5 Famous Business Competitor Case Studies Of All Time
Look at any good or famous business competitor case study examples, and one thing immediately becomes clear:
Done well, this approach to competitive analysis can help you identify your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and your own, all while determining those crucial gaps in the market that represent a golden opportunity for your brand.
However, doing not so well and a competitor case study can soon balloon into an overwhelming waste of time which may provide you with a tonne of data on your competition yet offers no real insight on how to use that data to gain a competitive advantage.
To help ensure yours is done well, I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to doing competitive analysis the right way, outlining not only what to look for when analyzing your competition but how to take what you find and put it to work for your business.
What is a Business Competitor Case Study and Why Do You Need One?
Typically, when we think of a business case study, we think of the traditional “Here’s how a business came with a solution to a particular problem.”
For example, there’s a famous case study focusing on the multi-national coffee supply chain Starbucks . After “hitting a wall” in their sales and revenue, the brand found a solution by closing down a significant number of their stores and “reinvigorating” their branding, essentially focussing on quality over quantity.
Other businesses can learn from the Starbucks case study and those like them and, where appropriate, apply what worked to their own brand.
A business competitor case study operates similarly, albeit with some notable differences. In this case, the problem doesn’t belong to another business but your own.
That problem or challenge could be:
- How do we increase our revenues and/or revenue streams?
- How do we re-engage with lapsed/former customers?
- How do we increase our ROI in social media or digital marketing?
- How do we increase our market share?
Or it could be any number of other challenges.
Whatever the case may be, carrying out this kind of competitive analysis helps you find the solution by looking at your main competition. If growing your market share is your main priority, identifying a weakness that your competitor has can help you develop new ideas on how you can offer customers something they’re simply not getting from that competitor.
If your digital marketing is leaving a lot to be desired, surveying the landscape to see where you’re falling behind can help you pinpoint precisely where you’re going wrong.
What’s more, making effective use of this competitive intelligence can help you to identify changes in both your audience and the industry as a whole, highlighting trends you can capitalize on, new audiences you could potentially target, or simply new ways to reach and engage with your existing target audience.
5 Famous Business Competitor Case Study Examples
1. the army crew team.
The Army Crew Team is an all-time classic business competitor case study that has a lot to teach us about how we work as a team. The coach of West Point’s varsity Army Crew team took his eight top individual rowers and placed them together in one boat. In a second boat, he placed his eight second-tier rowers.
The team in the second boat consistently beat the team in the first boat, despite the first boat consisting of better performing individual rowers. The case study shows that, collectively, a team can be more than the sum of its individual parts and that there’s more to getting great work out of a team than simply gathering together your star performers.
For businesses looking at the best ways to get the most out of their teams, this is an essential case study to look at.
See also: Twitter Competitors Analysis
2. Malden Mills
Two weeks before Christmas 1995, the Malden Mills factory burned to the ground.
Employees feared and assumed that they’d be unemployed until the factory was rebuilt, but the company’s CEO, Aaron Feuerstein, invested $25 million of company money to ensure those employees would still have a wage and benefits while the factory was rebuilt.
In one regard, this worked out well. When the factory reopened, the employees who had been well taken care of worked harder than ever. Productivity was at an all-time high and business boomed. In another regard, the cost of paying for the factory rebuild as well as taking care of employees landed Malden Mills in bankruptcy court three times.
This famous case study is used time and time again to present an argument for the pros and cons of philanthropy and making difficult decisions regarding employee satisfaction.
3. Apple Inc.
For the longest time, Apple was known as “Apple Computers” a name that perfectly summed up their focus on the personal computer market. In 2007, however, they dropped the “computers” part and simply became “Apple Inc.” This was more than just a name change for the company, it was part of an entire rebranding a shift in focus from personal computers to iPods, iPhones, iPads, and the like.
It was a strategy that paid off for them. Apple was already a well-known company beforehand, but after their “rebirth” in 2007, they truly became not only a household name but one of the most successful and profitable businesses of all time.
This famous case study is used a lot to demonstrate the benefits of taking the company in an entirely different direction rather than trying to compete in an already overcrowded market.
The ‘ Cadbury Ethical Dilema ‘ is a popular case study that is frequently presented to MBA students taking part in business case study competitions. Chocolate manufacturers Cadbury had prided themselves on their strong values and fair ethical practices. So it came as a huge blow to the brand when it was discovered that child labor was being used to produce cocoa on Côte d’Ivoire cocoa farms.
The House of Representatives passed legislation in the US which meant that companies who could prove their chocolate was produced without forced labor could print “slave-labor free” labels on their chocolate.
Naturally, this would paint companies who couldn’t prove that in a bad light, so the industry as a whole asked for time to essentially clean up its act. When the agreed deadline for doing so came to an end, Cadbury were left with a dilemma – did they continue to stall for time or did they find another way to ensure ethical management of their supply chain?
This case study remains famous for pointing out the difficulties in managing ethical practices and is well worth looking at for considering the impact that the practices of others in your supply chain can have on your business.
5. Coffee 2016
Another well-known case study that should be familiar to anyone who ever competed in a business case study competition in the last few years. Student teams were asked to come up with ideas for improving the returns generated by everyone involved in the production and consumption of coffee from the grower right through to the consumer.
The case was famous as it has so much to teach businesses and business students alike about marketing practices and supply chain logistics.
How to Create a Business Competitor Case Study
So, that takes care of the what and the why, but what about the how? Below, you’ll find a simple nine-step process to help you get the ball rolling with your own competitor analysis.
1. Determine Which Products/Services to Evaluate
If your business offers more than one product or service, you may find that analyzing your competitors becomes much less of a headache when you focus on just one of them or at least one type. For example, if you make sports clothing, you may choose to focus on your competition in the running gear market or concentrate on developing a strategy to increase revenues from your line of sports shoes.
If you’re a digital marketing agency, you might want to narrow down your competitive research to just Search Engine Optimization or how you can improve the service you offer to a web design client.
That’s not to say that you can’t research more than one aspect of your business, but doing so may mean that you end up producing data that isn’t always relevant and doesn’t help you to make the kind of strategic decisions you really need to make.
2. Determining Your Competitors for a Business Competitor Case Study
On the whole, your business is likely to have three types of competitors.
