We look to competitors to learn.
While some are interested in copying tactics, specifically within marketing, others look to do the opposite. They use competitor analysis to understand what not to do.
Because if we can prevent mistakes that will cost time, money, and resources — we will. And it’s best to look to giants within our industry who are at a success level we respect.
It begins with the competitor analysis template.
The more detailed you can be, the better.
Researching several aspects of a company is beneficial. You can use one completed template per competitor — or combine a template to examine several primary competitors.
You will want to consider more than one competitor. By comparing and contrasting various competitors methods, marketing avenues, strengths, and weaknesses, you can carve out a space for your company.
Because a product should fulfill a need. Creating something your competitors already have, without ensuring it’s better than what they offer, won’t work. It’ll eat funds and time without ever breaking even.
Consider including the following
Adding the following sections helps identify key characteristics to conduct a thorough competitor analysis.
Your company: Provide a brief overview of your business. What do you do? Why do you do it?
Competitor #1 (#2 and #3): Include the industry, how long they’ve been in business, and what their message is.
The following information will be answered for your company and each competitor.
Competitive advantage: Also known as Unique Selling Preposition — it’s what differentiates you and competitors from others. This is what makes you unique and why customers will choose you over the others (and competitors over you).
Target market: Who are the people you sell to? Include age, location, key problems they face, income, and any piece of information you can.
Market share: This is of particular importance with competitors. Is your market an oligopoly — meaning competition is limited and thus they own most of the market? Or are there many competitors trying to make it big?
Marketing strategies: How do you market your business? How does your competitor? Direct marketing, digital marketing, or traditional? Do they focus on email marketing or do they do weekly webinars? Or is their digital marketing nearly non-existent?
Product & services: What do you and competitors offer? List every single product and service. Make a note of what the primary revenue earner.
Pricing & costs: How do you and competitors price your products? Are theirs cheaper — and if so, why? The same thought should be applied if their products are expensive.
Distribution channels: What channels are you and competitors using to distribute products and services? Why? What are the benefits? What could be substituted?
Finish up with another analysis
A helpful analysis that works powerfully with competitor analysis is SWOT. It’s used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In this case, you recognize how these four categories affect your business and the competition.
The main point here is not only playing up strengths and downsize weaknesses for your company. But it’s a method to see where the competition is lacking so you can swoop in and be their customers’ hero.
It’s a smart way to finish up a competitor analysis template.
With all of this information answered as thoroughly as possible, it’s time to utilize what you’ve learned to propel your business towards success.
You can update information with another competitor analysis template in a few months time. If a new competitor rises up, do it again. Or if it’s time to update your own information, follow the competitor analysis template once more.