When Is the Right Time To Run a Competitive Analysis?

Christy Walters


September 9, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

neon analog clock with no numbers on the face to represent the right time to run a competitive analysis

The best brands rely on data to guide their strategies and business decisions to both appeal to the audience and outwit the competition. Finding the right times to collect that data so that it’s timely and relevant is crucial when making strategic decisions. Today, we’re discussing when to run a competitive analysis on your rivals with topics like:

9 Times To Perform a Competitive Analysis

You already know it’s important to run a competitive analysis. But choosing the right time to collect your data is also crucial for influencing strategy. Here are a few situations where conducting a competitor analysis and getting more insights about your marketing can have a positive impact on your brand strategy:

1. When You First Launch Your Brand

When your company is the baby of an industry, it’s important to learn about who you’ll be up against as your brand grows. It’s helpful to do a competitive analysis before your brand launch, or right after, to understand where the company fits in the market landscape. Running a competitive analysis at this stage helps you determine what makes your products and services different from what already exists.

The process also helps you see where your best leads already spend their time and money. Finally, a competitive analysis gives you insights on how to lure your target audience away from your rivals based on the additional benefits your brand brings to the market. Aside from running an overall market analysis, you can conduct a smaller analysis on your direct competitors at this stage. Content analysis or an SEO audit provides data about what type of content you need to produce to develop brand awareness in the field.

Related: All You Need To Know About Content Marketing for Startups

2. When You’re Considering a Rebranding Strategy

If you’re considering rebranding your company for any reason, it’s a good idea to first look into the current market and see how changing your image could also change your market standing. Running a competitor analysis before rebranding can help you decide if going through with the process helps differentiate itself from its rivals.

For example, a guitar shop may consider rebranding to market itself as the premiere guitar repair shop in its market, not just a retail location. After a thorough market audit, the company’s team finds that the closest competitors don’t even offer repair services. Rebranding to focus more heavily on that service could help the company pull in more customers and set it apart from other run-of-the-mill retail locations.

Related: How To Rebrand Your Business Without Affecting SEO

3. When You Want To Compare Brand Strengths and Weaknesses

In business, there are always going to be areas where your brand is better and ones where the competition has the upper hand. Knowing your brand’s position makes it easier to keep doing quality work and providing for your audience’s needs and wants. Using a competitive analysis to find out where your brand falls behind gives you a better idea of where you can improve to see better results.

For example, if you find your competitors are better at content marketing or they’re ranking higher on SERPs, you can focus more attention on content marketing to improve your organic traffic and reach. Finding your brand’s weaknesses is always about growth. When you know which areas lack, you can spend more time and resources on them to make changes and bring more success to the entire company. When looking for ways to compare your brand’s strengths and weaknesses to another, consider the competitive analysis frameworks available to help you collect the data to make informed decisions.

4. When You’re Ready To Scale Your Brand

One of the most exciting times in business is when you find that your company is ready to grow and expand. That could mean adding new business locations, expanding your product offerings, or growing your workforce. But no matter what type of growth you’re ready to start for your company, you can’t scale up without the right data. Depending on the moves you want to make, you can customize the data you collect from your analysis to see how scaling your brand affects the market.

5. When You Want to Know If New Competitors Entered the Market

New brands and businesses appear in the market all the time. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever for someone to set up their own business at home that runs completely online. No matter what type of business you work for or what industry that company is in, there’s a chance for new competition to pop up every day. That’s why it’s important to conduct regular market audits. Doing so helps you discover if you’ve zeroed in on the right direct competitors, or if new brands have come in that should capture your attention.

6. When You Need To Identify Trends in the Industry

Just like new competitors can enter the industry at any time, trends within a market can change just as quickly. This happens because your audience, while not part of the competitive market, influences what sells and what doesn’t in any industry. These trends often form due to external factors like economic upturns and downturns or political legislation. Even climate change, pop culture, or other fads may affect industries that customers otherwise wouldn’t have a connection to.

If you notice changes in the buying behavior of your audience—good or bad—it’s time to conduct a competitive analysis to discover if there are new trends in the industry or even your smaller niche. Finding these trends may help you readjust your marketing and other strategy campaigns to better align with what your audience and the rest of the industry see as most relevant for the times.