A direct competitor is any business that sells the same product or service in the same category to meet the same need for the same audience. Your biggest competitor, the one people most closely compare your business to, is more than likely going to fall in this category, as are any others that are actively competing for your share of the market.
If you sell sports shoes to female marathon runners, another company that sells sports shoes to female marathon runners would be your direct competitor. If you run a local car washing service and another business three blocks over also offer a local car washing service, they’re in direct competition with you.
An indirect competitor is a business that sells a different product or service to meet the same need of the same audience. A common example is fast food restaurants.
McDonald’s and Burger King both sell fast food burgers (products) to hungry people (audience) so that those people can fulfill that hunger (need). If I’m hungry and want the convenience of fast food and the delicious taste of a burger, I could spend my money at either restaurant, which makes them direct competitors.
However, if I’m just hungry and want something convenient, whether it’s a burger or not, I might choose to go to McDonald’s or head next door to Pizza Hut or Subway. All three brands are in the same category (fast food), all three brands meet my need for a convenient way to satisfy hunger, but all three do so with different types of products, making them indirect competitors.
A replacement competitor meets the same needs for the same audience but using different products or services in a different category. For example, I could choose to go to McDonald’s to fill my hunger, but I might also choose to go to Target and buy ingredients to make a homemade dinner.
To go back to the car wash example I used earlier – If you run a local car wash and the auto repair shop next door sells car cleaning supplies, that would make them a replacement competition. Your customer could choose to substitute using your service to buy some cleaning supplies and do the job himself.
Potential and Future Competitors
When determining your competition, it’s worth noting that just because a business isn’t currently in your market segment doesn’t mean they won’t eventually. This is why it’s worth noting your potential and future competitors too.
Potential competitors are those who may sell the same products, even with the same category but haven’t yet entered your market. For example, a company that operates exclusively in the next town, city, or state over to you may not be a direct competitor yet, but they have the potential to be if they chose to move into your town/city/state.
Likewise, if you run a limousine hire service focusing exclusively on corporate clients and another company across town focuses exclusively on limousine hire for weddings, they too have the potential to be a competitor. A future competitor is much more likely to become direct competitors, such as an expanding national chain.
To really get the most value out of your eventual competitive analysis report, it pays to consider all of these types of clients and their impact on your business.
How to Find Your Competitors for a Competitive Analysis
There are some competitors that you don’t have to look very hard to find. You know they’re there. They are the businesses and brand names that are hard to ignore, the ones everyone compares you to do.
Still, don’t just limit your research there.
Head to Google.
Search for the kind of keywords you’d expect people to use for your business.
Who else comes up beside you?
Search for your business name.
What are other businesses paying for Google ads around your business?
What about social media? Who are people talking about?
You can also use tools such as the Audience Overlap tool provided by Alexa , which helps you to not only track down your competition but develop and deliver on your entire competitive intelligence project. Don’t discount offline methods either. Magazines, trade publications, and even asking your target audience directly via focus groups, surveys, and so on can all prove helpful.
3. Start Your Research
Although Google can be a very powerful tool for finding out about your competitors, don’t just limit yourself to a quick search or browse their website. Yes, that’s important, especially if you’re both predominantly online brands. If your competitors have a physical presence, it’s important to check that out too.
You may want to treat this the same way you would a typical market research project and get a group of people to experience your competitor’s business, their customer service, sales experience, products, and so on. That way, you get a much wider range of opinions and can look for trends and common themes that can influence the strategic decisions you need to make to gain a competitive advantage.
4. Analyze Your Findings
With the research done, it’s time to collate what you’ve found into your competitive analysis report. This may take the form of graphs, charts, written insights, anything that can help you present a compelling business case as to why your brand needs to be made.
5. Identify Action Points
Speaking of which, the point of analyzing your competition isn’t to pay attention to how many social media followers they have or how they compare to you in terms of brand recognition; it’s to provide you with actionable steps that you can take to achieve your business goals.
So with that in mind, figure out what you’re actually going to do due to your competitor research. Will you be rethinking your price points? Revamping your customer service? Starting again with a completely different digital marketing strategy?
6. Take a Snapshot of Your Business Pre-Changes
Before you implement those steps, be sure to look at how your business is currently performing.
Consider your main KPIs and any data relating to how you’re currently doing. After all, it’s going to make it much easier to determine if the steps you’ve taken have been effective when you’ve got some real, measurable statistics to play with.
7. Implement the actions
This next step may sound simple, but it’s where the real work comes in. Whatever actionable steps you decide to take, whether it’s coming up with a brand new social media plan, establishing yourself as a market leader, or simply ensuring that every client receives first-class customer service, now’s the time to make that happen.
8. Measure the Results
When you’ve made your changes, measure your results.
Compare where you are now to where you were when you took that snapshot in step six.
9. Repeat as necessary
Last but not least, it’s important not to fall into the habit of thinking that competitive analysis is a one-and-done affair.
If there’s one universal truth about the business landscape, it’s that things change constantly. New trends emerge, new customers arrive on the scene, once loyal customers become former customers. As such, it’s important to analyze your competition as a regular component of your overall competitive strategy.
What to Include in a Business Competitor Case Study
You’ve now got a complete strategy to put your competitive analysis report together, but what exactly should you include in that report, and what aspects of your competitor’s business should you research?
The following are essential aspects that will help you to put together the most effective competitor case study.
Starting with the basics, look at your customers’ product or service, which competes with yours, and note all of its features. For the best results, do this for each competitor and add your findings to a spreadsheet. This will make it easy to compare products and see what you’re missing.
It may even show you what your competitors are missing, highlighting a hidden advantage that you may not have previously capitalized on.
2. Market Share
Determining their market share will help you identify who your main competitor is and who you and who you may need to focus your attention on.
3. Price points
Pay attention to what the competition charges and consider what insights you can gain about your own pricing.
4. Marketing types
Your competition’s SEO marketing strategy, where they invest their ad spend, the kind of social media marketing tools they use are all important.
What keywords are they using to draw traffic?
How do your competitor’s websites compare to yours?
What are their PPC campaigns like?
All of these questions will help you determine their strengths and weaknesses from a digital standpoint.
Don’t forget about other forms of media, either.
Do they advertise in print publications? If so, which ones?
