I’m willing to bet that if you’re running a business in 2022, you’re using technology and software to get things done (in fact, you’re likely using a number of them)....
There’s a school of thought out there that believes you shouldn’t pay attention to your competitors. You may hear things such as:
- It’s a waste of time
- Focus on yourself
- Just pretend they don’t exist and do a great job
I appreciate this sentiment and agree that you shouldn’t obsess over your competitors all day and night. However, using a strong process to analyze your competitors and market can reveal incredible insights and sometimes prove to be a secret weapon.
One of the key jobs of running your business is to understand your customer better than anyone else. Therefore, understanding your competitors and the other options that exist for your customers is a key part of this understanding!
Still not convinced checking out your competitors is worth the time? Then instead of identifying competitors, we recommend you pick out a few role models. For example, if you’re an eCommerce focused company, then we recommend you pick a couple of brands you think are doing an amazing job with their online sales. Even though you don’t compete directly with them, you can still learn a lot by digging into what makes them successful.
What is a competitor/role model analysis?
Let’s start with the basics and get clear on what we mean by analyzing your competitors or role models.
In a nutshell, a competitor/role model analysis is the process of:
- Identifying competitors / role models in your industry
- Researching their different business and marketing strategies
- Comparing the competitor / role models against your company’s strengths and weaknesses
There are many different methods to conducting this type of analysis. You can take a more ‘general’ approach where you look at your competitors / role models from a high-level perspective to see how your brand stacks up. Or, you can take a more detailed approach where you deep-dive into certain aspects of your competitors businesses, such as their email marketing strategy.
If you’re just getting started with competitor / role model analysis, we recommend you take a more general approach to start. This can help you uncover high-level market trends and give you insight into areas that are worth a deeper dive.
3 Benefits of Analyzing your Competitors and Role Models
Alright, time for the good stuff. Here are 3 reasons why you should be bringing competitor and role model analysis into your business practices…
- Find Gaps in Your Business
One the best benefits of doing a competitor / role model analysis is the ability to spot gaps within your own business. You can understand what customer segments your competitors are serving and from here, understand if:
- You should be serving these customer segments as well because your product is better
- There is a new customer segment that is being missed or underserved.
By understand what segments your customers are serving, you should also check into HOW they’re showing up for their customer base. Is your competitor or role model building a huge social media presence? Are they more focused on serving them via brick & mortar? Perhaps they’re focused on other 3rd party channels such as Amazon or Well.ca. Whatever the case, use this analysis to drive inspiration for how you can better show up for your customers.
- Get In Touch with the Latest Trends
Competitor and role model analysis isn’t something you do just once. At a minimum, we recommend that you check in on your competitors / role models at least once a year. By doing these regular check-ins, you’ll start to spot the movements your competitors and role models are making. For example, if you’re a men’s grooming company and you recently completed this analysis, you would’ve realized that your competitor Dollar Shave Club has recently begun selling in Walmart.
Dollar Shave Club, one of the original Direct-to-Consumer brands, focused on cutting out the middle and selling directly to customers, and is now selling in big box stores. This is because grabbing attention online is at an all-time high. The executives at Dollar Shave Club likely believe they have better odds at getting your attention in the physical world, rather than the hyper competitive digital world. Spotting these trends can help shape the future of your business.
- Improve your Business and Marketing Strategy
As you’re probably noticing, you can rack up a ton of insights by conducting a competitor and role model analysis. By the time you complete your analysis and dig int your competitors’ online presence, marketing, and more, you’ll have a strong understanding of what their business and marketing strategies are.
You’ll gain insights such as:
- Competitor X drives a lot of business from their SEO
- Competitor Y has a ton self-service on their website and really focused on customer experience
- Competitor Z focuses on selling via Amazon
You can use these insights to help inform your own business and marketing strategy. Perhaps you realize it’s time for you to start investing in different areas of digital marketing to keep pace with your competitors, or maybe you see your competitor doing something you really don’t like and decide to remove that aspect from your roadmap. By knowing what your competitors are up to, you can be better informed and make stronger decisions for your own business.