The competitive analysis, the third analytical approach to Integrated Digital Marketing (IDM) Strategic Analysis, determines the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market. With this evaluation, your team can establish a) what makes your product or service unique, b) what gaps are in the marketplace, and c) what strategies will generate competitive advantage.
Let’s take the example of Zenos (fictitious company), a new organic pizza franchise that is entering the fast food market. The C-suite wants to determine the best tactics to gain a position in a very competitive market segment.
Here are the six steps to developing a competitive analysis for Zenos:
- Identify the current and potential competition. This can be done from the customer’s point of view (e.g. those companies vying for the customer’s business) and from the business’ perspective (e.g. those companies using similar strategies). For example, Zenos selected Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, and Dominos as its principle competitors.
- Determine five strategic areas in which you are competitive. Zenos chose sustainability, product quality, media, customer service, and price.
- Create a competition matrix. Down the left side column write the names of your five major competitors. Across the horizontal axis, list the five strategic areas in which you are competitive (e.g. sustainability, product quality, media, customer service, and price), filling in each box (see table 1 below). Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor in relation to the associated strategic area.
- You may need to expand selected areas and create separate matrices for those areas that contain multiple variables. In the case of Zenos, “media” would include things like TV, radio, billboard, social media, mobile, coupons, and online display ads, et cetera. Moreover, the company would want to drill down on the media exposure of its competitors on a separate matrix.
- Review the matrices to determine which areas your company is most vulnerable. Zenos sees pizza as a price competitive product; its competitive position is threatened if its quality and community appeal do not attract sophisticated, food conscious buyers.
- Determine where the gaps are in the competitive matrix. These represent strategic opportunities for your company. Zenos determined the gap in the market was the lack of digital strategy targeting food conscious buyers. The company’s success, then, would be determined by its ability to executive an effective IDM strategy to connect with and convert this target audience.
|Zenos||Sustainable Community investments, focus on agricultures & ecology||Gourmet, organic, gluten free||Integrated Digital; food conscious buyers||Guaranteed satisfaction||High end|
|Papa johns||Corporate SocialResponsibility (CSR)||Quality ingredients||Integrated digital, general audience||Fast delivery||Competitive, discounts|
|Pizza Hut||Corporate SocialResponsibility (CSR)||Quality ingredients||Integrated digital, general audience||Fast delivery||Competitive, discounts|
|Dominos||Corporate SocialResponsibility (CSR)||Quality ingredients, customer input||Integrated digital, general audience||Fast delivery||Two-tier, discounted regular vs artisan|
Table 1: Competition Matrix
A competitive analysis is critical to your business strategy. It provides an analytical tool to evaluate which strategic areas you can offer the best value to your target customers.
It also helps you determine your company’s position in the marketplace – information you need to create an effective IDM strategy.
- Other than the five listed above, what strategic areas might businesses want to be competitive in? How about your business?
- Aside from competitive analysis, what are some other ways brands can expose strategic opportunities?