Competitor mapping is a relatively old concept in the field of business and marketing. The aim is to better understand the competitive landscape so your brand can grow while retaining a clear edge over the competition or to find opportunities to surpass them. It is a method of strategic planning that involves seizing of opportunities immediately as they arise and to detect and avoid risks.
Competitor mapping helps company understand the advantage another has over them, a comprehensive and well thought out analysis of your position in the market place and your competition will aid in exposing not only your strengths and weaknesses but also those of the competition. This analysis will help you understand those who are your direct competitors, your indirect competitors, and even your future competitors. Thus enabling you to carry out a comprehensive SWOT analysis so brands can develop a counter-strategy which to respond to the competition.
The steps involved in conducting a proper analysis are below:
1.0 Selection of Competition
1.1 Direct Competitors
1.2 Indirect Competitors
1.3 Future Competitors
2.0 SWOT Analysis
It would be wise to start with your analysis with a fewer number of competitors, at most 5. The competitors should be those that you stand a chance of overtaking with the right steps in place. This is similar to setting short term goals. Your short term goals need to be achievable in the short term and should not be excessively difficult. Although you would eventually face tougher competitors as you climb higher, it would be better to start small. There are three different types of competitors.
Direct competitors are the one who offer products and services very similar to yours.
Indirect competitors are the one who offer products and services that may not necessarily be similar to yours, but can serve as a relief in the absence of yours.
The future competitors are the one who could expand their current products or services to compete with yours.
The knowledge of these competitors is vital, but a lot of people tend to neglect them. So when creating your competitor list, do not make the same mistake. For each category of competitors, get the top five and get all the available information (Their product, specifics of their products, market share, how long they have been in the market, etc.).
After selecting an ideal competitor, is time for you to pick areas of improvement. Find out what the competition is doing better than you and figure out a way to counter this particular advantage that they have over you.
This is a very essential step because it could be your customers deciding factor. If company X have more loyal customers than you, you could figure out why and make the necessary changes. With time, you will notice the gap caused by the now non-existent advantage, closing up.
But it is also important as a CEO or VP not to be discouraged by the gap between you and your competitor during this step. It is a strategic planning session to make your own business better, not damage that of the competition. With this ideology guiding you, it would be easier to make reasonable progress, and you might even end up with a system that is exclusively yours. For more on how to a SWOT analysis, check out this video.
You cannot be entirely bad to have survived as long as you have in the industry, so capitalize on your strengths. Make sure you are making use of your strengths in every way possible.
Similar to what was mentioned earlier, examine your company using the competitors as a reference. Find out the edge they possess over you. Can you match or even exceed it?
During the change from cost-oriented sales to more personalized sales, Dollar Shave Club took a bold step and now sell all men shaving materials. They seized the opportunity when it came. The more chaotic the situation the more opportunities abound for those discreet enough to seize these opportunities.
These are similar to weaknesses, but they are not as a result of your deficiency. Threats are possible scenarios which could cause inconvenience in the future.
To carry out a good SWOT analysis while accounting for all your strengths and weaknesses, you could consider the following factors:
The list is not limited to the above factors. Include everything you can think of, the more the better.
The last step is to carry out a rating system or result compilation based on the analysis of factors mentioned earlier. You could score each factor with 10 as the perfect mark or 1 as the least. Do not be biased while doing this; do not underestimate or overestimate either yourself or the competition.
Competitor mapping could and should affect every part of your business so make use of the opportunities available to you. Make sure your products or services are the best in your location or at least be the best at something. Review and revise consistently to keep your competition in check.