How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis [FREE Template]
January 14, 2022 Manno Notermans
Nowadays, consumers are much more informed about products and services than they were just a decade ago. With the boom in the eCommerce market and digital marketing, today’s smart consumers can research your products, compare them with other competing products and make final purchasing decisions all on their own.
Rather than making a visit to a physical store location and interacting with one of your on-the-counter sales representatives, today’s buyers can simply hop online, read product reviews or ask others regarding your products in various groups before making up their minds.
While your customers are surely evolving, you need to evolve too?
In order to sell your products, you need to understand your buyer’s problems, their pain points, and what solutions they are looking for. With proper market research, you can fine-tune your products and marketing strategies that’ll appeal to your target buyers.
Conducting in-depth market research and competitor analysis will help you understand:
- Which of your competitors does your target audience consider purchasing from?
- How do your potential and current customers conduct their product research?
- What trends are catching the eyes of your buyer in your industry?
- What kind of buyers make up your target market and what are their challenges?
- What influences the purchasing decision of your target audience?
To come up with marketing strategies that resonate with your target audience, you need to do thorough market research.
This article covers techniques for gaining deep insights about your competitors’ moves and how to do a competitive analysis using the insights you gathered to win market share. On the other hand, there are professional positioning and segmentation agencies that can help you conduct market research with their expertise and access to data.
Let’s get started.
What is Competition Analysis Market Research?
So what is competitive analysis market research?
Competitive analysis market research is all about researching your competitors and gaining insights into their marketing tactics, products, and sales numbers to gain a competitive edge.
Conducting a competitive market analysis can have huge benefits for any business. It can help you ward off your competitors, gain market share and implement a sound strategy.
Competitive analysis can help you understand how your competitors work. It can help you figure out potential opportunities that can help outperform your competitors.
Let’s take a look at a few more benefits of conducting in-depth competitive analyses:
- It can help you figure out your product’s value proposition. How your product is different from the competitors’. Knowing this, you can develop sound future marketing strategies.
- It can help you identify the plus points of your competitors. This can prove super helpful in developing products and marketing campaigns that’ll meet industry standards.
- Helps you identify the weak links of your competitors. Areas that you can exploit to make a name for yourself. Taking advantage of what your competitors aren’t doing can help you gain market share.
- It can help you figure out what’s missing in a competitor’s products through customer reviews and feedback. Knowing this, you can add missing features in your own product to make them more enticing for your customers.
- Learning about your customer can help you set a benchmark. This is super important for measuring your business’s growth. It can help you figure out what challenges you’ll need to overcome to stay at top of your competitors.
At Chasm, our team of experts can help you analyze the competition and provide an actionable strategy to stand out from the crowd. Check out our competition analysis service page today.
In order to start selling your products, you need to understand who your competitors are so you can come up with your business strategies that’ll outdo them.
Competitor analysis is important because it can:
- Help you identify product failures so you can enhance your business strategy.
- Help you identify opportunities that can help you outdo your competitors.
- Help you gain a competitive edge over others.
We’ve talked about competitors over and over again. But how do you actually figure out who your competitors are?
Well, to figure that out, you need must ask yourself:
- What service are your competitors providing?
- Are you also targeting similar audiences?
- Is your competitor operating close to you?
To further help you further understand, there are 3 main types of business competitors:
1- Direct competitors:
Direct competitors offer the same products as you, have the same goals, and also target the same market. They follow a similar distribution model as you and target the same audience.
2- Indirect competitors:
Indirect competitors might also offer the same products as you, similar to direct competitors, however, their business goals might differ from yours.
3- Substitute competitors:
A business, not directly operating in your industry but still offers products and services to your customers that you also offer.
Once you figure out who your competitors are, it is time to figure out marketing strategies that can help you stand out.
Technology competitive intelligence (TCI) is the process of analyzing competitive insights and acting on them to evolve your business strategies.
New technology trends always disrupt the current markets. Just think about NFTs and how they stirred up the crypto and blockchain scene.
With technology advancing at an unimaginable rate, staying up to date with the latest trends is not easy. However, utilizing technology for timely tracking of competitive trend analysis, and gaining competitor insights can help you crush your competitors – this is what technology competitive intelligence is all about.
Exploring technology trends is critical to achieving a competitive advantage.
To gain a competitive advantage, you first need to be aware of what information your competitors know about you. Only then you’ll be able to come up with your counter-marketing strategies.
One thing that’ll help you stay one step ahead of your competitors is to timely adopt technology market research.
A technology trend analysis can be helpful in:
- Planning your market expansion strategy.
- Identifying future trends to adopt.
