By Michael Fischler
Competitive intelligence is a critical
component to many marketing
plans and processes. It serves as
a guide to pricing, a guide to
positioning, a guide to whole
product definition, and more. In
fact, most of the issues you’ll deal
with when you start to craft and
plan your own marketing strategies
and tactics are encountered when
you research and report on
And this information is not just part of the domain of marketing.
Competitive information—product, pricing, trends and more—is
used across the organization: by R&D, by sales, by the members
of the board. And it is not just a snapshot either, but an ongoing
datapoint. Competitive analyses need to be performed
periodically—at a rate of frequency that reflects the dynamics of
the marketplace you’re in.
That’s why we’ve chosen to start our series of templates with
competitive analysis—not necessarily because it comes first in a
marketing plan, but because it serves as such a valuable guide
post for topics that come before, and for those the follow.
Compet itive Analysis
The critical area here is to gather as
much objective information as you
can about your competition—as long
as it’s useful. And what is useful will
differ from company to company,
market to market, industry to
industry. A simple example is
enough: If you are a provider of
web services, your competitor’s
facility square footage will not be
meaningful…but it certainly would be
if you’re a manufacturer.
1. WHAT IS THEIR PRODUCT?
Do they provide a directly competitive product or an alternatively
competitive product? By that we mean, does it address a problem
in the same way (one automobile vs. another automobile) or in a
different way (automobile vs. a bicycle).
2. WHAT IS THEIR REVENUE?
Obviously, it’s easy to find this for public companies. Private
companies are much more difficult, although you can assume that