Spy Like a Champ! How to Do Competitor Mapping

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If you work in the business world, you know the key to success is doing a better job than your competitors. But in order to stand out from your competitor, you need to know what they're doing, and how that aligns with industry standards.  You can achieve this with excellent competitor mapping.

 Not sure how to determine what your competitors are doing, and how impacts your overall business strategy? In this article, we're covering the ins-and-outs of competitor mapping, and how you can use it to go above and beyond your competitors. 

What is Competitor Mapping?

Competitive mapping is a form of competitor research. It involves the visualization the competitive position of competitors' brands, products, and services in relation to your own. You can use it to compare and evaluate a variety of factors like quality of product and services, pricing, and website user experiences.

How to Do Competitor Mapping

Now that you know what competitive mapping is, you're probably wondering how you can sue this competitor research style to your advantage. Here are the steps you need to take to execute successful competitive mapping.

Define Your Competitors

Before you start, the first thing you need to do is to create a list of competitive businesses. There are two types of competitors you can evaluate: direct competitors and indirect competitors.

Direct competitors are competitors who offer very similar products to you.  A popular example would be Coke vs Pepsi. Knowing what they're doing is important because it helps you better understand how they're interacting with your potential customers.

Indirect competitors serve up different products to solve the same customer need. An example would be a gym membership vs fitness equipment. Knowing indirect competitors is important because it helps you see the ways in which other people are trying to solve the same problem you are.

There are many ways to identify your competitors.  You can do quick Google and Amazon searches or use websites like Keyword Spy and ReferenceUSA. Either way, your goal should be to cast as wide a net as possible to get a comprehensive look at the competitive landscape.

Categorize Your Competitors

Once you've identified your competitors, you'll need to categorize them. This will help you prioritize them and determine which ones you should be looking at most closely.

The easiest way to categorize your competitors would be to break them down into the following buckets: primary competition, secondary competition, and tertiary competition.

 Primary competition is essentially direct competition, with the competitor targeting the same audience with the same types of products or services. Secondary competitors are companies who offer either a high-end or low-end version of your product, so their target audience differs a bit. 

Tertiary competitors are only slightly related to your business but evaluating them can be helpful if you ever plan on diversifying your product offering.

As you conduct your research, try to keep everything organized in a spreadsheet or database. Don't forget to include the business basics like the name of the store, their location, and their general product offering. This will make it easy for you to refer back to your findings at any time or share them with other stakeholders.

Not sure how many competitors to evaluate in your research? Start with 10. That'll give you a good idea as to what the competitive landscape looks like.

Examine Competitive Experiences

After you categorize your competitors, you'll want to examine them. You can either look at a specific product or feature you want more insight on or look at the overall website and customer service experience.

Here are some important things you should evaluate during your mapping exercise:

  • Is their website optimized for mobile?
  • What contact methods do they offer?
  • Where are their call to actions?
  • How do they display visual product information?
  • How detailed are their product descriptions?
  • How is your pricing compared to theirs?

By answering these questions, you can start comparing your company against your competitors.  It'll also help you better understand how your competitors are communicating with your shared customers.

It's important to note that each website and competitor will answer these questions differently. That's because they'll slightly differ on their target market and product offering. This exercise is simply to help you get a better idea of the competitive landscape, as well as the ways you can differentiate yourself from competitors.

Identify Your Competitor's Market Positioning

Once you've done your basic evaluation, it's time to dig into your competitors' marketing approach. Review their websites, and pay special attention to marketing and advertising messages. See how they make their product and brand seem different.

Learn what features and benefits they push the most. Knowing these things will help you make your brand seem unique in comparison.

It's also important to check out their social media to see how they interact with customers. Review the content they post, how often they post, and which social media platforms they use.

Summarize Your Findings

After you've compiled your research, it's time to turn it into findings. Take all the information you've gathered and use it to identify areas of for improvement for your business. Look at how your business stacks up when it comes to things like content, search engine optimization, and social media engagement.

It's best to summarize your findings in a summary document that identify the goals of the research and findings.  Prioritize your list of high-level takeaways, notable findings, as well as a list of recommendations and next steps. Also, link to any screenshots you've collected as you can use them for reference at a later time.

By doing this, you can communicate your competitive mapping efforts in the most effective way possible. This will help everyone better understand what you need to do to stay ahead of competitors.

Not sure how to benchmark your company against competitors? To learn more about peer benchmarking and how DealStruck handles it, visit the website.

Final Thoughts on Competitive Mapping

If you want to be the best in your industry, you need to know what your competitors are doing. Competitor mapping helps you quickly identify industry trends and adapt so you can get ahead of your competitors. By following the tips and best practices in this article, you can make your business the best it can be.

Did you find the information in this article helpful? Want to read other interesting articles? Check out articles on finance, computers and Internet, and more!


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