Most businesses know their own strategy through and through, and recently, more companies than ever before are investing in competitive intelligence. The real secret to success is combining those two knowledge sources – monitoring your own strategy alongside that of your competitors. This brings us to a concept called competitive benchmarking, which is critical to competitive analysis success. Keep reading to learn how to benchmark your company against your competition for a successful competitive analysis.
What is Competitive Benchmarking?
Let’s start with the basics. Chances are, you have transparency across your organization, so you have insight into what product is working on, which campaigns marketing is launching, and how your revenue is performing. As you conduct a competitive analysis, you’re gathering similar information on your competition. You’re gathering product information, revenue information, marketing campaign information, and more about your competitors.
Now, you need to know how you compare to your competitors. Where do you stand within the market? This is called competitive benchmarking – comparing your company performance against your competition to measure how you stack up. You can then identify gaps, similarities, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Let’s dive into how you can gather your competitive intelligence data and benchmark your own company alongside your competition.
Monitor Your Competitive Landscape
It’s great to know every move your competitors make, if possible, even before they make a move. But we’re not psychics, right? So how are we going to know what our competitors are going to do before they make a move? You need to pick up on smaller signals, or breadcrumbs, to gain insight into what their next major move may be.
In order to best analyze your competitive landscape, you should look for relative changes in investment. It’s common practice that companies will ramp up certain strategies such as content, social media, or campaigns when they have a big announcement coming up. Are they posting a lot of content around a specific product feature? Are they targeting a certain persona more than another? Which positions are they recruiting for? Discovering the answers to these questions, and similar questions are great tactics for gaining competitive insight. These small competitive insights can give you insight into your competitor’s overall strategy. Based on where your competitors are investing, you can make predictions as to where they’re heading next.
In addition to monitoring what your competitors are doing, it’s important to monitor what your competitors’ customers are saying about the solutions they use. There’s a lot we can learn from our competitors’ customers, including what they like and dislike about the product they’re using.
Take note of the positives and negatives highlighted in the customer feedback. This information can be compared to what your customers are saying about your own company. Where are you struggling where your competitors are excelling? You can use the positive feedback from your competitors’ customers to learn, and you can use the negative reviews to better align yourself with the needs of your market. This information is valuable for all teams within your company. Not only is it beneficial to product managers, because they can develop your product accordingly, but it’s beneficial for account executives and marketers alike.
Leveraging third-party reviews is a great way to gain insight into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. This piece of your analysis can help you measure where you need to improve and where you lead the charge within your industry.
Break Into Untapped Opportunities
Now that you’ve monitored your competitive landscape and gathered competitive insights, you need to insert your own company into the analysis. Measure your company performance in the same way you measure your competition. That way, you can see where you crush the competition, and identify where there is room for you to break into untapped opportunities. If your competitor is excelling in a specific area, it may be harder to knock them out of their top spot right away. However, filling the gaps in the market will help you gain the competitive edge you’re looking for.
The great part about tracking yourself alongside your competitors is that you can identify where gaps are in the market. If you can find the gaps within your market, you can break into that space and serve an unmet need. This also gives you the opportunity to lead the charge in new areas within your market. This is a great way to grab the leads and opportunities that your competitors are missing out on. You’re now offering your target audience something of value that they’re unable to get from your competitors, giving you a unique competitive advantage.
Make Sure Your Competitive Analysis is Actionable
Conducting competitive intelligence research is time-consuming, especially when you’re also putting together a formal competitive analysis. To get the most out of your efforts, you want to ensure that you’re turning insights into action.
The important thing to remember about competitive intelligence is that it’s not only about what your competitors are doing; it’s about how you compare to your competitors, and how you can turn your insights into action to best serve your market. The key to a successful competitive analysis is benchmarking yourself alongside your competitors, and identifying the gaps in your market to showcase your solution and position yourself as a market leader.
Originally published April 4, 2018. Updated January 12, 2021.
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