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Competitive Analysis 101: How to Access Your Competition

Updated: Jan 3

Tired of constantly wondering how your competitors are succeeding with their digital marketing strategy while you struggle to keep up? It's time to take a step back and assess the competition. Competitive analysis is a crucial tool for any business looking to stay ahead in today's fast-paced market.

Three people running a race.
Competitive Analysis 101: How to Assess Your Competition

By analyzing your competitors' strengths and weaknesses, you can gain valuable insights that will help you improve your own strategy and potentially come out on top. In this post, we'll give you helpful tips on conducting an effective competitive analysis so that you can start making informed decisions about how to stay ahead of the game.

What is Competitive Analysis?

Competitive analysis is the process of identifying your competitors and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses in relation to your own business. It is a key part of any successful business strategy and helps to ensure that your business remains competitive in the marketplace.

Essentially, it involves analyzing the strategies, products, services, pricing, customer service and marketing of your competitors and understanding how they compare to your own offerings.

A competitive analysis can help you identify areas where you can improve and capitalize on opportunities. By keeping tabs on your competition and constantly evaluating their strategies, you can ensure that you always have the upper hand.

1. Consider Your Goals Before Starting Your Competitive Analysis

Before you start your competitive analysis, it is important to consider your goals. What are you hoping to learn from your competitive analysis? What are your objectives?

Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, you can begin to gather data and information about your competition.

You should also consider the scope and timeframe of your competitive analysis. Are you looking to compare a few specific competitors or get a comprehensive view of the market as a whole? If you plan to use data from external sources, how up-to-date will it be?

Taking the time to think through your goals and objectives before launching into a competitive analysis can help ensure that you get the most out of your research.

2. Determine the Type of Data You Want to Collect

It’s important to note that the type of data you want to collect for your competitive analysis should be tailored to your specific research goals.

For example, if you are looking for insights into customer preferences, you may want to collect survey or interview responses from both customers and competitors. If you are looking for financial performance insights, you may want to look at financial reports from public sources.

When conducting your competitive analysis you should collect data from from both primary and secondary sources in order to identify trends and patterns. This will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competition. It will also give you insights into how you can improve your own business.

Primary Data

This is data that you collect yourself. This is data collected directly from customers and competitors through surveys, interviews, focus groups, or observation.

There are many ways to gather primary data for your competitive analysis, but the most common method is through surveys. You can use online surveys, mail-in surveys, or in-person surveys to collect data about your competition.

When conducting a survey, it is important to ask questions that will give you insight into your competition’s business model, marketing strategy, and overall operations.

Questions you can ask on a competitive analysis survey include:

  • What would you feel if you couldn't use their products/services?

  • Have you considered any other solutions?

  • Before choosing their product/service, did you consider any other options?

  • Why did you choose their product rather than a competitor's?

  • What could be done better to make the product/service?

Once you have collected the data from your surveys, you will need to analyze it to identify trends and insights. This will help you better understand your competition and how to position yourself in the market.

Secondary Data

Secondary data is data collected from existing sources such as government statistics, industry reports, and market research studies. This method of competitive analysis will come from a variety of sources. Here are some common secondary data sources:

  • Industry reports

  • Company websites

  • Press releases

  • Media coverage

  • Social media

Each of these sources can provide valuable insights into your competition. Industry reports can give you an overview of the competitive landscape, while company websites and press releases can give you more specific information about individual businesses. Media coverage and social media can also be helpful in tracking down competitors and understanding their strategies.

When analyzing the data, be sure to consider the following:

  • The size of the market.

  • The growth rate of the market.

  • The needs of the target market.

  • The buying habits of the target market.

  • The competitive landscape.

3. Determine Who Your Competitors Are

When conducting a competitive analysis it is a good idea to determine who your competitors are in your market. There are a few ways to determine who your competitors are.

The most obvious way is to ask yourself, "Who sells products or services similar to mine?" Another way to determine who your competitors are is to look at who your potential customers would also consider when making a purchase.

