How-To Guide for Conducting a Competitive Assessment
When was the last time you took a look at your competitors’ communications? Do you know why your lost prospects are choosing them or why your customers are choosing you?
It is worth taking the time to identify and assess your competitors. Far too often, the team at C.E.K. & Partners, an Atlanta-based B2B branding and strategic communications firm, hears from its clients that they do not have competitors. Yet, we know that every brand has a competitor. Ask yourself, if your brand did not exist, what would the buyer purchase to solve their problem?
"...we know that every brand has a competitor. Ask yourself, if your brand did not exist, what would the buyer purchase to solve their problem?" -Carolyn Kopf
A competitive assessment doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all formula. It depends on what your brand wants to learn. One type entails evaluating your competitors’ offerings, along with the different features and pricing. Another type assesses competitors’ communications to understand what they are saying, how they are positioning their brand against others in the market, and what they are promising. An extension of this includes understanding where and how a competitor is communicating. Is it purely online with social channels, the website and email and newsletters? Or does it incorporate magazine, newspaper, tradeshows and other traditional channels?
Why do a competitive assessment?
To carve out your company’s distinct brand positioning
To articulate a point of difference – that truly is unique
To define your brand’s story
Simple Process for Conducting a Competitive Assessment
1| Identify your top 5 – 7 competitors
Start by identifying your top competitors. Answering this question will help guide your thinking: “If your customers did not buy from you, which companies would they consider and purchase from?” The marketing and sales team should have a pulse on which companies – local, regional or national players – they are bumping up against in pitches or at tradeshows.
If you are still unsure who your competitors are, consider taking a look at SEO. A HubSpot article written to gain a competitive advantage online, highlights gaining an understanding with the search terms used to find the solutions and products you offer – along with which companies are using these terms.
2| Outline what you want to learn
What do you want to learn from conducting a competitive assessment, and what will you do with those findings? For example, why are you looking at other brands’ messaging? Do you want to tighten your brand story in a unique, yet relevant way for the category?