Competitive Analysis

Actionable Market Research


Most likely, you are missing out on very important market intelligence drawn from actionable market research if you are not performing a comprehensive (potential) competitor perusal… most simply tagged competitive analysis. It helps you understand what you are doing correctly, even well, what areas you need to focus on or improve, and which trends you need to be abreast of.

In a competitive analysis, you should aim to look closely at your competitor’s characteristics, their market share, pricing techniques, marketing, and social media strategies and differentiators, SWOT, corporate culture, customer reviews, and even geography.

Michael Porter’s Five Force Analysis, established in the late 80s, establishes potential competitors in these five categories:

  • Competitive Rivalry: similar business players

  • Entry Barriers: which leads to new entrants

  • Threat of Substitutes: the presence of substitute products or services

  • Buyer Power: or what room you have to negotiate with clients

  • Supplier Power: the importance of shared suppliers

As such, the strategies you should derive from this analysis should guide you to capitalize on your competitive advantages, improve your existing offer to the market and sell more efficiently, unearth market trends and identify unfulfilled market gaps, eventually leading you to (much) improved brand visibility, positioning, and market share.

Here are the main points a Competitive Analysis should focus on:

  1. Determine who your main competitors are. Seek out direct competitors first, but do not forget indirect, potential, disruptive, and replacement competitors, including new industry/niche entrants. What products or services do they offer?

  2. Identify the products and services you want to focus on. Normally, they are the ones that generate the highest revenue or value or the ones that show a marked potential for growth.

  3. Follow that with a conscientious evaluation of the items/parts of the competitor businesses you want to delve into. Is it pricing? Or distribution? New products and services launched maybe? Or is it their highest spending clients? Their after-sales support? Is it their sales tactics or their scaling model? Could it be why certain customers are not buying from them? Or their discount or promotional schemes? Push it further with other perks and benefits? Their sales, marketing, distribution, or reselling channels possibly? Whatever it is, have a clear idea of all the areas you wish to examine before you start, or be flexible enough to incorporate new interest points as you move forward.

  4. Perform a serious comparison, possibly software-based, pitting what you just found out about your competition against your own realities and juncture. Use professional tooling to distance yourself, insofar as possible, from likely proximity blunders that may cloud your judgment when analyzing and comparing.

  5. As mentioned above, auditing competitivity should always be performed with specialized tools. These are some of the best out there: Ahrefs, Quick Sprout, Moz Link, Explorer, Alexa, and Buzzsumo. This will help you with the final and most important step: document your research in a written analysis.

  6. Be sure not to miss out on key competitor areas such as their social and SEO strategies, their content strategy, target customers, product and service features, staffing profiles, and price points, most importantly.

  7. Once you have performed this, it is a good idea to compare your competitive advantage(s) and generate a mock, yet elaborate strategy. This process should allow you to identify improvement areas and an avenue to execute the changes, whether conceptual or physical, that you need.

  8. Track, track, track your results. And plan for future growth.


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