1) Competitive Analysis

Give a complete and thorough overview of the competitive market. Cover not only the directly competing companies you face (those who offer a very similar product with similar attributes), but also other product variations you may be competing with. For example, if you’re selling herbal teas, are you also competing with regular teas? Instant teas? Canned teas? The drink market in general? Review these types of competitors as well as your direct competitors.

A competitive grid helps bring focus and clarity to your decision making via the following:

• Assists your team in boiling down a lot of competitive fact gathering so the team can evaluate the benefits offered by each competitor’s product/service against benefits sought by the target customer. Benefits can be include all of the four P’s such as product or service benefits, place benefits (like convenience), packaging benefits, price benefits, etc.

• Assists your team’s search for a compelling Value Proposition/USP by determining whether there is/are a benefit(s) sought by their target customer that is not being addressed by any competitors. (For example, a water proof Walkman/iPod for surfers.)

• Helps your team evaluate whether a decision not to deliver a benefit will harm – or enhance – the team’s ability to steal customers from the competition. (For example, a lip plumper that does not contain natural bee’s wax because products with bee’s wax melt in the sun; their customer would rather trade an organic feature for practicality.)
What to address in your competitor analysis
A. Name & Summary of each competitor’s products – This summary should also include their location, quality, advertising, staff, distribution methods, promotional strategies, customer service, etc.
B. Competitors’ strengths and weaknesses – It’s important to see your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses from your customer’s viewpoint, not yours. List their strengths and weaknesses. State how you will capitalize on their weaknesses and meet the challenges represented by their strengths.
C. Create a Competitive Grid for the TOP 4 Competitors
Ideas for gathering competitive information
• Internet
• Personal visits – If possible, visit your competitors’ locations. Observe how employees interact with customers. What do their premises look like? How are their products displayed? Priced?
• Talk to customers – Your sales staff is in regular contact with customers and prospects. Your competition is also in contact with these people. Learn what your customers and prospects are saying about your competitors–and about you, too!
• Competitors’ ads – Analyze competitors’ ads to gain information about their target audience, market position, product features and benefits, prices, etc.
• Speeches or presentations – Where would you get these, YouTube and company web sites
• Written sources:
o General business publications
o Marketing and advertising publications
o Local newspapers and business journals
o Industry and trade association publications
o Industry research and surveys
o Computer databases (available at many public libraries)
o Annual reports
EXAMPLE OF COMPETITIVE GRID FORMATTING
Benefits Sought by Marketing Team’s Target Customer

Competitor #1

Competitor #2

Competitor #3

Competitor #4
Marketing Team’s Product/Service
Origins Cane & Justin Olay Claritins
Benefit xx (offered by all competitors – is this a cost-of-entry expectation, e.g., Marketing Team must offer to be considered ?)
Feature that delivers this benefit
Benefit yy (offered by only one competitor – is competitor targeting a niche customer?)
Feature that delivers this benefit
Benefit zz
Feature that delivers this benefit
Benefit mm (will the absence of this benefit harm the Marketing Team?)
Feature that delivers this benefit
Benefit nn X (offered by no other competitor – is this a possible Value Proposition/USP?)
Feature that delivers this benefit