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Competitor analysis

Competitor analysis in marketing is an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors.

Competitor array

One common and useful technique is constructing a competitor array. The steps include:

An example of a competitor array follows:

Key Industry Success Factors Weighting Competitor # 1 rating Competitor #1 weighted Competitor #2 rating Competitor #2 weighted
1 - Extensive distribution .4 6 2.4 3 1.2
2 - Customer focus .3 4 1.2 5 1.5
3 - Economies of scale .2 3 .6 3 .6
4 - Product innovation .1 7 .7 4 .4
Totals 1.0 20 4.9 18 3.7

In this example competitor #1 is rated higher than competitor #2 on product innovation ability (7 out of 10, compared to 4 out of 10) and distribution networks (6 out of 10), but competitor #2 is rated higher on customer focus (5 out of 10). Overall, competitor #1 is rated slightly higher than competitor #2 (20 out of 40 compared to 18 out of 40). When the success factors are weighted according to their importance, competitor #1 gets a far better rating (4.9 compared to 3.7).

Two additional columns can be added. In one column you can rate your own company on each of the key success factors (try to be objective and honest). In another column you can list benchmarks. They are the ideal standards of comparisons on each of the factors. They reflect the workings of a company using all the industry's best practices.

Competitor profiling

Another common technique is to create detailed profiles on each of your major competitors. These profiles give an in-depth description of the competitor's background, finances, products, markets, facilities, personnel, and strategies. This involves:

Media scanning

We can learn a lot about the competitive environment by scanning our competitors' ads. Changes in a competitor's advertising message can reveal new product offerings, new production processes, a new branding strategy, a new positioning strategy, a new segmentation strategy, line extensions and contractions, problems with previous positions, insights from recent marketing or product research, a new strategic direction, a new source of sustainable competitive advantage, or value migrations within the industry. It might also indicate a new pricing strategy such as penetration, price discrimination, price skimming, product bundling, joint product pricing, discounts, or loss leaders. It may also indicate a new promotion strategy such as push, pull, balanced, short term sales generation, long term image creation, informational, comparative, affective, reminder, new creative objectives, new unique selling proposition, new creative concepts, appeals, tone, and themes, or a new advertising agency. It might also indicate a new distribution strategy, new distribution partners, more extensive distribution, more intensive distribution, a change in geographical focus, or exclusive distribution. Little of this intelligence is definitive : additional information is needed before conclusions should be drawn.

A competitor's media strategy reveals budget allocation, segmentation and targeting strategy, and selectivity and focus. From a tactical perspective, it can also be used to help a manager implement his/her own media plan. By knowing the competitor's media buy, media selection, frequency, reach, continuity, schedules, and flights, the manager can arrange his/her own media plan so that they do not coincide.

Other sources of corporate intelligence include trade shows, patent filings, mutual customers, annual reports, and trade associations.

Some firms hire competitor intellegence professionals to obtain this information.

New competitors

In addition to analysing current competitors, it is necessary to estimate future competitive threats. The most common sources of new competitors are:

The entrance of new competitors is likely when:

See Also:

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