We live in the most competitive market ever. Today it is more important than ever for you to analyze your competition. It is how businesses understand the position of their brand and product and learn how to stay ahead.
Unless you know who you’re competing against, how can you create a strategy that beats them?
Those who are smart about business find ways to convince clients to pick their offerings over any other. This is what competitive analysis is all about.
Before we focus on how you can implement such an analysis, we should first look at the why.
Advantages of Competitive Analysis for a Business
Nowadays, competitive analysis is an ongoing process for big brands. This isn’t something they do once to figure out what the competition does – or to create a starting strategy based on customer data.
Even when companies start planning for growth and expansion, this is the data they collect to make it happen. According to the 18th Global CEO Survey 56% of CEOs are already conducting cross-sector competition research, evaluating their options of entering new markets in the next three years. By performing such research, they’re informing the company of its strengths and weaknesses, as well as the threats and opportunities in the industry.
This is why this is a work in progress.
The reasons why you should perform such analysis goes beyond all this, too. Attest, a trending website among businesses of all sites, focuses on providing testing tools to collect the key data for business growth. According to them, the four main reasons for a product category competition analysis are:
- To identify gaps in the market
- To learn the key features for product development
- To find the right strategic advantages for the business
- To work out the best positioning for the product.
Basically, if you have this type of data, you get insight into the landscape. You can track staffing, prices, products, research and development, and many other aspects of your competition. With all that data in hand, you can understand the market a bit better, which results in better targeting of your audience.
There are a few key advantages of doing such analysis for your brand.
Find the market gaps
Strategic planners and business owners rely on competitive analysis to spot gaps in the market. Such gaps can be used to help the business grow and stay ahead of the competition.
Just imagine – with a bit of research, you find something that your customers really want, but still cannot get. Imagine what kind of demand you’ll get if you offer it first – even if many follow after you.
Better product development
Can you guess how many Fortune 500 companies use competitive intelligence for growth? The answer is 90%, which has to offer some kind of value, don’t you think?
The most successful companies in the world use competitive analysis to come up with improved products and better products than those of their competition. If you know what others use for their product development and marketing, you can stay alert to the fresh developments and create highly competitive offerings.
Knowledge of market trends
Do you know what’s trending in the marketplace right now? How can you know this unless you’re following your competition? How people respond to their products and strategies can bring you amazing ideas for yours. Before you push a new product out in the open, check how the successful competition marketed it or priced it. When considering what to do next to boost your revenue, check out what works for the competition.
This is the best and most accurate way to follow the market trends – by seeing what your target audience already responds well to.
How to run a competitive marketing analysis
Now on to the most important thing – how to run the market analysis for best results!
1. Identify the competition
This sounds rather obvious and basic, but it is easier done than said. There’s a lot in finding your competition that makes for a successful competitive analysis. What good will it do if you spend tons of time analyzing companies that aren’t your competition?
Identifying your competition is the starting – and most important point of market analysis. This is the point when you learn who your competition is, what you’re up against, and how you need to approach the competitive analysis.
If you’re new to this, your first instinct will be to analyze the number one competitor in your market. While this might be good if you are a trending brand and somewhere at the top, it’s not a good idea if you’re just starting out (or not so popular just yet).
This is what you strive to become as a company, but that brand is not your primary competition just yet.
It’s best to look at this as an array. Find the people who are currently at your level. Those are your primary competitors. Next, look at the ones that are a bit above you in popularity and success. They are your secondary competitors. And of course, don’t fail to analyze the ones below you, the companies with real chances of beating you and getting one level higher.
Thanks to technology, this is now simpler than ever. You can perform thorough research thanks to Google, forums, social media, and other places where your customers hang. Even better, you can use testing software like Attest and get this information with minimal effort.
Once you have it, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
2. Research their content
At this point, you should already know who you’re dealing with. But, do you know what you’re dealing with?
This is the time to get an idea of what they are doing – or what they bring to the table. It’s the key to making your strategies better and coming up with new successful strategies in the future.
Competitive market analysis is greatly focused on your competition’s content. This includes everything from their blogs and whitepapers to their videos, webinars, and eBooks. Depending on which industry you’re in and who your competition is, you need to check website information, podcasts, case studies, press releases, as well as all the content you can find on their website.
Such platforms will provide you with amazing clues to the sales approach of a successful competition. The response to such content in the form of messages, likes, and shares will tell you more about the target audience – and help you evaluate how engaging their content is.
While you should definitely not copy it word for word, it’s not illegal to source some inspiration from their quality content. Also, try and determine where they went wrong – and why. These are the gaps you can use to create something better and more attractive for your target audience.
3. Dip into their social media platforms
Your competitor’s website is a great starting point, but it’s only that – a starting point. There are over 3.78 billion social media users at this point, which makes the platforms the most promising places to promote a business.
This is the time to check out your competitor’s Facebook page, their Tweets and Instagram posts, and even the LinkedIn profiles of their employees. Such research will tell you a lot about how they operate, but it will also provide you with invaluable insight into how people respond to their strategies.
People like, share, and comment on social media. Checking such data will tell you what they need, what they are satisfied with, what they respond to best and worse, and what you can do to improve your content.
4. Compare your USP to theirs
The question that you should be asking yourself is: why your company? Why should people be choosing your brand over others? When you compare your Unique Selling Proposition with that of your competition, you’ll find excellent talking points surrounding your brand.
This is who you distinguish yourself from the competition.
But, how can you do this?
The best way to achieve this is by comparing products, mission statements, services, interactions, and other things that might help you come up with talking points. The best places to search for such information are pages with mission statements, partnership information, and product descriptions.
5. Check out their hiring data
This might sound silly – why would you care who works at your competitor, or whether or not they are currently hiring?
Such data can yield incredible insight for your brand. Competitive analysis should not focus on customer feedback and content only. To get an understanding of your competition, you need to know who they are hiring right now. This will show you what their workplace culture is like, whether or not they are anticipating a surge in demand, as well as what type of talent you might need in the future.
Finding such data is very simple. You can check job sites, press releases, and those pages on sites that include currently open positions.
Every business owner and marketer wants to see their brand expand. But, they first need to make it happen to get there. And even when they do, they start to realize that as the brand expands, so do the customers’ needs. This is why competitive analysis is important at any stage. It’s a way to tap into the market gaps, figure out what the target audience needs, and find a way to beat the competition.