The Art of Competitor Analysis

The Art of Competitor Analysis

The Art of Competitor Analysis

By shifting our focus outward, we’re able to gain valuable information on our competitors and activate our unique selling point. Here’s how we approach competitor analysis at Marbury…

March 31, 2023

Words by Marbury Team

Photo by Tatjana Zlatkovic

We often encourage others to turn inwards, towards their North Star, for clarity and direction in their business. While this is undoubtedly important, we must also acknowledge the occasional benefit of looking outward for contextual awareness. This is where the art of competitor analysis becomes essential.

Competitor analysis is not about emulating what has made others successful, but instead identifying what’s already been done and pinpointing the opportunities for you to own a different niche and leverage your story. While the word “competition” can feel alienating or divisive at first glance, it serves a healthy purpose. We like to soften the negative connotation by thinking of your competitors as your greatest teachers, or even collaborators. By observing how they’ve navigated the market, you can glean valuable insights into what may (or may not) work for your own business. It is akin to admiring a close friend or respectable colleague.

We like to soften the negative connotation by thinking of your competitors as your greatest teachers, or even collaborators.

 

To start, identify your direct competitors. These are businesses that offer the same product or service as you. You should also look at indirect competitors, which are businesses that offer a similar product or service that could be used as a substitute for what you offer. For example, a coffee shop may consider other coffee shops as direct competitors, but a nearby juice bar could be considered an indirect competitor as they offer a different product but could still attract the same customer base.

Once you have identified your competitors, it’s time to gather information. Start by analyzing their website, social media presence, and other marketing materials. Look at their tagline or primary message, what products and services they offer, their target audience, and their price points. You should also pay attention to their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis). 

When looking at your competition, you want to consider the following:

  1. Where are they located?
  2. What is their tagline or primary message?
  3. What products and services are they offering?
  4. What kind of customer avatar are they targeting?
  5. What is the price point they’re selling at?
  6. What do they do really well?
  7. What do they not do so well?
  8. Where are some opportunities they can seize?
  9. What threats do they face?
  10. What are their points of differentiation among other brands in your industry?

 

By identifying your competitors’ qualities, you’re able to determine a pathway for differentiation and uncover your unique selling points. No matter how saturated, there is a distinct gap in your industry that only you can fill. Analyzing your competitive landscape gives you a vantage point to witness that gap. 

Instead of using competitor information to fuel comparison or deter you from your vision, use it as inspiration to lean further into your existing narrative. You don’t have to be radically different from your competition, you just need to be different enough to stand out. This contrast can happen through subtle, thoughtful changes that reflect your core values. The result should feel original without appearing forced. 

While potentially uncomfortable or overwhelming at first, competitor analysis is an essential part of building a successful brand. By understanding your competition, you can identify opportunities to differentiate yourself, own a different niche, and leverage your unique story. Remember, the goal is not to copy your competition, but to find a distinct way to add value to your people. Embrace the concept of competition, and you’ll be well on your way to building a successful and sustainable business.

Download our free Brand Discovery Guide, designed to help you unearth your brand’s values and build a strong foundation for your vision to thrive.

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