What about TV, radio, and other advertising platforms?
5. Online popularity
How do they fare in terms of social media engagement and website traffic? How does that compare to your own online presence?
Here, you’re looking more at quantifiable numbers. Likes, follows, mentions, page views, etc., should all be taken into consideration. They may not be the most important factor for some aspects of your business, but if you’re looking to up the game with your marketing and communication strategy or your SEO strategy, these numbers are worth considering.
6. Public perception and reputation
Here, we’re focusing on quality over quantity. One company may have more social media mentions than you, but if all those mentions are negative, it’s a different story. Social listening tools can be a big help in discovering what people are saying about your competitor’s brand online and can prove to be a valuable way to discover the perception of your competitors from a client perspective.
Away from social media, you might also want to consider news releases, blogs, and news articles as a means of discovering what kind of reputation your competitors have in the wider media.
7. Search Engine Optimization
An SEO marketing strategy is vital for just about any business in the digital age, but how do the strategies of competing businesses compare to yours, and what can that teach you. Here’s where keyword research and looking at their inbound marketing strategy, their approach to content marketing, and technical SEO aspects will all be important.
What makes other businesses in your market unique? What do they promote as being their reason for standing out from the crowd? Along with any sales literature, you might want to look at their mission and values statements and the kind of language they use in social media bios to get a good idea of their USPs.
9. Strengths and Weaknesses
Any good business competitor case study will feature a list of competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and insight into what opportunities this presents for your business.
Just as you might do a SWOT analysis for your business, a similar approach may help you analyze what other brands do well, how that influences the things you need to improve on, and what they don’t do so well, and how you do can capitalize on that.
In this regard, when we talk about geography, we’re not just talking about the town, city, or region your competitors operate in. Although that’s important, it’s just as important to note whether they have physical bricks-and-mortar venues in those towns or whether they’re a strictly eCommerce or digital-only operation.
What are the Advantages of Conducting a Competitor Analysis?
Identify your own weak spots
Competitor analysis doesn’t just identify your competitors’ weaknesses and gaps in the market. It may also highlight gaps in any areas for improvement in your own company. By comparing your brand to others, you get a different perspective than you’d get from standard SWOT analysis, and this can pay dividends when it comes to driving your company forward.
Improve your marketing and SEO efforts
Competitive strategy analysis isn’t just about products, services, and customers. It can also identify the SEO techniques used by competitors and come up with appropriate keywords to help you improve your organic search results.
Define your Benchmarks and Fine-Tune Your KPIs
Input your findings into a competitive analysis template, and it will soon become apparent what areas your business needs to be focusing on. This can prove invaluable when it comes time to determine your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and decide what -and how- it measures.
Identify gaps in your talent pool
A competitor case study really influences every aspect of your business beyond the direct products or services you sell. Your HR team can use the information to help identify gaps in your talent pool. If there’s a newly emerging market trend that you lack the talent to capitalize upon, your team can use this information to help with the recruitment needed to fill that gap.
What are the Disadvantages of Competitive Analysis?
Too much data, not enough analysis.
It’s easy to get so overwhelmed with the sheer amount of data you can unearth on your competitors that you forget that it’s the analysis of that data that really makes all the difference. It’s important to think about what meaningful conclusions you can draw and what actionable steps you can take as a result.
The impact is lessened if not kept up to date
The landscape of business is constantly changing. It’s not enough to assess the competition when you first start out and then never update it. Industries change, new trends emerge, new competitors arrive on the scene, all of which demand that market research on your competitors remains a key part of your competitive strategy.
Benchmarking performance based on competitors is not always the solution
Comparing your own performance against your competitors may not work so well if your competitors do things wrong or badly. Sure, it’s great to be an industry leader, but if the overall performance of that industry lacks compared to what the market actually demands, you may need to come up with a brand new strategy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Business Competitor Case Study
Question: what is a business case study competition.
Answer: A business case study competition is an event in which student teams compete to develop the best solution to a particular business case study. Though such events aren’t always exclusively for MBA students, most of them are as case study competitions can be a great way to inspire creative thinking and develop skills.
Question: How often should I do a competitive analysis?
Answer: Ideally, competitive analysis should be performed monthly, but if that seems like overkill for your industry, commit to at least once per quarter.
Question: What should be included in a competitive analysis?
Answer: Every competitive analysis report will be different depending on the nature of your business and your industry. However, as a general rule, it should identify who your competitors are, your competitor’s weaknesses, strengths, and overall strategies. Above all, it should provide insight into how you use their strengths and weaknesses to your advantage, whether that’s making improvements where you’re lacking or highlighting to customers what your brand does better than a rival’s.
The Final Word on Creating a Business Competitor Case Study
Whether you call it competitive intelligence gathering, competitive analysis reporting, or compiling a business competitor case study, there are three key points that I want you to take away from this guide:
- Competitive analysis is about identifying your own strengths and weaknesses as much if not more than your competitors.
- All the research and data in the world is unhelpful if it doesn’t provide you with insights into what you’re doing right and what you could be doing better.
- This isn’t a one-and-done project. Analyzing the competition is something you should be doing regularly to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of your industry.
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How to Do a Competitive Analysis | Case Study Included
In order to be a leader in your industry, you need to know how to perform a competitive analysis. A competitor analysis is more than a simple SWOT analysis where you find the strength and weaknesses of your market segment. Evaluating your competitors is highly important and must be done through complete market research using an analysis template like the one that we're going to present in this article.
Finding out where your competition excels doesn't have to be a burden if you have the right strategy and necessary tools.
What Is a Competitor Analysis?
Why perform a competitor analysis, how to conduct your competitive analysis, step 1. find your top competitors, step 2. analyze your competitors popularity, step 3. identify the public perception of competitors, step 4. analyze your competitors' social media strategy, step 5. perform an seo competitor analysis.
Competitor analysis in digital marketing is the process of finding strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, relative to those of your own product or service.
There is no exact competitive analysis definition. Yet, you need to know that the strengths within a competitive analysis are the things that make you unique, your key selling point, the ideas around your whole business - which can be about the product or the team. On the opposite side, the weaknesses point out some deficiencies, and things you could improve, when it comes to your brand, or take advantage from, when it comes to the weaknesses of your competitors.
