August 31, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
A competitor analysis focuses on… what? This is an open-ended question, one that if you asked five different strategists or marketers, you’d likely get five slightly different answers. The reason there isn’t just one simple answer is that marketing teams will take different aspects of competitor analysis and apply these insights uniquely to their brand goals. Today we’re discussing some focus areas of competitor analysis with topics like:
Competitor analysis is a strategy tool that helps you evaluate how well your brand, products, or services perform in their given market. The purpose of a competitor analysis is to compare your brand to other similar brands. Assessing your position in comparison to competitors helps you discover where your brand is succeeding and where your rivals have the advantage.
Finding the areas of your brand’s success helps your team learn what strategies are working for and where content is performing best to engage your audience. Identifying brand strengths sets up the opportunity for an internal audit to find out why those particular strategies work well. You can also see if applying some of those strategies to other areas of your business will improve success. But it all starts with understanding your competitive advantage. The areas in which your content and promotional strategies work best are the areas that can have the highest potential for brand growth.
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The goal of competitor analysis is to figure out where brands sit in the industry and how that positioning affects your own company. Look at each analysis individually to and use the data to plan the next steps of updating your brand strategy. The focus area for your analysis influences the framework you choose for the process and the tools you pick to conduct the analysis. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of approaches our team and many others take to interpret and use the information from your competitor analysis:
Many companies conduct competitor analysis to help set or realign their own brand goals. More specifically, this analysis helps brands set benchmarks and key performance indicators (KPIs) that allow them to track progress as they get closer to reaching those goals. Whether your brand is trying to make more money than a competitor or to secure a bigger portion of the market, it’s critical to understand other companies’ performance in key areas of the marketplace.
Then, you can set benchmarks, or milestones your company intends to reach to show that you’re making progress toward your larger goals. You can use both your goals and benchmarks to set KPIs, like increasing sales conversions by a certain percentage. Track these metrics throughout your campaign to further prove the progress towards bigger goals.
Sometimes a competitor analysis isn’t even about the competitor at all. It’s about seeing your own company through a more objective lens or the eyes of your audience. Remember, all competitor analyses have roots in comparison. It doesn’t matter what data you dig up on your rivals if you can’t explain how it relates to your own company.
Using an analysis framework like SWOT can help you find the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your brand and your competitors. Then you can compare the lists side-by-side to see who has the advantage in what areas. That data influences the adjustments you can make to be even more competitive with your strategy.
In business, opportunities are any chances your brand has to reach more clients, increase revenue, or grow in another way. When conducting a competitor analysis, you can typically find new opportunities by looking for gaps in your rivals’ strategies. For example, they may have content gaps that come from not covering the right keywords or topics that the audience wants to see. Or your competitors may not target the right area of search intent with their content pieces. Both situations present opportunities for your brand to capture more leads and market share by doing what competitors don’t.
If you’re looking for hints at where your industry is going, using a competitor analysis to find trends and patterns is a perfect tool. The correlations you look for can vary. For example, if you’re concerned about updating your content marketing, you may look for trends in distribution channels. Are other brands finding success on new platforms you haven’t adopted yet?
Trends don’t always have to be good things your brand should adopt to be more like the competition, either. Sometimes a competitor analysis may reveal a string of alarming trends or patterns that brought your competitors down. In these cases, you can learn from their mistakes and avoid overly risky practices that could hurt your brand, too, rather than help it.
If you’re currently running a small startup but have big dreams of taking over your industry, you might start planning for that kind of growth in advance. While a competitor analysis won’t help a startup overtake a company like Amazon in a week, it can give you insights on how to grow little by little to get closer to those lofty results. When planning for future growth, always look at your nearest direct competitors and how you can grow larger than them.
Collect information on the inventory your brand needs to sell to get more revenue, or how to fill gaps in your offerings to better appeal to your audience. As you start to see brand growth, you can run a competitive analysis again and again on slightly larger brands until you’re finally ready to compete with those industry giants.
Did you know that running a competitive analysis doesn’t just tell you about your rivals and your own brand? It also gives you insight into your audience and the overall market. One focus of these analyses is to predict the supply and demand in your industry and determine if your brand, and others, can handle it.
Ideally, supply and demand should be nearly equal. But certain cases can create scarcity when there’s not enough supply to meet the audience’s demand. You may also run into saturation, where there is too much product and not enough demand for that supply. Both situations can happen in any market and arise from a variety of factors.