- Gaining a sustainable competitive advantage.
- Business partnerships and acquisitions.
Keeping an eye on technological changes is challenging. Although you can source out technical data using a variety of analytical tools, organizing and simplifying data to be turned into a business strategy is not straightforward.
To successfully monitor technology trends, you need to focus your attention on the holistic picture of technical data related to macro and micro trends. You’ll need to filter out trends that are relevant to your business goals. You’ll also need to have insights into your competitors and the technologies that can affect your business.
Now, of course, we’re not saying that running a competitive technology intelligence is easy by any means. This is why a lot of companies hire CI firms.
We as a CI firm can help you run technology competitive intelligence and ongoing monitoring needed to outperform your competitors.
5 Major Goals of Technology Competitive Intelligence
There are five major goals that you will be able to achieve through technology competitive intelligence:
- Improve your market position
- Secure more business deals
- Improve your products and services
- Enhance customer satisfaction
- Improve your long-term business plan
TCI can no doubt help you strengthen your market position. With proper insights about your competitors, you’ll know exactly what is going on beyond the boundaries of your company.
To make your target audience think that your product is the best for them, you’ll need to first understand how you stack up against your competitors.
Technology competitive intelligence will help you stay aware of all the big or small moves your competitors make. Being aware of something as small as an updated Ad copy to something as significant as vertical business expansions can help you make real-time changes to your business strategies that can ultimately help you stay one step ahead of your competitors.
Don’t you want to secure more sales deals? Well, then you need CI. To be able to carry out successful sales deals, your sales representatives need to convince your potential customers into thinking that what you’re offering is the best.
Unless you tell your competitors how your products or services are better than others, your prospects may not want to buy from you.
CI can help you gain insights into your competitors’ products and services. Improving on things like pricing differences, missing features and others can help your sales team bring in new customers for your business.
Over time, you’ll need to evolve your products. With time, you’ll need to assess the vision, and progress of your products. A product roadmap can help you do just that. It’ll help you figure out the short-term and long-term goals needed for your products to stay relevant in the marketplace.
A CI research will help you figure out room for improvements in your products. When you’ll be familiar with what your competitors are offering, you’ll know exactly what to improve that’ll make your product stand out.
To keep your business’s churn rate low, you need to satisfy your customers. You’ll need to convince your customers that what you’re offering is the best in the business.
But you don’t own your customers. Your competitors will try to reach out to your customers and convince them that their product is better than yours.
This is where CI can help you significantly. To retain your precious customers, you should use CI to highlight your product’s strengths and your competitor’s weaknesses to your customers.
Providing your customer success team with relevant insights about your competitors, will lower your churn rate, and improve your overall customer satisfaction.
Every business has a long-term plan that they follow religiously. Understanding who you’ll be up against can make your business strategy a lot sound and impactful.
Business is all about making money, right?
When businesses assess their strategies, they often ask questions like:
- How can we grow our revenue?
- What opportunities can we take advantage of to grow our business?
CI can help you answer all these questions. By utilizing competitive intel about your customers, you can obtain a clear vision for your business strategies that’ll not only help you grow your revenue but also help you tap into new market opportunities.
Competitive Audit template
A competitive audit template, also known as a competitor analysis template, is a model to make it simple to visualize and understand the competitive landscape. It helps businesses build a detailed profile for each of their main competitors and captures a wide range of information about their company, customers, and products.
These templates are usually easy to customize to align with how businesses assess the market. The insights provided help companies better position their offering to prospective clients based on the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor.
How To Conduct Technology Competitive Intelligence (3-Phases)
Phase 1: Collection
This phase is all about gathering intel on your competitors, but first, make sure to check the boxes below:
- Establish clear goals
- Identify audiences to be tracked
- Identify sources of intel
What audiences do you track?
There are 8 types of audiences tech providers usually track:
1. Direct competitors
2. Indirect competitors
3. Company’s audience
4. Company’s customers
6. Thought leaders
Collecting insights about each of the above audiences is worthwhile, but for our purposes, we’ll be focusing on direct and indirect competitors.
How often should you track them?
12% of tech providers track their indirect competitors on a daily basis, and 39% track them on a weekly basis. You do your math and choose the most suitable frequency.
Identify Sources of Intel
Sources of intel are anything from which you can collect information about your competitors like websites, colleagues intelligence, content accounts (e.g., Youtube), third-party review sites, social media, events, forums, news, etc.
Some sources are valuable no matter what your company’s goals are at the moment, but there are many times where you may need to focus on one source in particular.
To help you get the most out of the intel collection:
- Stay regular and consistent; commitment does pay off.