The competitive analysis has the role to make a valid and accurate market positioning and a report on what you are doing best, and where your competitors excel, and learn from that to win more potential customers. A competitive analysis also means picking the right competitors and looking at analytics that include business metrics, digital marketing analysis, social media metrics.
By doing an accurate competitor analysis you'll be able to receive a lot of data and insights for making better business decisions. Similar to an internal research, by evaluating quantitative and qualitative data, if you research your competitors, you will uncover effective strategies and new ideas for increasing your business' performance, be it on social media, on online, or in the physical store.
A well-performed competitor analysis will allow you to:
- Build your unique selling proposition (the statement that describes the benefit of your offer and how you solve your clients' needs).
- Bring business improvements regarding products and services, team management, customer care, delivery and many more.
- Discover new market segments.
- Prioritize goals and future development.
- Create products that are actually required and respond to customer's needs.
For a better understanding of how your competitor analysis framework should look like, we've performed a competitive market research on the cosmetic niche. We've analyzed several metrics on this market segment to conduct a competitive analysis as in-depth as possible, with most of the data being pulled out from brand mention monitoring.
Brand monitoring, when done with the right tools, is more versatile than you'd think. Running an in-depth brand mentions competitive analysis could help you make sure that you are not overlooking any efficient strategies that might be working wonders for your competitors.
They are talking about your company
Get instant access to brand mentions across social, news, blogs, videos and more. Get Free Report
Even though you might be aware of some of your market leaders, there might be a few you're missing.
For our case study example, we searched for top leading beauty brands. As social media is a highly important segment within this industry, one of the analyses we've performed was to find the top-performing brands on social media, by the number of followers.
You can also search on Google for the relevant keywords in your business and see the top brands that are ranking for those keywords. And use a spying tool to find out important analytics on every website you want, such as the Mozbar browser extension.
Also, check out Social Media to figure out the businesses that pop out in results in your market. The research we performed helped us understand the niche a little better. Therefore, based on this research performed, we've chosen to continue our competitive analysis on the following brands:
- MAC cosmetics
- Kylie cosmetics
- Anastasia Beverly Hills
- Urban Decay
It’s too complicated and actually impossible to manually track all your competitors’ records and activity, as much manual web scraping you'd be doing.
So, even if you know your competition , the question remains: how do you find who is the most popular brand in your niche?
Most popular = most mentioned
Tools like BrandMentions can make things easier.
Therefore, to answer to our main question, "how to perform a competitive analysis", you need to start performing an in-depth research of your competition. Brand Mentions allows you to track keywords, brands, product names or whatever you need.
Going back to the beauty niche we are analyzing, let's figure out the most popular brands here. We took BrandMentions for a spin, to find out the most popular beauty brand into a very competitive niche by analyzing and monitoring social media metrics. We analyzed the mentions for these beauty brands for a short period of time, October 14 - November 15 , Worldwide for all languages.
After analyzing the results, we saw that Sephora has some interesting discoveries. Compared to the rest of the beauty sites, Sephora has the highest number of mentions on web and social. In the printscreen below, we can see all mentions for each brand categorized by source (web and social).
By far, Sephora outranks the rest of beauty brands on the total amount of mentions on web and social.
The number of mentions could be explained by the fact that Sephora has more influencers that talk about it on Twitter. Results showed that the brand is mentioned by influencers with over 50k followers on Twitter compared to other beauty brands.
BrandMentions has a filter that allows you to filter mentions to see the Twitter posts from people that have a specific number of followers. The Twitter account for each brand was excluded.
Just by taking a look at your competitors and monitoring their brands, you can get a bunch of data:
- compare how often your competitors versus you post on social media
- what outlets mention them more than you
- how many mentions they have had in the last 24 hours
- how many shares their mentions have
- what languages are their mentions written in
- do they have mostly web or social mentions
And yes, all mentions matter, but some matter more than others.
When looking into your competitor’s yard, look at their best practices and try to figure out what worked best for them.
You must have heard at least once people saying that all publicity is good publicity, as long as they spell your name right. Or that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. But is it really so? How much does the public perception influence a brand's popularity? Let's find out!
The Sentiment Analysis feature allowed us to have a better understanding on the public perception of the analyzed brands. If we first identified the competitors and looked for the most popular ones, now we can have a look at how they are perceived in the online world.
How did we do that exactly?
We monitored all brands with BrandMentions as we said before, and from all mentions we started to filter them out. Filters are a blessing in this situation, giving you full control over the segment of mentions that you want to analyze.
Trying to manually find all the negative brand mentions that interest you is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
After analyzing the sentiment analysis for each individual beauty brand ,we came to realize that most of them share a higher positive experience with the users.
By looking at the data, for all brands or just some of them, we can draw lots of conclusions. For instance, comparing to other brands, Benefit has the highest number of web and social mentions that have a positive sentiment analysis. If we look at the next graph, we can easily see that Benefits stands out:
Another thing we can observe is the fact that Benefit has the highest number of web mentions with a positive sentiment, as well. But the brand that is leading the positive social mentions is Sephora.
Even though Sephora has the highest number of positive social mentions, overall, compared to the rest of the beauty brands, it has the highest number of negative sentiment. Which might be a downsize for the brand.
Below you can see a comparison with the other cosmetics brand on positive and negative sentiment analysis.
We can see that most of the mentions are from social media and more specifically, from Twitter. The connection with the previous results might be stronger. Often time it has happened that people are more driven to write online about a negative experience, rather than a positive one.
We saw that the negative sentiment had the lowest value compared with the positive and neutral sentiment, with a single exception. Morphe had a higher neutral sentiment than the negative one. Check out the graphic below:
Urban Decay has the most naturally ordered distribution of the sentiment analysis for the mentions analyzed on web and social.
We are not saying that bad publicity couldn't be good publicity for some businesses or individuals. But for most businesses and niches, bad publicity and negative brand mentions are never a reason for joy but an occasion for a crisis communication meeting.
Another interesting thing to observe in the graph above is that Morphe has the highest negative sentiment analysis on social media.
People love it the most, but they also hate is the most, compared to the rest of the brands. If we look particularly at the brand to evaluate the total number of positive vs. negative sentiments, we can see that in the end, a positive experience overcomes the negative one, in terms of absolute numbers.
