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What is competitive analysis?

Conducted with the intent of identifying opportunities and threats and taking action accordingly, competitive analysis is the process of critically assessing your company (or business unit) in relation to one or more competitors.

Competitive analysis in 5 steps

Although competitive analysis can entail very different things from one organization to the next, we tend to think of it as a 5-step endeavor. Let's briefly walk through each step and explore some of the questions you need to ask yourself along the way.

1. Determine your goal & success metrics

Why are you engaging in competitive analysis in the first place? What benefits do you and your stakeholder(s) stand to reap? What's at stake? How might you measure the success of your efforts?

2. Collect data

Given what you're trying to accomplish, which competitors are most relevant? What do you need to know about each of them?

3. Draw conclusions & establish the so what

Given the data you've collected, what can you conclude with respect to your competitors? Why does this matter?

4. Deliver insights to your stakeholder(s)

Given what you've concluded, who needs to be pulled into the conversation? How can you get their attention and motivate them to take action? How can you empower them?

5. Reflect, gather feedback, & iterate accordingly

Given what you've accomplished (or not accomplished), what do you think you did right? Where did you go wrong? How might you improve the next time around?

Guide to CI

Featured Resource: Guide to Competitive Intelligence

Recently updated for 2021, this is the definitive guide to capturing, analyzing, and activating information related to your competition. 

Download your free copy here.