The blog for the Fundamentals of Marketing & Advertising course

Competitive Analysis – homework due 2/15/10

Posted in Competitive analysis by Jennifer McDowell on February 9, 2010

As we discussed a few weeks ago, the Competitive Analysis is the second sub-section in the Situation Analysis of the marketing plan. The purpose for the competitive analysis is twofold:

  1. It identifies and describes your company or brand’s strongest competitors.
  2. It offers a strategic evaluation of opportunities and threats that exist because of these competitors.

The competitive analysis should answer the following questions:

  1. What is the competitor’s name, brief history and financial position?
  2. What is the competitor’s business model? (Is it a small business, national or global chain, or franchise operation? Is it a category leader? Does it compete on the basis of lowest price, best reputation, most prestigious brands, or best customer service?)
  3. What do the consumers/buyers in your target market segments like about the competitor?
  4. What do the consumers/buyers in your target market segments dislike about the competitor?
  5. Does the competitor offer a ‘market substitute’? In other words, do your target markets consider the competitor’s offering to be practically equivalent to yours?

You can find answers to these questions using annual reports, press releases and other information from company websites. You can also sometimes find this information in business news stories and industry articles or reports.  This information should be available online or through our library’s databases.

Remember to keep track of your sources! Sources should be cited using MLA format in your final marketing plan.

Once your research is complete, you will be able to draft a profile for each competitor. The profile is a two- or three-paragraph narrative description of the competitor’s history and current business strategy, including its appeal to your target market segments.

Compare these profiles against each other and your business or brand to determine the market opportunities and threats that emerge from the competitive landscape. The Opportunities and Threats sections of the SWOT chart can then be enhanced by this analysis.

Homework due 2/15/10

  • 5 points for completing research described by the questions above, and developing at least two competitor profiles
  • 3 points for drafting a competitor comparison
  • 2 points for revising the opportunities and threats sections of the SWOT chart accordingly