Case Study on Unleashing the Power of Competitor Analysis by Gaining the Strategic Edge

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Case Study on Unleashing the Power of Competitor Analysis by Gaining the Strategic Edge

There’s an abundance of too much historical competitor data and assumptions in business, and this, combined with little insight into their competitors’ future actions, is dangerous. The power of competitor analysis is to acquire valuable insights to enhance competitive advantage. To sharpen your competitor analysis, try focusing on these three actions:

  1. Outwitting your competitors
  2. Outmanoeuvring them
  3. Outperforming them

Article Summary

  • The danger of relying on historical data and assumptions in competitor analysis
  • Key actions for sharpening competitor analysis: outwitting, outmanoeuvring, and outperforming competitors
  • Highlighting the importance of insight and understanding in gaining a competitive advantage
  • Competitor analysis involves crafting insights to strategically outwit, outmanoeuvre, and outperform rivals.

What Was The Situation?

Here is a case study where we were asked to conduct a competitor analysis on a rival’s main product line. Our client had around 25% of the market, and their competitor enjoyed a 70% share. Our client was worried that their key competitor intended to intensify their efforts. These worries were based on comments made by their competitor’s board. And rumours were flying around their sales teams. They were spooked after hearing that significant marketing and aggressive sales initiatives were planned.

What We Did

Our competitor analysis activities started by analysing the client’s own strategy documents. We set out to identify the critical assumptions made about its competitors. In the past, the competitor had dominated the product market. Mainly through new product launches, extensive marketing programs, and an aggressive sales force. Three critical assumptions were isolated:

  1. The product group under scrutiny held central importance in the competitor’s product portfolio.
  2. Their past success in introducing new products indicated a revitalisation of their interest
  3. The competitor’s strategic moves were unlikely to be hindered by financial constraints.

These three assumptions shaped the competitor analysis. We integrated their prior competitor studies and conducted further analysis. We aimed to address three key questions:

  1. Where does this product line fit within their competitor’s overall product portfolio?
  2. What level of commitment does the competitor have toward this product line?
  3. How may the competitor’s financial state change over the next one to three years?

What They Got

The breakthrough in understanding came to light once the assessment was completed. We discovered they were tracking back on its commitment to this product line. The noise from the sales team resulted in them losing business to their competitor. Then came the associated panic that they would buy the market. In reality, it was a sign of a final push by their sales to capture some business before their changed strategy. And of course, get in some extra sales bonus. 

Our client based its strategy on the understanding that the competitor would defend its market position. Indeed, if possible, they would protect and extend their position. This is a common occurrence with industry experience clouding actual reality. 

New insights revealed that their competitor’s free cash flow significantly declined over the past 24 months, and projections indicated a continued decline in the next twelve months. It was also clear that projections provided by industry consultants had influenced our client, and they, too, had been blinded by experience and know-how. 

The Result

A crucial aspect of their new understanding was the realisation that the competitor was diverting their attention from the product. Armed with these fresh insights, our client leveraged their newfound knowledge to: 

  • Outwit
  • Outmanoeuvre
  • Outperform their competitors

Outwitting competitors by gaining insights faster 

‘Outwitting implies outsmarting or outthinking rivals by understanding changes in the competitive marketplace. Then grasping their potential market implications. The initial focus should be on detecting change and projecting its impact.

Our client outwitted their competitor and others by identifying the emerging shift in market strategy. Specifically, their retreat from their historical commitment to this product line. Our client anticipates their competitor’s likely next moves. And allowing us to monitor the environment and put “red flags” on signals of change like:

  • Reassigning salesforce members to other products
  • Indications of changes to the dynamics of the marketplace
  • Reports of unimpressed customers
  • Reduced marketing spend
  • Customers seeking alternative suppliers

They detected these signals before they became apparent to anyone else, so they gained a head start in strategising their response, potentially enabling them to outmanoeuvre their competition.

Outmanoeuvring competitors through preemptive action

Outmanoeuvring by leveraging insights to preempt or force competitors to change course.

Our client swiftly executed tactics to outmanoeuvre their key competitor. They accelerated the launch of a modification to their top product. Preventing their competitor from claiming scientific superiority in the market. They also designed a comprehensive communications program around the launch. Signalling their heightened commitment to the product line to rivals and customers. They developed a dedicated sales program offering incentives to key accounts and channels. The ones traditionally associated with their competitor. A move intended to entice them to switch to our clients should their key competitor display any wavering commitment to the product line.

Outperforming competitors based on new insights 

It involves achieving superior outcomes and results based on the acquired insights. Not merely focusing on winners and losers.

They developed a strategy around identifying competitors and positioning themselves for success in the future marketplace. And understanding their planned approaches before results become apparent in the competitive landscape. Our client diligently tracked monthly sales and estimated costs for all rivals. Initially, their margins and profits declined slightly due to product extension launch marketing, sales, and communication costs. Sales picked up later when their competitor announced their reduced commitment. Another related topic is how to outperform competitors for sustainable success.

Most notably, our client was the only competitor prepared to challenge its main competitor at the time of their announcement. Their success in taking over competitor channels and key accounts even surprised their marketing team. Over two years, our client achieved a roughly 40% global market share, doubling their previous position.

An important lesson in this case study is that competitor analysis entails more than obtaining competitor data and revolves around crafting competitor insights. New understandings can be utilised to outwit, outmanoeuvre, and outperform rivals.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the case study shows the power of effective competitor analysis. It highlights the dangers of relying on historical data and assumptions. And, of course, the importance of acquiring new and valuable insights. To sharpen competitor analysis, the focus should be on outwitting, outmanoeuvring, and outperforming competitors.

Armed with fresh insights, our clients outwitted, outmanoeuvred, and outperformed their competitors. Understand the power of competitor analysis.

Outwitting involved quickly understanding changes in the competitive marketplace and projecting their impact. By detecting change signals before others, they gained a head start in strategising their response. Outmanoeuvring competitors was achieved through preemptive action, and outperforming competitors relied on achieving superior outcomes based on acquired insights.

Competitor analysis goes beyond acquiring data and crafting competitor insights, and it illustrates the transformative potential of these insights in outwitting and outmanoeuvring. And ultimately outperforming rivals. You can enhance your competitive advantage by embracing a dynamic and insightful approach.

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