We've previously talked about Morphe saying that it has a higher number of neutral sentiments, the only brand with this particularity. We can understand that people have mixed feelings when it comes to this brand: You either love it or hate it.
Both positive and negative mentions have a big impact on the purchase decision of a client.
Although it might sound bad to spy on your competition , this marketing technique is a fully transparent, popular, and white-hat one. How else would we all improve ourselves and our brands if we were to not compare our endeavors with the others? And this is where a brand monitoring tool comes to rescue us.
When doing competitor spying, we are actually building PR relationships.
Both directly and indirectly.
Directly by getting to know your common audience better (the one your competition shares with you) through your competitors’ eyes, win ties with important outlets in the industry, etc.
In addition, while keeping “your enemies” closer, you indirectly relate to and establish a relationship with them. By constantly trying to keep up the pace with or outrun the brightest ones in the niche, and struggling not to ever fall in the pitfalls of black-hat marketing techniques other companies deploy in their strategies, you simply get better and better. In other words, you widen your professional circle.
Competitor spying is the more polite version of eavesdropping. There's no harm in doing it as long as you're using the tools to improve yourself and not disrupt the other.
You can easily gain insights on your competitors' performance and dig into their success strategies and use the lessons to your own benefit.
Tracking mentions for your competitor can lead you into discovering social media campaigns, new content ideas, top-performing social channel alongside types of content shared on each platform, plus trending hashtags used and top influencers for each competitor.
For instance, in our case, in the beauty niche, the results might surprise you. If you thought Instagram would be the most used Social Media platform for beauty products, you might be wrong.
According to the analysis performed in BrandMentions, it turned out that Twitter has the highest number of mentions for every beauty brand compared to the other social media marketing platforms.
If you thought that Instagram was the king of the beauty industry, you are wrong.
Of course, Instagram is a powerful Social Media channel, but maybe there's more in that direction. There are some insights related to this social platform, nonetheless. We know that Facebook became stricter about sharing data with third parties, so we can't see private posts. Instagram has shifted the strategy in this direction as well. Instagram started to hide likes in select countries earlier this year, and it will soon do the same in the United States.
This method affects the way we see data, on top of the fact that there are lots of users with private user accounts where even if you have an account you can't see their posts, likes, and stories.
After analyzing all the social mentions for all the beauty brands on all social platforms, here's what we discovered:
- Twitter is the Social Media Platform with the highest number of mentions.
- Twitter is the Social Media Platform with the highest number of mentions with positive sentiment analysis.
It seems that Twitter is a great way to start an influencer marketing strategy; it is also the most popular social media site. Finding all the information will help all marketers, brand managers, and community managers to build the best social media strategies for beauty brands.
When we looked at the distribution of web and social mentions for the beauty brands, we discovered 2 categories:
- more web mentions: MAC and Benefit
- more social mentions: Kylie cosmetics, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Sephora, NYX, Too Faced, Urban Decay, Morphe and Tarte.
It's obvious that social is the king here. We won't bother you with tons of charts and data on all the analysed brands, yet, you need to know that within Brand Mentions you can perform any type of analysis you want when it comes to social mention analysis.
If we analyze one of the competitors, Morphe, we can see that it is more popular on Instagram by the number of mentions. It is seconded by a small number by Anastasia Beverly Hills.
Morphe has lots of mentions on Instagram, but it is on the 8th place when it comes to Instagram followers with 10.3m.
When it comes to answering the question on how to do a competitive analysis we know that what matter most are the insights you get to find out. And here are some great insights we've extracted for the most popular social media beauty sites scrutinized within our competitive analysis:
1. For the MAC Brand:
- MAC has the highest number of influencers on Instagram.
- MAC doesn't have influencers of people with more than 50k followers that mention the brand on Twitter.
- MAC is the least popular on the web and social media judging by the number of mentions.
2. For the Sephora Brand:
- Sephora is one of the most popular beauty brands on social media and the whole web compared to the rest of the brands by the number of mentions.
- Sephora is mentioned by influencers and people with more than 50k followers on Twitter.
3. For the Morhphe Brand:
- Morphe shares a positive experience on social media compared to the rest of the beauty brand. It has the highest number of social mentions with a positive sentiment.
- But it also shares the highest value of negative emotions on social.
- Morphe is the top beauty brand on Instagram by the number of mentions compared to the rest of the brands.
4. For the Benefit Brand:
- Benefit is on the 10th place by the number of followers on Instagram with 9.8m (see printscreen below), the last place compared to the rest of the brands.
- Benefit offers a higher positive experience by analyzing sentiment analysis for the whole web and social mentions.
After analyzing all the mentions for all the beauty brands, there are lots of insights to help you create social media marketing strategies and find out the top competitors in your niche.
Knowing how to analyze your SEO competition is an important step in determining your overall keyword and SEO strategy. There are many factors involved in the process, and without the correct framework, it can get complicated. Here you can find the steps for the SEO competitor analysis explained, as clear and simple as possible. Within the screenshot below you can see the main steps that you need to take to make sure you perform an SEO competitive analysis at the highest level.
What Tools We Used to Do The Competitive Analysis
We used BrandMentions to analyze the beauty content and all the mentions for each beauty brand : MAC cosmetics, Kylie cosmetics, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Sephora, NYX, Too Faced, Urban Decay, Morphe, Tarte, Benefit.
Each created project had the name of the brand, and we added the keywords, domain URL, Facebook and Twitter account for higher accuracy in finding relevant mentions. We let the tool do its magic and analyze the beauty content on social media and the web.
For the metrics and discoveries made, we used filters and features available in BrandMentions, such as Sentiment Analysis analyzer, web and social sources, mentions from Twitter accounts with a specific number of followers and more. Check out the data for designing your winning social media strategy.
Also, the trigger was when we found a research on Statista with most followed cosmetics brands on Instagram; so we thought of performing a deeper analysis on the topic, and finding the most popular beauty site on Social Media, not only on Instagram. We wanted to see if there more we needed to know. And yes, there was so much more.
For an effective competitive research, there are multiple things that need to be taken into consideration, beside web and social listening. Things like brand awareness , customer experience, target audience, the search engines you are interested in, target market, the service or product features, the competitors sales, etc. This is not a complete guide to obtain competitive advantages that applies for all. But a competitor analysis template that helps you best identify your competitors and your main competitor strengths and weaknesses.
