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How much do you know about your competitors?
You can learn quite a bit about their strengths and weaknesses. Having this information helps develop a strategic plan and a solid advantage for your own company. All that’s left is to identify opportunities and threats.
Competitor analysis for the right information
This analysis is crucial for business and marketing plans. It involves the study of your competitors, what they offer, how they offer it, and what their customers say about their services. Depending on your industry, you could have dozens of competitors. But you should limit the list to the top three or four for brevity.
You may want to answer these preliminary questions first:
- Who are your top 3-5 competitors, and why should they be included in the top?
- What products or services do they sell? How do they sell them?
- What are their past sales and marketing strategies? Has it differed from the past?
These questions give you the basics to get started. When you have each of these questions answered, it’s time to intertwine SWOT analysis into the mix.
How to use SWOT analysis to your advantage
SWOT analysis is a strategic tool that’s applicable for businesses, industries, and even for oneself. The premise is simple. Whatever your topic of choice, identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In this case, we’re applying SWOT analysis to your competitive analysis.
Ready? It’s time to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor from your list. You can examine several things, such as their brand image, services, and products.
Intertwining SWOT analysis with competitive analysis
For strengths, compare your products with theirs. You can examine media attention, such as awards they’ve received or reviews found on their website or forums.
Write down everything and then compare. Does your company have similar strengths? Have people provided similar feedback about your products? If the similarities are small, write down why that is. What do you offer, and how do you offer it? What are people saying about your product? These are your strengths.
For weaknesses, you’ll compare your products. Would you ever consider their approach to selling or sales? Why or why not? Also look at negative reviews. Some customers may be nitpicky but that’s where opportunities are hidden.
Now try to identify threats. What’s threatening about the competition? Are they extremely well known? Could they buy out smaller, weaker competition?
Obviously, both the SWOT analysis and competitor analysis requires brainstorming, research, and comparison. But the results are worth it.
- Where and how to position yourself as a business (even in busy markets)
- What your competitive advantage is
- Which threats from your competitors are minor and which ones are fatal
- The weaknesses of your own company
- Easy places to build opportunities for the future
The results from your competitor and SWOT analysis provide critical information for your corporate strategy. It’s up to you to find opportunities and work it in your favor.