How to do Competitor Analysis Well

This article asks how to do Competitor Analysis well. We offer guidance to Competitor analysis. Based on our experience of undertaking hundreds of them. At the end of the exercise, the question we usually get asked is usually the same. “How did you find all that out?”

You are walking down any English high street. You look at the shop fronts. If you take in the retailers’ names, you will struggle to determine where in the country you are. Same old shops, selling the same old stuff. If you find a high street with local shops and unique boutiques and cafes and bars, they tend to stick out. In Pre Covid London it seems there was a competition taking place. Between Costa, Leon, Pret and others. A match to see how many units they can get onto each line of shops.

Differentiation

Looking and being different from all of your competitors will differentiate you. Many companies in your sector. And even professional services firms usually look like each other. The one’s who don’t stick out. Thinking accountants Cooper Parry in the UK immediately spring to mind. There are many reasons for this. They believe their customers like the look and feel; they have been in the industry a very long time. Change and being different is very risky. 

Differentiation can be compelling and provide you with an excellent competitive advantage. However, it’s dangerous to change without knowing what your competition is doing. What they’re planning to do. And what competitors have already tried and failed to do. You are just shooting your cap gun at the moon.

Competitor Analysis isn’t a quick tick box exercise. Allowing you to move onto the more exciting stuff. Such as design, digital marketing, product development and team and client Zoom calls. 

Time and effort needed

When doing Competitor analysis, companies should put in their best effort. And strive to truly understand how their competitors operate. By looking at every angle and putting yourself in your competitor’s shoes. To see how comfortable they are. Do they fit, and what are they made of, the quality of the build, how they see the future and what steps they want to take. 

Competitor Analysis takes time

It takes time to conduct a proper Competitor Analysis and really should be done on an ongoing basis. Doing just a few hours and maybe cramming it into a SWOT analysis template will not cut it. You need to structure your research process with all avenues explored. Collate and sort the data and put in the right place. The right place will reveal itself as you work on it. And there are no right or wrong answers.

Then thoroughly analysed to create more certainty and turn it into Intelligence. Compare what you have found about your competitors with what you are doing. What are they doing differently? How are you similar to each other? What makes them tick? Are they better than you?

What’s the difference?

What are the real differences between you and your competitors? Avoid finding data with confirms what you already know. Because what you already know is probably wrong. Look for tangible differences. And the usual intangible things. Like super customer service and attitude. Can you make these intangible aspects more tangible? Excellent customer service (as is poor) is an often-used company description. But what does it mean? What are they doing to create good/poor service?

When it comes to products and services, most of the differences are fairly obvious. After all, it does not take a genius to read their website product page and then look at yours. Look at what they highlight as their key differentiators. Also, find the things they are avoiding saying and not promoting. Again, how do they compare to you?

It’s not about price (most of the time)

When performing a competitor analysis, it’s imperative not to obsess about the price. Yes, it may be important for a customer, but you can change many more things to stand out and beat your competitors. If you get it right, you will be able to charge a fair price for the work you do.

Look at what your competitors have tried to do and failed. Was it a good idea, but not implemented very well? What can you learn from their failings? Can you improve it? Is the idea something you can do or have they done you a favour and saved you time and money?

How to do Competitor Analysis well

This article asked how to do Competitor Analysis well. We offered guidance to Competitor analysis. Based on our experience of undertaking hundreds of them. The question we usually get asked is usually the same. How did you find it all?

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