7. When You Need To Refine Your USP

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what sets your brand, products, or services apart from the crowd. It’s the ideas and language used to convince your audience to pick your company over others that provide many of the same offerings. Like other aspects of your business, your USP can change over time. It also adjusted for individual products and services as your company grows or the market shifts.

Conducting a competitive analysis helps you understand if your USP is still relevant from when you first defined it. If the USP is outdated, your analysis data can help you refine it and make it more relevant for the current state of your company. For example, a content marketing firm may have developed its USP five years ago, but thanks to Google updates, the way it does business now is drastically different.

By not updating its USP, the company has lost business because leads think the brand uses outdated practices. Data from a competitor analysis could help reveal strengths the company could add to its USP to give a better overview of what the company does and how it benefits users.

8. When You Want To Find Opportunities in Market Gaps

In business, gaps are areas of opportunity and untapped potential that your company uses to grow. We discuss gaps most often in the context of content marketing, where filling them helps marketing teams provide more value to their audience by sharing content on topics they care about. Competitive analysis helps your team find gaps in content and beyond by showing not just what your rivals do, but also what they don’t do for their audience.

For example, you may find that your industry is trending toward using chatbots to help increase response times and customer satisfaction for user inquiries. But after you run a competitive analysis, you find that none of your direct competitors are using chatbot technology yet. Your team may fill this gap by creating or purchasing the software and implementing it on your company’s website. These changes provide your audience with the convenience they’re used to using in other industry interactions.

Related: 9 Methods for How To Identify Content Gaps

9. When You Want To Change Your Marketing Plan

Competitive analysis is great for reviewing, reworking, and understanding the best marketing plan for your brand. Marketing, at its core, is about convincing the audience that your brand, products, or services are better than the competition. When you do that successfully, you make more conversions and sales, and your brand grows.

If you operate your company in a bubble, as if the competition doesn’t exist, your marketing is essentially useless. Both competitive analysis and marketing are all about comparison. Your brand doesn’t have to be the best in the world. It just has to be better than all the other available options out there. Embracing this relative marketing model helps you collect the right data to adjust your strategy and pull in a greater market share.

How Often Should You Conduct a Competitor Analysis?

neon analog clock with no numbers on the face to represent the right time to run a competitive analysis

Image via Unsplash by @moritz_photography

Your brand should conduct a competitor analysis regularly. However, the word “regularly” means different things to different teams. It’s best to run a large, comprehensive industry-wide analysis once a year. Do this at the beginning of the next fiscal year or at the end of the current one to help plan and forecast campaigns and strategies for the year ahead. But once a year may not be enough when your industry or market changes constantly.

You can run smaller-scale analyses on individual brands or industry segments quarterly. Following this process helps you ensure nothing has changed since your big audit that could affect your campaigns in the now. Truthfully, there is never a “wrong” time to do a competitive analysis. If you have the time and resources to dedicate to the process and you feel you need one to better understand what your brand is up against, then run one. We only suggest yearly and quarterly audits so that you’re used to building them into your strategy preparedness plan.

Too often, companies run a competitor analysis when they’re just getting started in an industry, or after a big rebranding campaign, and then they neglect to do them again. This isn’t the right choice because regular competition analysis shows opportunities to improve your products and services or better reach your target audience. Without the data and knowledge you collect from this process, you could miss out on changes to expand your company and secure more profit and market share in your industry.

Related: How To Do Competitive Analysis To Boost Your Content Strategy

Turn To CopyPress When You’re Running a Competitive Content Analysis

When it’s time to learn more about your closest content competitors, turn to CopyPress. Our content marketing analysis tool compares your content marketing pieces to those of the brands you identify as your top three competitors. The report helps you identify gaps in your content that you can cover to provide more of what your audience wants to see. This can help you overtake the competition and get more organic traffic and reach for your pieces.

Beyond the content gaps, our analysis tool also provides information on backlinks and syndication partners to make sure your content works even smarter for your brand. After you receive your report, set up a one-on-one meeting with our strategy team. They’ll walk you through the results and help you figure out where to make adjustments so your brand can get the most out of your content marketing. Drop your information below to get your personalized report today.

“CopyPress gives us the ability to work with more dealership groups. We are able to provide unique and fresh content for an ever growing customer base. We know that when we need an influx of content to keep our clients ahead of the game in the automotive landscape, CopyPress can handle these requests with ease.”

Kevin Doory

Director of SEO at Auto Revo

Author Image - Christy Walters
Christy Walters

CopyPress writer

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