Doing a competitive analysis should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Competitive analyses can give you important intelligence about the marketplace, products and services, and how you can differentiate yourself.
Before I get into the “how to” part of this blog post, please allow me to first share my overall philosophy on competitors. I believe the world needs you – and your competitors. Your competitors are here to fill their life’s purpose – just like you – and if a customer prefers to work with your competitor, that’s awesome. I believe that people need to align with who makes their heart sing, and sometimes, you are not going to be that person.
Why do a competitive analysis?
I firmly believe, though, that you need to be aware of your competitors because you can learn from them. Additionally, by studying your competitors, it can show you gaps in the marketplace. That’s how I believe a competitive analysis should work.
In the corporate world, competitive analyses are multi-page reports with lots of components. I don’t think any of you need something so extensive. However, if you really want to do an extensive competitive analysis, I found an excellent resource you can use: http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/competitor-analysis-template/
What you should focus on
Here’s what I believe you need to focus on: The “Marketing Profile” of your competitors. Ask yourself who their ideal clients are, how much market share do they have and what are they implementing from a marketing perspective? Some of these will be guesses, and that’s okay. Revisit your competitive analysis regularly, especially as you learn more info.
Also, observe your competition’s marketing implementation. What seems to be working well for them? What does not work well for them? Apply these lessons to your own marketing.
Finally, see if there are any gaps in the marketplace. For example, let’s say you are a travel agent who is an expert in Disney World. Your competitive analysis may show you something like this:
- Travel Company A: Experts in Disney travel for newborns and infants
- Travel Company B: Experts in Disney travel for kids with autism
- Travel Company C: Experts in Disney travel for people with disabilities
The “gaps” in the marketplace would be, then, Disney experts for parents with teenagers, or Disney experts for traveling seniors. Can you fill any of these gaps? If so, you have market share waiting to be tapped by you.
Competitive analysis can take some time, but will provide you with valuable feedback on your market place, your ideal clients and how to best implement your marketing. Your analysis does not have to be a formal report. I recommend, instead, following your competitors on social media and subscribing to their newsletters as a way to continuously gather intelligence about them. (Trust me, they are doing the same to you!). If you use your competitive analysis to help you meet the needs of your ideal clients, your business will thrive. Remember, though, don’t worry too much about your competitors stealing business or taking market share. There are plenty of clients for everyone.
Photo courtesy of Walter
I invite you to check out the Celestial Marketing Academy. It’s specifically designed for purpose-driven entrepreneurs (like you!) who want to become the Director of Marketing for their businesses. Through monthly curriculum and support, you will learn how to market your gifts and passion with the world. Click here to learn more about the Celestial Marketing Academy.