Competitive Analysis: Know What You're Up Against

by Julie Poulos

Examining your competition to inform your marketing strategy

One of the first steps in our strategic planning phase is performing a competitive analysis. Why do we do this? Knowledge is power! It’s important to know how you stack up against your competitors. Two key areas to focus on are:


Use data to identify opportunities and break through the clutter. You can’t be everywhere or all things to all people, so determine your focus.

  • How is your company positioning itself? Is your brand message and look current, modern, and relevant?
  • How can you tell your story to position yourself differently than your competition and make your value clear?
  • Is there an untapped area or market you can dominate? When going head-to-head, which products and/or services do your competitors also provide? Which service markets can your company be competitive in?
  • What are your differentiators? How does your company provide value?
  • What do you need to do in terms of content, resources, tools or technology to create a competitive edge?


Your online brand is as important as your offline brand. Audit your online positioning to determine what you need to improve and where you can stand out.

  • How does your website compare in domain authority, content, resources, and tools? Is your website working for you?
  • Look at your competitor’s search volume and keyword strategy. How does it compare to your strategy? Are there keywords your competitors are not using that you can capitalize on?
  • Are you using keywords on the back-end of your website (search engine optimization or SEO) to help consumers find your product and/or service online?
  • Are your competitors purchasing online advertising for inbound lead generation (search engine marketing or SEM)?
  • Identify online opportunities to bolster your Google ranking, such as social networks, online publications, associations, directories and other back links.


What do we do with this data? We examine specifically where we have an opportunity to break through the clutter.

  • How can we tell your story to position you differently from your competition and clarify your value?
  • Is there an area or market that is untapped that we can dominate?
  • What do we need to do in terms of content, resources, tools or technology to create a competitive edge?
  • Where should we prioritize our marketing efforts? You can't be everywhere or all things to all people, so where is our focus?

The goal of performing a competitive analysis is not to mirror what your competitors are doing, but rather identify where you compare in terms of how your current and prospective clients view you. Use this information to determine what you need to improve upon and where you can stand out.


Ready to take the deep dive? Download our Guide to Starting a Competitive Analysis and Client & Prospect Interview Question Set. Our Online Specialist, Dan Mantilla, shared a few of his favorite digital tools you can use:

We recently discussed this topic on the Making Chips podcast marketing series #MarketingForMakers. Tune in to our episode on Competitive Analysis for more details from myself, Julie Poulos; our Content Writer and Digital Strategist, Kacey Keegan; and Online Specialist, Dan Mantilla. Our team of marketers + technologists is here to help! We encourage you to comment and ask questions.