- Embrace automation, set push notifications, subscribe to your competitor’s blogs, Youtube channels, etc.
- Use positive reinforcement, especially when you’re in the early stages of building a CI function.
Phase 2: Investigation
The investigation phase is dedicated to turning raw data into key takeaways to make it easier to organize, connect, and interpret competitive data points.
The framework or the comparison matrix for your competitive analysis is determined by the types and volumes of intel you’ve collected to simplify the process of extracting meaning from it and establishing action items accordingly.
Phase 3: Initiation
If you are the CMO reporting to the COO or CEO, this phase is where
you get your intel into the hands of the appropriate stakeholder(s). Does there need to be a third phase just for communicating results? Although there are times where an email is sufficient, this is not typically the case. In order to get your point across and inspire decision-makers to take action, you’ll need to be thoughtful about your deliverables.
Market Research Tools for Analyzing Competitors
How to do competitor research, or how to do competitor analysis? In order to analyze competition in your industry, you can utilize several tools, review websites and marketplaces. It depends on the depth of your analysis and what you want to accomplish.
After working with several platforms and tools following four are always the go-to option for us:
Capterra for Analysing Competitors in the Market
In order to start your research with Capterra, head over to their homepage and type your product category such as password manager, chatting software, and others.
In our competitive analysis example, we are going to find out competitors in auto repair shop management.
Searching the query will give us a list of software in the specific niche. Not only a list of products but also relevant categories and resources.
By clicking on each product, it will take you to their separate product pages that will help you analyze the product in-depth. This includes the following:
By going through each section, you will be able to find out detailed information about the product. This can help you create stand-out features in your product and also improve your product with your competitor’s product reviews.
You can do the same to analyze multiple products and take key points.
Ahrefs for Analysing the Competitors
Once you have a list of your competitors, you can dig deeper into how they are driving traffic to their website and what kind of keywords are helping them the most.
Ahrefs is a paid tool that can help you in your research with just a few clicks.
Head over to the dashboard and place the website URL and you will see different metrics such as the list of countries that are helping the most, the list of organic keywords that are driving traffic from search engines, and much more.
Then the next step is to select, Organic search > Top 10 competitors (this is based on country).
This will give you a list of competitors that you can pick and again place in the Site Explorer in Ahrefs to find out the top keywords that are driving the most traffic to that competitor.
Once you have the report ready you can easily see the top pages, organic keywords, websites that have mentioned your competitor, and much more.
The organic keywords report will exactly show you the keywords and even their position in the search results. And similar to the keywords report the top pages report will show you the exact URLs of the pages and their top keywords.
By doing competitor analysis through Ahrefs, you can easily create a compelling content marketing plan for your tech product. And also it will help you find avenues for promotion partnership for your product.
Here is a list of some free tools that you can use to gather competitive data that can help you win that sweet-sweet market share.
- Google Alerts
Crunchbase allows you to closely monitor up to 1000 businesses in real-time. It pushes the collected information into Salesforce so you or your marketing team can easily access the database to gain a competitive advantage. Crunchbase is integrated with multiple online tools such as Owler and even SimilarWeb, allowing you to create a comprehensive dashboard.
Owler can provide you with company overviews of over 13 million private and public companies. It can provide you with information such as their employee count, annual revenue, top competitors, and more.
Aside from offering information about company overviews, if you use Owler’s advanced options, it can build you an in-depth graph of 40 million associations using the data it has about 13 million companies. But do keep in mind that the advanced search options are only available in the paid version of Owler.
Feedly is a content aggregation engine that lets you monitor your competitor’s content. This will save you from manually visiting your competitor’s blogs and reading what they’re covering in their latest blog posts. Feedly will help you identify the trends and topics that are most relevant for your audience and business.
If you wanna stay up to date with whatever is going on in your industry, you need Google Alerts. It crawls the web and looks for news, keywords, blogs, mentions, and more to ensure you don’t miss any information that might prove fruitful for your business. You can simply add the names of your competitors in Google Alerts to receive a notification every time your competitor gets mentioned anywhere on the web.
MOAT can help you gather data from your competitor’s paid search campaigns. It’ll allow you to analyze your competitors’ digital advertising strategies. MOAT can help you figure out what is working in your industry. It can help you strategically place your digital ads so you don’t end up wasting your time and money on campaigns that won’t convert.
Competitor tracking isn’t enough. Competitive intelligence has an incredible opportunity to help tech providers thrive in the post-pandemic world. But for effective growth and risk reduction, competitive intelligence needs to take a 360-degree view of our operating environment focusing on the outcome, not the output.