The best time to start finding out information about your competitors is now. So even if you are a content marketer, a small online store owner or a big ecommerce business , an online marketing specialist or you're in the sales teams, you need to start digging into competitive intelligence.
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Analyzing your competitive landscape: 4 case studies.
Conducting a competitive analysis can be time-consuming. It takes time to gather intelligence, analyze the insights, share data, and integrate your findings into your strategy. However, if you’re able to take a quick snapshot of your competitive landscape , you’ll be able to get quick and impactful insights about your market. Previously, we walked you through the three dimensions of conducting a snapshot competitive landscape analysis . Now, let’s apply that methodology in a series of case studies — a breakdown of four industries, including Conversational Marketing Software, Point-of-Sale (POS) Solutions, Cybersecurity Technology, and Meal Kit Subscriptions. With data from completed competitive landscape reports, we’ll dive into what it means to be an industry leader.
Breaking Down the Competitive Analysis
Our competitive analysis report breaks down your competitive landscape in three ways: Company Growth & Trajectory, Company Traffic & Social Reach, and Company Homepage & Positioning History. All of these aspects are important in analyzing your competitive landscape for different reasons. For our analysis, we’ve also highlighted three areas of market leadership — Industry Billboard, Market Leader, and Top Challenger.
- The Industry Billboard represents the company with the largest voice in the market, as measured by the company with the best Alexa Rank.
- The Market Leader is the recognized front-runner in the industry, as measured by highest estimated revenue for a public company.
- The Top Challenger is the up-and-comer that is getting the most traction, as measured by highest estimated revenue for a private company.
Now that we’ve broken down the key areas of focus for these reports, let’s look at how specific companies in a wide range of industries have gotten themselves to those top spots.
The Industry Billboard: Best Alexa Rank
Up first, we took a snapshot of the customer service / conversational marketing software industry, which included Intercom, Podium, Freshdesk, Zendesk, and Drift. To get recognized as an “Industry Billboard,” the company needs to have the lowest Alexa Rank in the industry.
The Top Challenger: Top Private Company by Revenue
Next up, let’s take a look at the Point-of-Sale (POS) industry. In this landscape snapshot, we analyzed NCR, ShopKeep, Toast, Upserve, Square, TouchBistro, and Revel Systems. To get recognized as the Top Challenger, you need to have the highest estimated revenue and be a private company.
In this industry, the Top Challenger is Toast. In this instance, Toast is the top private company in the POS space, based on its estimated revenue, which is in the $500M-$1B range. In comparison to other private companies in this space, they are the revenue leader. This data is important because it gives you insight into how efficient your competitors are, which ones are up-and-coming based on how long they’ve been in business and their revenue, as well as which competitor is leading the charge. Keeping a pulse on funding as well as revenue matters because you can gain insight into how well a company is performing. If your competitors are raising more funding, it might be a sign that something big is about to happen, that you will definitely want to monitor.
Revenue is a good indicator of success for private companies, but let’s focus on their funding. If you notice an increase in funding, keep an eye out for changes across other aspects of their business. When a company is raising capital, it means that they are planning to grow and invest more resources into their strategy - headcount, product capabilities, new offices, etc. Keep an eye on their funding as well as what happens after funding rounds are completed. Any shift in strategy, especially hiring, can give you insight into where they’re going next. Use this intel to get ahead of your competition.
The Market Leader: Top Public Company by Revenue
Similar to the Top Challenger, the Market Leader is based on revenue, but for public companies. In this example, we’re going to look at the Cybersecurity space, featuring Symantec, SentinelOne, Cylance, FireEye, Tanium, Carbon Black, Cybereason, McAfee, and Crowdstrike.
In addition to funding raised, revenue is critical because it’s another measure of the success of a company. Here, the leader is a company that has been around significantly longer than the other players, so they’ve created a sustainable competitive advantage . While it is possible to displace industry leaders , you can also learn from the bigger players in your industry. What did they do over the years to get to where they are today? What did they invest in, who did they hire, how did their product change? By analyzing how they became the industry leader, you’ll be able to iterate on your strategy to incorporate the positive and negative lessons learned by the industry leader. There may be strategies you can apply to your own business, or you may be inspired to try new tactics. Either way, leverage this competitive intelligence to make an impact on your own revenue achievement .
Don’t Forget: Keep an Eye on Messaging and Website Updates
Additional competitive insights to evaluate include homepage updates and messaging history. As an example, we’re going to take a look at the Meal Kit Subscription industry, featuring Purple Carrot, Sun Basket, Blue Apron, Daily Harvest, HelloFresh, Home Chef, and Marley Spoon.
See why Gong, Mastercard, and ZoomInfo trust Crayon to help them win more competitive deals.
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Competitive Analysis: A Case Study
National packaging and bag supplier, on the go listen to an audio recording:, the situation:.
Packaging Ltd.* wanted to amp up the growth of their business. The problem? They didn’t have a clear strategy in order to move forward and make this actually happen. That’s where Marketing Minds came in with our outsource marketing services and conducted a competitive analysis.
What we did:
• Researched the trends, competitors, capabilities in order to understand the playing field and influences • Profiled Packaging Ltd’s clients and identified growth opportunities within each segment • Tested their unique selling proposition against competitors to ensure robustness and points of difference • Evaluated all possible channels and associated return on investment for growing Packaging Ltd.
The outcomes of a successful competitive analysis:
• Increased brand marketability • An overall strategy that ensured growth, retention and re-acquisition that is aligned with the overall business objectives of the business. • Identified a truly unique competitive advantage and call to action that Packaging Ltd. can be confident about • Honed in on the lowest hanging fruits that will produce the greatest return for the company • Developed a step by step “how to” and timeline for the opportunities identified • Set key performance indicators for the tactics that Packaging Ltd. will engage in
*The client’s name has been changed to protect the company’s identity.
If you want some more personalised advice on your branding and marketing, or if you have any other questions, call us at +64 9 6344 390 , email [email protected] or contact us .
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How to Create a Competitor Analysis Report (Examples Included)
By Midori Nediger , Nov 09, 2023
Your business will always have competition.
And if you don’t know what that competition is up to, you could be missing out on huge opportunities.
