Analyse your Competitive Position

Analyse your company, competitors and customers to find out how distinctive you are in the market.

Rather than relying on impressions and gut feel to make your marketing decisions, you should map out the competitive landscape and frequently reassess your position against your competitors in the market. A better understanding of how your strengths and weaknesses play out against each other will enable you to find innovative ways to position yourself for long term success.

Before you start analysing your company, competitors and customers, it is important for you to understand what is happening in the industry. Changes in the industry can create opportunities or threaten your business. Below are some areas you should find out more about:

  •       Industry size, growth, and composition
  •       Number of competitors
  •       Strategic alliances among competitors
  •       Industry changes
  •       Consolidation trends
  •       Typical marketing practices
  •       New technologies and products
  •       Industry strengths and weaknesses

If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.

If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.”

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War

It is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your company. Be honest and realistic in your assessment.

The following are some areas you might want to include in your assessment of your company:

  • Brand name
  • Company/product/brand image
  • Product quality
  • Position in the industry
  • Alliances with other firms
  • Economies of scale
  • Proprietary technology
  • Patented processes
  • Costs (raw materials or processes)
  • Financial resources
  • Distribution skills
  • Management talent
  • Marketing skills
  • Employee commitment

The more you know about your customers, the better you will be at developing products that your customers want and need. Identify factors that are most important to them. This will highlight factors about your company and competitors that should matter most to you.

The following are some areas you might want to include in your assessment of your customers:

  • Needs and wants
  • Personality
  • Values
  • Interests
  • Lifestyle
  • Buying habits
  • Preferences
  • Usage requirements
  • Decision-making process
  • Budget

Act On It

Analyse Your Competitive Position
Now that you have gained a better understanding of your company, competitors and customers, identify your strongest competitors and analyse your competitive position. You should review this periodically, or as and when new information is available.

Below are some definitions that you need to know to use the template.

  •  Core products are key products that contribute to the bulk of revenue
  •  Facilitating products are other products that contribute to revenue
  •  Strengths of your competitor which gives them a competitive edge
  •  Weaknesses  of your competitor which puts you in a stronger position
  •  Value refers to the benefits perceived by your customer
  •  Emerging competitors are new players in the market selling products that can replace yours. For example, handphones with high resolution cameras can substitute stand-alone digital cameras.