Predicting supply and demand for your industry can help you make smart marketing and strategy decisions. As an example, let’s say your market is approaching saturation. In this case, you might start a sale or promotion to entice more people to buy your products or services. And if the market is approaching scarcity, you might increase production or create alternative sales opportunities to mitigate the threat of a supply and demand imbalance.
Marketing isn’t an exact science, but there are constants and ever-changing variables that make analytics and market research essential. And we talk about one variable a lot: human behavior. Because of this variable, marketers often experiment and take risks with campaigns and strategies, only for them not to go as planned. Maybe audiences grabbed a hold of a fleeting trend only to move on to the next big thing.
Constant change is just the nature of the field. But a competitor analysis can help you reset and refocus your strategy based on new data and evidence to make more educated decisions about where to take your next campaign or initiative.
By looking at what works or what doesn’t work for rivals, you can get insights into some experiments gone both right and wrong without taking the risk with your own brand. Then, based on those findings, you can adjust your own strategy to reap rewards rather than continuously work through a process of trial and error.
Sometimes a competitor analysis’s goal is simply to get a better feel for your industry overall. New competitors can enter the market at any time, while some of them may end up leaving the landscape and no longer pose a threat to your company. You don’t need a big goal in mind to stay informed about which brands are coming and going from the industry.
When conducting a competitive analysis with this goal as your focus, you can simply look at the behaviors and strategies of other companies in the market. This provides a broad overview of what’s working and what isn’t among all brands. Because your market landscape can change frequently, if this is the focus area for your analysis, you may have to conduct the process more often to always have the most accurate picture of what’s happening in the industry.
In business, threats are anything that can hinder your brand’s growth or success. Some are internal, such as budget cuts or high employee turnover rates. Others are external, like the potential for an economic recession. When talking about competitive analysis, threats are anything that your competitors do that may prevent your company from expanding, converting more customers, or becoming more successful.
Threats change based on your competitors, industry, products, services, and a host of other factors. What’s a threat to one brand may not be a threat to another. When conducting an analysis, you may track threats in the interest of risk management. Just because something is a threat doesn’t mean it’s going to lead to the downfall of your business. The impact of the threat may be small, but it’s still helpful to know what issues could arise. Once you have this knowledge, plan strategies for handling any challenges before they happen.
When most marketing teams conduct a competitor analysis, they’re trying to understand the makeup of the current market so their brand can get ahead. But you have to remember that your competitors aren’t staying stagnant while your company advances. Just like your marketing and strategy teams, theirs are conducting analyses to find out what you’re doing, and how they can either keep or advance their current edge. Instead of figuring out where your competitors currently sit in the market, one of your analysis focus areas may be to uncover where that brand plans to go next.
This is tricky because no one is a mind reader. If another company hasn’t released information or plans about new products, services, or expansions, your team can’t know. Even the best data resources won’t have that kind of information if company leaders haven’t spoken about it yet. But there are clues you can look for in your research to hint at whether a brand is looking to make expansions or where it plans to go.
Look for signs of rebranding, such as changes in logos or brand voice in content. You may also research how customer service representatives and social media managers answer audience questions online. Do they hint at upcoming changes? Another option is to browse a company’s job listings. Which departments are hiring? Are any of the positions new? The staffing needs a company has may hint at the type of growth or expansion opportunities it’ll enact soon.
One of the best times to complete a competitive analysis is when you’re not noticing any continued brand growth within your company. Another is when you find your competitors are capturing the top members of your target audience. When running a competitor analysis in either of these cases, you’ll be looking for areas where your rivals have the edge.
In both situations, there’s a problem to address. The first is growth. The second is determining why your content or value offering isn’t as appealing as the competition. Conducting a competitive analysis that focuses on studying the market landscape, finding new opportunities, looking for patterns, or resetting your business strategy could give you the data you need to make changes.
Instead of spending hours doing in-depth competitive research for your analysis, let CopyPress send the data right to your inbox. Request your free content marketing analysis report to learn where your content is performing well and where it’s lacking.
Besides telling you how your content compares to competitors, this report also gives you information about backlinks, syndication opportunities, and topics and keywords that your content should be covering. The additional information gives an even better understanding of your current content marketing landscape. So grab your report and get the information you need in as little as an hour.
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