In this age of constantly changing and pivoting business landscapes, it is important to keep close analytics of your competitors so that you can have additional insight into potential market movements and industry changes.
This means surfing their socials just isn’t enough anymore, you need in-depth, professional rundowns of their effect and potential within your market niche. Once you have this information, you need an effective plan to leverage it. This can help your brand stay a step ahead of the competition, and be better positioned to tackle various challenges.
Why Is A Business Competitive Analysis Vital?
Creating an up to date business competitive analysis is absolutely crucial in today’s ever-changing business environment. This is because so many industries have leveled the playing field by using their digital presence in ways that significantly augment the rest of their business. This can mean life or death for brands heavily involved in things like e-commerce.
The primary reason that a business competitive analysis is important no matter what the industry, is that it can help any business identify and strategize against its nearest competitors. You can’t be successful if you don’t know what is already working, and potentially even driving your markets. You can’t be distinct if you don’t know what will set you apart.
Running Your Business Competitive Analysis
When you are ready to perform a business competitive analysis, you will find that much of the process is self-explanatory. A great degree of it is simply looking objectively at your competitors and seeing how they have branded themselves and offered their services in the marketplace.
The first step in any business competitive analysis is to select your closest competitors, while also including a mix of marketing or audience demographics, as well as both new and established names in the space. Otherwise, they should deal with similar products or services, and have a similar business model or premise. Select more than 3 but no more than 10.
Track Every Piece Of Information
Fire up your spreadsheet suite of choice, and as you collect various bits of data or answers to questions, make sure you enter it on your master spreadsheet. This way, all of the various entities can be set on equal footing with regard to various issues or criteria such as overall price, offerings, digital presence, lead content, and any other operational traits that your business may find useful.
Classify Your Competition
Once you have scoured the internet for a list of of viable competitors it is crucial that they be ranked. When ranking them, you will use one of three levels that denotes how closely they align with your business model.
Primary competitors or direct competitors are providing not only a similar product or service, but they are also able to offer that with a similar experience to an audience that is also relatively similar. Pizza Hut and Little Caesar’s would be direct competitors, as would McDonald’s and Burger King.
Secondary or indirect competitors are those who operate in a similar business or industrial niche. These are often brands that will sell a budget version or a luxury version of the product you are offering. A retail example of this would be the indirect competitors of Victoria’s Secret and Walmart.
Tertiary competitors are those brands that may be related to similar demographics, but are unrelated in the context of the products or services that they offer. They will not be selling competing items, but rather dissimilar items in a similar space. Examples of this may be Gatorade and Nike, or Under Armor and GNC.
Evaluate Any Potential Offerings Advantage
Here is where you will need to really look objectively at each competing organization’s positioning and core messaging, to determine their values and general strategy as well as what they bring to market. This will also have a role in determining your own positioning and potential offerings. This is a crucial stage for learning how to differentiate your brand from others in the space.
Analyze key communication channels to determine the values, messaging, and overall positioning for a competitor. Dig into their socials, their press releases, website and blog copy, interviews, and even events to find out everything you can about how they want to be perceived in the market. What story are they telling?
Compare Your Findings To Existing SWOT Data
Once you have compiled a sizeable amount of data, consider conducting a SWOT study of your own organization, and comparing that to the data you’ve amassed, to look for correlations as well as deviations. Look for opportunities to improve reputation, product or service offerings, partnerships, employee turnover, market share, and even intellectual property or assets.
A reliable SWOT analysis should be performed at least yearly. When this this done you should plan for an annual benchmarking of where your business is, in relation to your competition.
Leverage Datamining Sources For Deeper Insight
Information gathering and analysis doesn’t end there, at least it shouldn’t. Be sure you are using the leading industry tools for examining an array of important metrics and ranking results for your business.
For leading insight into SEO and cutting-edge SEO analysis, bookmark Ahrefs, Alexa, and SERanking. If you need some data on PPC performance, site traffic, and more, be sure to check out SimilarWeb, SEMrush, SpyFu, WhatRunsWhere, and iSpionage. Socials can be mined with Followerwonk, Sprout, and RivalIQ to get info on how the leaders interact.
Working With Established Analysts
If this all sounds like a lot to add to your plate right now, you are not alone in that thinking. Running a productive and efficient business competitive analysis can require a significant investment in time and attention, particularly if your field tends to be more highly competitive.
However by working with a local firm that has extensive experience with franchise consulting, business consulting, management consulting, and even business accounting, you can reap the benefits of world-class analysis without having another thing to do.