That’s why a competitive analysis is so crucial to your success as a business. It gives you the tools to quickly adapt to any changes in the competitive landscape and potentially capitalize on industry trends that your competitors haven’t even noticed.
So let’s get some basics out of the way…
What is a competitive analysis report?
A competitive analysis report outlines the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors compared to those of your own business.
Typically, a competitive analysis report will contain:
- A description of your business’s target market
- Details about the features of your product compared to your competitors’ products
- A breakdown of current and projected market share, sales, and revenues
- Comparisons of pricing models
- An analysis of marketing strategy and social media strategy
- A description of customer ratings of the features of each competitor
Whether you’re a startup trying to break into the marketplace , a consultant trying to get results for your client, or an established company looking to cement your foothold against the competition, a well-researched competitive analysis gives you the tools you need to make strategic decisions.
Your competitive analysis should inform your marketing plan , your business plan , your consultant report and every part of your high-level business strategy.
But how do you actually create a competitive analysis report?
How to make competitor analysis report :
- Start with a competitor overview
- Conduct market research to uncover customer personas and industry trends
- Compare product features in a feature comparison matrix
- Summarize your strengths and weaknesses with a SWOT analysis
- Show where you fit in the competitive landscape
- Use a competitor analysis template for a professional look and feel
The level of detail you include in each section of your competitive analysis report will vary depending on the stage of your business growth and your goals. For example, a startup might create a report that focuses on market research, while an established business might dive into detail on an emerging competitor.
But let’s talk about the parts of a competitive analysis that every report should include.
1. Start with a competitor overview
A strong report shows exactly what a company must out-compete to be successful.
Meaning you must audit any product or service that currently solves the problem your business is trying to solve for customers and write a quick profile for each competitor.
Like the template below, each competitor profile might include:
- The company’s revenue and market share
- The company’s size and information about their management team
- A broad description of the company’s strengths and weaknesses
- An overview of how the company is perceived by customers
This overview will help your readers get a big-picture view of the market landscape.
2. Conduct market research to uncover customer personas and industry trends
You can’t create a competitive analysis report without doing extensive market research , which is all about gathering information to understand your customers, identify opportunities to grow, and recognize trends in the industry.
This research can help you put together the customer personas that will guide business and marketing decisions down the line, and allow you to plan for any shifts that might disrupt the marketplace.
You can conduct primary market research, with:
- Customer interviews
- Online surveys or questionnaires
- In-person focus groups
- Purchasing a competitor product to study packaging and delivery experience
Or secondary market research, by:
- Reading company records
- Examining the current economic conditions
- Researching relevant technological developments
When assembling your market research you may just want provide a high-level summary of the industry trends, like this competitor analysis example shows:
Or you may want to dive into detail on the demographics of a particular consumer segment, like this:
But if you’re a consultant or advisor struggling to get buy-in from skeptical stakeholders, the report below would be ideal. Covering everything from market forecasts to consumer profiles, it can help you get clients and decision-makers on board.
3. Compare product features in a feature comparison matrix
The feature comparison is arguably the most important part of the competitive analysis. Breaking down your product and your competitors’ products feature-by-feature will allow you to see what really sets everyone apart.
In addition to specific product features, here are some attributes that you might include in a feature comparison matrix:
- Product quality
- Number of features
- Ease of use
- Customer support
The most common format for a features analysis is a simple matrix with you and your competitors along one side and all of the relevant features along the other. You can check off or rate how you perform in each area:
But these tables can get pretty long. Another approach is to focus on the things that provide the most value to the user, like in this competitor analysis example from Mint. It only includes ease of use, costs, and benefits:
If you want to visualize your comparisons in an engaging way, you could use a comparison infographic .
Great resources for this section of your competitive analysis report are product rating sites like Capterra and G2Crowd . They’ll give you an unbiased view of your company and your competitors.
And as with any market research, it’s critical that you speak with real people who use your product and your competitors’ products. That’s the only way to get an accurate picture of how your target customers rate the competition .
4. Summarize your strengths and weaknesses in a SWOT analysis
When you’re conducting research for your competitive analysis, it’s going to be messy. You’ll have a lot of data and it’ll be hard for an outsider to understand.
That’s what makes the SWOT analysis so essential.
A SWOT analysis is a framework for evaluating your competitive position by listing your key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
It can act like a short summary of the rest of your competitive analysis report for anyone who doesn’t have time to dig into the details.
Click the template above to enter our online SWOT analysis maker tool. Customize the template to your liking–no design no-how required.
Here are some questions to kickstart your SWOT analysis:
- Strengths: What are we doing really well (in terms of marketing, products, sales, branding, technology, etc.)?
- Weaknesses: What are we struggling with? What’s holding us back?
- Opportunities: What’s the weakest area for our biggest competitor? Are there any gaps in the market that aren’t current being addressed? What has recently changed in our business or the market?
- Threats: What is our biggest competitor doing much better than us? What new products/features are they working on? What problems aren’t we currently addressing?
In your report, you could arrange your SWOT analysis in a simple list, but it can be helpful to use color-coded quadrants, like the competitor analysis example below. Note how each quadrant is paired with an icon:
5. Show where you fit in the competitive landscape
After summarizing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, it’s time to look at the bigger picture. It’s time to figure out where every major competitor currently fits into the competitive landscape.
The most popular way of doing this is to identify the two dimensions that are most important for being competitive in your industry and plot them on a matrix, like this one from the Boston Consulting Group:
And this one from G2 Crowd (which looks at market presence and customer satisfaction):
You may want to focus on where you fit in the market landscape based on your own biggest strengths and weaknesses, or the biggest threats and opportunities you identified in the SWOT analysis.
Or, it may be enough just to summarize in words the features and benefits that set your apart from your competitors (which is a great way to end your report on a high note).
Competitor analysis examples for strategic planning
In the fast-paced world of business, strategic decision-making is crucial and competitor analysis is a powerful tool for gaining a competitive edge. Let’s delve into some competitor analysis examples that can empower your organization to navigate the market effectively.
1. Competitor analysis example for marketing specialists
Imagine this: You are a Marketing Specialist and your goal is to establish a strong online presence and attract a diverse user base. However, you face stiff competition from established players in the market. Here are some things you should look into when doing your competitor analysis:
Competitor analysis focus:
- SEO strategies: Analyze competitors’ websites to understand their SEO strategies. Identify high-ranking keywords, backlink strategies, and content optimization techniques.
