Introduction to Competitor Analysis


Business takes place in a very competitive, unpredictable environment, so it is important to understand the competition.



Questions like these can be of assistance:

  • Who are your five nearest direct competitors?
  • Who are your indirect contenders?
  • Is their business growing, steady, or declining?
  • What can you learn from their operations or from their marketing?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • How does their product or service differ from yours?

Start a file on each of your competitors including pricing strategies, advertising and promotional materials. Re-evaluate these files at regular intervals, determining how often they offer sales, advertise and sponsor promotions. Revision the copy used in their sales approach, the advertising and promotional materials.


What to deal with in your competitor analysis

  • Names of competitors - List all of your current competitors and research any that might enter the market during the next year.
  • Outline of each competitor's products - This should include location, quality, staff, customer service, distribution methods, promotional strategies, advertising, etc.
  • Competitors' strengths and weaknesses - Inventory their strengths and weaknesses from the customer's perspective. State how you will take advantage of their weaknesses and face up to their strengths.
  • Competitors' strategies and objectives - This information might be simply got hold of by getting a copy of their annual report. It might take analysis of many information sources to understand competitors' strategies and objectives.
  • Strength of the market - Is the market for your product growing satisfactorily so there are enough customers for every single market players?

Find more in What Goes In A Competitor Profile


Ideas for gathering competitive information

  • Internet - The internet is a potent instrument for researching information on a variety of topics.
  • Personal visits - If feasible, visit your competitors' locations. Observe how employees interrelate with customers. What do their premises look like? How are their products displayed and priced?
  • Talk to customers - Your sales staff is in regular contact with customers and prospects, as is your competition. Gain knowledge of what your customers and prospects are saying about your competitors.
  • Competitors' ads - Analyze competitors' advertisements to study their target audience, product features, and benefits, market position, prices, etc.
  • Speeches or presentations - Attend speeches or presentations made by representatives of your contenders.
  • Trade show displays - View your competitor's display from a potential customer's viewpoint. What does their display say about the business? Observing which specific trade shows or industry events competitors are present at provides information on their marketing strategy and target market.
  • Written sources:
    • General business publications
    • Marketing and advertising publications
    • Local newspapers and business periodicals
    • Industry and trade association magazines
    • Industry research and surveys
    • Computer databases (available at many public libraries)
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