For example, if you sell women's clothing, your competitors might be other women's clothing stores, but they could also be department stores that sell clothing for all ages and genders. Once you have a list of potential competitors, you can start to narrow it down your competitive analysis by looking at their market share, pricing strategy, business model, and so on. This will help you identify which companies are truly your main competitors.

4. Conduct a SWOT Analysis of Your Competitors

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis is a useful tool to help you understand your current business situation and think strategically about the opportunities and challenges that may lay ahead.

So how do you do a SWOT analysis? You can complete a SWOT analysis by researching and identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that you face in your specific market or business venture. To conduct a SWOT analysis of your competition, first gather information on your competitors. You can do this through research online and by talking to people in your industry. Write down the areas and under each

Blue SWOT analysis picture describing strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat.
SWOT Analysis

For example, if you find that one of your competitors has a Weakness in their customer service, you could focus on improving your own customer service in order to gain an edge over them.

If you find that one of your competitors has an opportunity in an untapped market segment, you start to market your products/services to this same segment to gain a portion of the market share.

5. Determine What Products Your Competitors Offer

Another important competitive analysis is to determine what products your competitors offer, you'll need to do some research. The best way to find out what they offer is to visit their website and take a look around.

If they have a blog, read through some of their posts to see what they mention about any of their products or services. You can also check out social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to see if they've posted anything about their products or services. Once you've gathered some information about what your competitors offer, it's time to start assessing them.

Consider the following questions in your competitive analysis:

  • What are the differences between what they offer and what you offer?

  • Do they have any advantages over you in terms of their product offerings?

  • Are there any gaps in what they offer that you could fill?

Answering these questions will help you get a better understanding of your competition and where you stand in relation to them. For products specifically, you can purchase some of their products and try them out to see how those product compare to your in quality, price point, shipping and delivery, and customer service.

6. Determine How Your Company Can Differentiate Itself from the Competition

Another important aspect of your competitive analysis is to determine how your company can differentiate itself from the competition. Consider what makes you unique and how that sets you apart.

A few ways to differentiate yourself include:

  • Customer Service - Providing excellent customer service can separate your business from others in the same market. Make sure that all employees are trained to provide high-quality service and strive for customer satisfaction.

  • Product Quality - Investing in quality products or services will set you apart from other companies in your industry and make it easier for customers to choose your product over others.

  • Innovation – Staying ahead of the curve with innovative products or services will help you stand out from competitors who have not yet implemented new technologies or features into their offerings.

  • Pricing – Offering competitive prices on products or services can help attract potential customers who are looking for a deal and put pressure on your competitors’ pricing models as well.

  • Branding – Creating a strong brand identity through marketing, advertising, and public relations efforts can help build recognition and loyalty among customers that rivals may not be able to match.

Creating differentiation allows your company to stand out from the competition while filling gaps in the market that might no have been met with consumers. This can also improve the overall brand of your business giving you a more market share.

7. Write a Comprehensive Competitive Analysis Report

Any business owner looking to start or grow their company must first understand the competitive landscape. This is especially true for small businesses and entrepreneurs who may be new to their industry.

A competitive analysis report can help you see the results in writing and visualize the strengths and weaknesses you face with your competitors. There are several key pieces of information to include in your competitive analysis report and should include answering the following questions:

  • Who are your main competitors?

  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?

  • What market share do they have?

  • How are they positioning themselves in the market?

  • What strategies are they using?

  • What are their plans for the future?

Conducting a competitive analysis report is an important part of any business plan. By understanding your competition, you can make informed decisions about how to best position your own company in the market.


Competitive analysis is a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes. Analyzing your competitors gives you a better understanding of the marketplace so you can make adjustments to your own strategies in order to outshine the competition.

By following the tips outlined in this article, you can conduct a comprehensive and effective competitive analysis to use as a reference to gain invaluable insights that will help ensure your business’s success.

LDZ Digital

LDZ Digital provides Florida SEO and digital marketing services, education and consulting for small business owners and entrepreneurs looking for assistance with their digital marketing strategy.

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