To overlook the importance of competitor analysis is to make a major error of judgment; after all, how can you accurately measure your own performance if you have no idea about the competition? More importantly, how can you effectively differentiate yourself from your rivals, unless you have done in depth research? Most businesses would probably state with some conviction that they have a decent understanding of their competitors, but when quizzed as to how regularly they conduct formal competitor analysis, most would probably admit it is something they rarely do. Understandably, knowing where to start can be the biggest issue of all. This is why conducting in-depth competitor analysis and arming yourself with actionable insights can be as simple as answering a series of essential questions about your competitors.
Why is Competitor Analysis Important?
Competitor analysis is important extremely important for this reason: Your target audience is constantly comparing your performance to that of other businesses within your niche.
Whatever it is you do, it is highly unlikely that you are the only brand or business doing it. With competition in most business areas at an all-time high, customers (in B2B and B2B spaces alike) are quite literally spoilt for choice. If they can get a better deal elsewhere, that is exactly what they will do – loyalty is fleeting when there is such limitless freedom of choice. By conducting detailed competitor analysis, you effectively provide yourself with a blueprint for improvement; you will find out about their strengths and weaknesses in order to gain the competitive edge.
Competitor analysis also helps you identify new business opportunities, new audiences and new ways of delivering them. Whether your goal is to become the number-one brand in your field or simply close more sales to boost capital, in-depth competitor analysis is guaranteed to help you achieve your objectives.
Competitor Analysis Questions: A Complete Checklist
How much research is required to answer each of the questions outlined below will vary from one organization to the next. Nevertheless, all of the same essential questions apply, irrespective of who you are, what you do and the audience you target.
- What exact products and services does the competing company offer?
- Is their target audience similar or identical to yours?
- Do they operate within the same geographic location as your business?
- What level of experience and track record do they have in your niche?
- Is it a large company, a small business, a recognised household name etc.?
- Who would they consider to be their closest competitors?
- What have they outlined as their primary USP or value proposition?
- Perhaps most importantly, why are they successful?
Their Products and Services:
- How similar are their products and services to yours?
- Is the quality of their products superior or inferior to yours?
- Do they offer their products/or services at a lower or higher price?
- What is the main reason people choose their products?
- Do their products/services fulfill a need that yours does not?
Marketing and Advertising:
- Which are the brands primary marketing and advertising platforms?
- How are they using keywords and search terms to drive traffic?
- What is their reach and engagement level on social media?
- Do they have an established and active content marketing strategy?
- Where do they appear in the search page results listings?
- Are they (successfully) using any forms of paid advertising?
- What kind of personality and tone of voice have they established?
Customers and Loyalty:
- How focused is the company on repeat business and customer loyalty?
- Do they incentivise people to come back for repeat purchases?
- How engaged is the brand with its audience on social media?
- Do they actively encourage and respond to customer feedback?
- What kind of reputation do they have on Google Reviews, Trustpilot etc.?
- How easy is it to get in touch with their customer support team?
- What do they do to make their customers feel appreciated?
Website and User Experience:
- How simple or sophisticated is their website?
- Do they provide a streamlined user interface and navigation system?
- How quick and easy is it to complete the purchase process on their website?
- Which other brands and businesses are they affiliated with?
- How are they using outreach and backlinking to their advantage?
- To what extent do they a prioritise customer safety and security?
- What other resources (articles, downloads etc.) do they offer online?
Evaluation and Action…
- Once you have collected all of the information above, you should be in a position to view the whole thing from the customers perspective and identify actionable insights.
- Replicating what your competitors are doing defeats the objective of conducting a competitor analysis.
Your goal should be to identify where and how you can make improvements for the benefit of your customers, ultimately gaining an edge in doing so.
- The input of an experienced and independent third-party could prove invaluable.