I get asked alot ‘why do you need to do a competitor analysis’? It is an important part of a marketing plan, it’s not done to copy what others in the market are doing but it’s about seeing how competitors are positioning themselves.
So, what is a competitor analysis? It is the research, analysis and comparison of players in the market which allows you to see how they are positioned, what services they offer and their current strategy. This will help you differentiate yourself in the market so you can stand out. It will also let you see what prospective clients will see when selecting and what choices they have.
To conduct the analysis find their website, look at their social media channels and the ways they choose to advertise. I have put together a template for you to include all your findings (when you click on the link, the document will automatically download).
Let’s conduct the competitor analysis!
Step 1: Who are your competitors?
List a maximum of ten direct competitors, think about ones you know and also do a google search to find others. Include only ones that are in direct competition, and consider your niche and location especially if you are restricted by your product or service offerings (e.g. if you are a plumber and only service parts of Melbourne, do not include Sydney competitors).
Step 2: Look at their brand positioning and personality.
Have they marketed themselves as a leader in the industry, are they quirky or serious? Are they a luxury brand or an everyday one?
Step 3: Write down the products and services they offer.
Notice the words they use to describe them. Have they packaged them together and how? Do they offer multiple services or specialise in just a few?
Step 4: Who are they targeting?
Are they targeting small businesses, a high-end consumers or retailers – look at their offerings, pricing and channels they use to work this one out. How are they emotionally connecting with their prospective customer? What problem and solution are they focussing on?
Step 5: Look at their strengths and weaknesses.
What are they doing well, what could they improve.
Step 6: What channels are they using and how?
Are they printing out flyers and doing a letter box drop, do they have a website and monthly newsletter, which social media channels are they using (if any)? Do they have sales, do they share valuable content? Check what marketing channels they use and what they use them for.
What to do with the template and findings when you are finished: this exercise will give you insights into your competitors, what they do and how. This will help you work out your place in the market and how you can differentiate yourself.
See what others are doing well and what improvements they could make, these will give you some ideas of what you can do and what you can do differently. Remember, it’s not about copying, it’s about being unique and doing it differently!