors are releasing content, but how is their target audience responding to it? You can check the average number of comments, shares, and likes on content. Or, you may be able to notice trends on the topics that perform better than others and whether the comments are positive or negative. You may also notice they are active on a platform you have not used yet.
9. Observe How They Promote Their Marketing Content
Three of the most common techniques for promoting marketing content are keyword density, image ALT text tags, and use of internal linking. Some questions you may want to answer in this step are: what keywords are your competitors focusing on? Who is referring traffic back to their site? Who else is sharing their content?
10. Perform a SWOT Analysis
Finally, you will want to create a SWOT analysis with your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that you identified throughout this process. Keep in mind that strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. Opportunities and threats are external factors.
Strengths: What do they do well? What unique resources do they have? What do others see as their strengths?
Weaknesses: What could they improve? In what areas do you have fewer resources than others? What are others likely to see as weaknesses?
Opportunities: What opportunities are open to them? What trends could they take advantage of? How could they turn their strengths into opportunities?
Threats: What threats could harm them? What is the competition doing? What threats do their weaknesses expose?
Competitive Landscape from Archintel
If this sounds like a time consuming process, that’s because it is. But the insights you will gain from it will be very valuable to your company. Let Archintel’s human-intelligence research teams bring you the information you need to stay on top of your competition. You can get daily executive briefings with the most important information to keep your business on top.