- Social media engagement: Examine competitors’ social media presence. Evaluate the type of content that garners engagement, the frequency of posts, and audience interactions.
- Online advertising: Investigate competitors’ online advertising campaigns. Are they leveraging Google Ads, social media ads, or other platforms? Assess the messaging, visuals, and targeting criteria.
- Content marketing: Scrutinize competitors’ content marketing efforts. Identify the topics that resonate with their audience, the formats they use (blogs, videos, infographics), and the platforms they prioritize.
Here’s a SWOT analysis template to help you get started:
2. Competitor analysis example for SME business development managers
Imagine this: As the business development manager for a medium sized start up, you are tasked with expanding the client base. The market is crowded with similar service providers, and differentiation is key. When doing your competitor analysis report, look into:
- Client testimonials and case studies: Explore competitors’ websites for client testimonials and case studies. Identify success stories and areas where clients express satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
- Service offerings: Analyze the range of services offered by competitors. Identify gaps in their offerings or areas where you can provide additional value to clients.
- Pricing models: Investigate competitors’ pricing structures. Are they offering packages, subscription models, or customized solutions? Determine whether there’s room for a more competitive pricing strategy.
- Partnerships and collaborations: Explore potential partnerships or collaborations that competitors have formed. This can provide insights into untapped markets or innovative service delivery methods.
Here’s a competitor analysis comparison chart template that you could use:
3. Competitor analysis example for product managers
Imagine this: You are a Product Manager for a consumer electronics company tasked with improving your company’s products and services. The market is buzzing with innovation, and staying ahead requires a deep understanding of competitor products.
- Feature comparison: Conduct a detailed feature-by-feature comparison of your product with competitors. Identify unique features that set your product apart and areas where you can enhance or differentiate.
- User experience (UX): Evaluate the user experience of competitors’ products. Analyze customer reviews, app ratings, and usability feedback to understand pain points and areas for improvement.
- Technological advancements: Investigate the technological capabilities of competitors. Are they integrating AI, IoT, or other cutting-edge technologies? Assess whether there are emerging technologies you can leverage.
- Product lifecycle management: Examine competitors’ product release cycles. Identify patterns in their product launches and assess whether there are opportunities for strategic timing or gap exploitation.
To help you get started, use this competitive analysis report template to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the product or service
How to present a competitor analysis
Presenting a competitor analysis effectively involves organizing and communicating information about your competitors in a clear and concise manner. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to present a competitor analysis:
- Introduction: Start with a brief introduction to set the stage. Outline the purpose of the competitor analysis and its significance in the current market context.
- Competitor identification: Clearly list and identify the main competitors. Include both direct and indirect competitors. Briefly describe each competitor’s core business and market presence.
- Key metrics and performance: Present key metrics and performance indicators for each competitor. This may include market share, revenue, growth rate, and any other relevant quantitative data.
- SWOT analysis: Conduct a concise SWOT analysis for each competitor. Summarize their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Use a simple visual representation if possible.
- Market positioning: Discuss how each competitor is positioned in the market. This could include their target audience, unique selling propositions, and any specific market niches they occupy.
- Strategic moves: Highlight recent strategic moves made by your competitors. This could include product launches, partnerships, mergers, acquisitions, or changes in pricing strategy. Discuss how these moves impact the competitive landscape.
- Recommendations and implications: Based on the analysis, provide recommendations and implications for your company. Identify opportunities to capitalize on competitors’ weaknesses and outline potential threats that need to be addressed. Discuss any adjustments to your own strategy that may be necessary in response to the competitive landscape.
3 tips to improve your competitive analysis report design
How you design your competitive analysis report can have a significant impact on your business success. The right report design can inspire stakeholders to take action based on your findings, while a mediocre design may reflect poorly on your hard work.
Here are a few report design best practices to keep in mind when designing your competitive analysis report:
- Start with a competitive analysis report template
- Keep core design elements like colors and fonts consistent
- Use visuals to summarize important information and keep your audience engaged
1. Start with a competitor analysis template
The quickest way to lose the confidence of your stakeholders is to present a messy, amateur report design. Besides distracting from the content of the report, it might even put your credibility at risk.
Starting with a pre-designed competitor analysis template, like the one below, takes almost all of the design work out of the mix so you can focus on the content (while still impressing your stakeholders).
And if you’re a consultant competing for a project, a pre-designed template may just give you the edge you need to land that client.
Click on any of our templates; you’ll enter our online drag and drop report maker tool. No design know-how required.
2. Keep core design elements like colors and fonts consistent
If you take a look at the competitor analysis template below, you might notice that the designer has switched up the layout from page to page, but many of the other design elements are kept consistent.
That consistency helps the report design feel cohesive while making it easier for readers to quickly skim for key pieces of information.
Here are a few quick guidelines for keeping important design elements consistent:
- Use the same color scheme throughout your report (with one highlight color to draw attention to key takeaways and important numbers)
- Use the same font styles for your headers, subheaders, and body text (with no more than 2-3 font styles per report)
- Use the same style of visuals throughout your report (like flat icons or illustrated icons… but not both)
3. Use visuals to summarize important information and keep your audience engaged
The challenge with a competitive analysis report is that you collect heaps of background research, and you have to condense it into a brief report that your client will actually read.
And written summaries will only get you so far.
Visuals like charts and tables are a much better way to communicate a lot of research quickly and concisely, as seen in the market research summary below.
Even lists can be made more engaging and informative by spacing out list items and giving more emphasis to headers:
The more you can replace descriptive paragraphs and long lists with thoughtful visuals, the more your readers will thank you.
A competitive analysis will allow you to think up effective strategies to battle your competition and establish yourself in your target market.
And a report that communicates the findings of your competitive analysis will ensure stakeholders are on board and in the know.
Now that you know how to design a competitive analysis report, you’re ready to get started:
Inspiring employee performance in logistics, view full case study ➜.
Analyzing the changing market and innovating in manufacturing.
Growing customer demand in distribution.
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CASE STUDY - MARKET RESEARCH - PRODUCT MARKET FIT
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