October 3, 2023
This comprehensive guide explains what competitive analysis is, why it's important, and how to conduct it the right way using various tools and techniques. Learn how to leverage this valuable information to gain a competitive advantage and avoid common pitfalls. Real-life examples of companies that succeeded (or failed) because of competitive analysis are also provided.


As competition continues to grow in the business world, it becomes increasingly important for companies to understand their competitors and adjust their strategies accordingly. This is where competitive analysis comes in. By conducting a thorough analysis of competitors, companies can gain valuable insights into their industry and use that information to their advantage. In this beginner’s guide, we will explore what competitive analysis is, why it’s important, how to do it right, and share real-life examples of companies that have used it to succeed.

The Beginner’s Guide to Competitive Analysis: What It Is and How to Do It

Competitive analysis is the process of identifying and analyzing competitors to better understand their strengths and weaknesses, and to gain insights about the opportunities and threats within the market. It involves researching and analyzing the products or services, pricing strategies, target audiences, marketing efforts, and overall performance of your competitors.

Conducting a competitive analysis is important for several reasons. Firstly, it can help you identify gaps in the market that your business can address. It also allows you to shape your marketing and production efforts to better meet customer needs and preferences. Additionally, a competitive analysis can help you identify threats to your business, allowing you to adjust your strategy accordingly to avoid potential pitfalls.

The steps involved in conducting competitive analysis include identifying your competitors, researching and gathering data, analyzing and interpreting the data, and finally, using the insights gained to adjust your strategy. Some examples of the information you might want to gather include market share data, product reviews, customer feedback, pricing strategies, and marketing campaigns.

Why Competitive Analysis is Vital to Your Business’ Success

In today’s increasingly competitive business world, conducting a competitive analysis is no longer an option, but a necessity. By gaining insights into the market, competitors, and target audience, businesses can make better-informed decisions. Competitive analysis helps businesses to keep pace with changes in the market, to stay updated with the latest innovations, and to create more effective strategies.

There are many benefits to conducting a competitive analysis, including gaining a better understanding of your competition and the market, discovering opportunities for growth and improvement, creating a more effective marketing strategy, and developing more innovative products or services.

According to a study by Outbrain, businesses that conduct a competitive analysis are twice as likely to achieve above-average profitability than those that don’t. This illustrates the importance of keeping a close eye on your competition and the market.

The Top Tools and Techniques for Conducting a Thorough Competitive Analysis

There are several tools and techniques that can be used to conduct a thorough competitive analysis. One commonly used tool is the SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This analysis helps businesses to identify the internal and external factors affecting their organization and to develop strategies accordingly.

Another widely used technique is PESTLE analysis, which stands for political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors. PESTLE analysis helps businesses to identify the external factors that may impact their industry, such as changes in regulations or shifts in consumer behavior.

Porter’s Five Forces is another popular technique used in competitive analysis, which analyzes the competitive intensity of an industry and helps to identify the potential profitability of a business. These and other tools can be used by businesses to analyze competitors and adjust their strategy accordingly.

Using Competitive Analysis to Gain a Competitive Advantage

One of the key benefits of conducting competitive analysis is gaining a competitive advantage. By analyzing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you can identify areas where your business can excel and leverage that information to outperform your competition. For example, if you identify that your competitors are weak in a certain area, you can put more resources into that area to differentiate your business.

Another way to use the insights gained from competitive analysis is to identify gaps in the market that your business could fill. By identifying unmet customer needs or preferences, your business can create new products or services to meet those demands, providing a unique value proposition.

How to Avoid Common Pitfalls in Competitive Analysis

Conducting a competitive analysis can be a challenging and time-consuming process, and there are many common mistakes that businesses can make. One of the biggest pitfalls is bias, which can lead to skewed or inaccurate data. To avoid this, it’s important to remain objective throughout the analysis and to use a variety of sources to gather data.

Another common mistake is failing to update data regularly, which can lead to outdated insights and ineffective strategies. To avoid this, it’s important to regularly update your data sources, and to keep an eye on your competition’s activities over time.

Real-Life Examples of Companies That Succeeded (or Failed) Because of Competitive Analysis

There are many real-life examples of companies that have used competitive analysis to their advantage. One notable example is Netflix, which conducted a thorough analysis of Blockbuster’s business model and identified gaps in the market that Blockbuster was failing to fill. By capitalizing on those gaps, Netflix was able to become the dominant player in the home video rental market.

On the other hand, there are also examples of companies that suffered significant losses due to a lack of competitive analysis. Kodak is one such example, as they failed to anticipate the shift towards digital photography and lost their position as a leader in the industry.


In conclusion, conducting a competitive analysis is crucial for businesses in today’s competitive market. By analyzing competitors and the market, businesses can make more informed decisions, identify growth opportunities, and gain a competitive advantage. By avoiding common pitfalls and using the right tools and techniques, businesses can gain the insights they need to succeed in their industry. We encourage all businesses to consider conducting a competitive analysis to help ensure their long-term success.

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