Just imagine the world without Google Maps or traditional maps. You wouldn’t be able to determine your position, and taking every step would involve significant risk.
It is precisely the same in the case of business. Competitor mapping can work as your roadmap and can show you which actions you should take to improve your market position.
However, no map works if it’s not made properly. So the key is to practice competitor mapping so that you are able to discover gaps and find opportunities.
Then, what exactly is competitor mapping: how do you start with it, and how can you use it to your advantage? Here’s what you need to know.
What is competitor mapping?
Competitive analysis is the cornerstone of any thorough market analysis. By gathering information about your competitors, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, you can enhance your competitive advantage.
If you’d like to make things even more understandable, you can use competitor mapping – a visual representation of competitive analysis. It’s a handy tool if you, e.g. launch a new product or service and want to know the relationship between two variables that customers consider while making a purchase decision.
Conducting this type of analysis will allow you to quickly identify your competition’s strategies to provide value to the target audience. Then, once you’ve done your competitor mapping, you can use alternative methods and attract potential customers.
For instance, competitor mapping can look like this:
Why should you use competitor mapping?
Competitor mapping can bring your business many benefits, such as:
- Identifying competitors, analyzing their market position and competitive landscape,
- Showing you the advantages that you have over your competitors,
- Developing market-proven strategies to help you grow,
- Helping you get to know your potential customers’ needs better,
- Preventing unexpected occurrences.
The competitor mapping tool is also helpful for PR campaigns. That way, you can identify your unique selling proposition and see how well your competitors are doing, what coverage they are getting, and how strong their brand sentiment is.
Awareness of these factors allows you to differentiate your message from the competitors and avoid making the same mistakes. Ultimately, competitor mapping will enable you to shape plans, grow, and achieve long-term goals.
Competitor mapping: How can you use it in PR campaigns?
Now we get to the point. Does creating such a map require a lot of effort? This isn’t exactly the case – you just have to follow a few steps to simplify the process.
To efficiently conduct competitor mapping for your business, follow these steps:
Step 1: round up your competitors
The first thing that every business has to do, no matter at which stage they’re at, is finding their closest competition. If you want to conduct a high-quality, competitive analysis, you should include all types of competitors. We can divide them into four groups from near and dear surroundings.
- Direct competition: Your direct competitors are those companies who sell similar goods or services to you. (These are also the companies you usually think of as competition)
Example: McDonald’s and KFC
- Indirect competition: Companies that are indirect competitors sell goods or services in the same category as you, but it differs enough to be a substitute for your product or service.
Example: Coffee and mineral water
- Replacement competition: There are rivals who have different products and goals but use the same consumer resources. (These are the most challenging competitors to identify)
Example: A book and a Playstation game
- SEO competition: Competitors who do not fall into the previous categories but compete with you in search engine results.
Example: Ryanair and skyscanner.net
Also, conduct online research to find competitors that you have absolutely no idea about. Unfortunately, conducting competitor analysis once is not enough. It would help if you looked for new competitors regularly – remember that the market is constantly changing and steadily growing.
Check out their websites, social media, and online presence to discover more about their target audiences and marketing strategies.
To map out your competitors, first, select those companies that sell similar products. The goal here is to determine what these companies are doing right and what they should improve to not repeat their mistakes.
Step 2: Choose an area of your business to review
To conduct competitor mapping, you have to find areas of focus, e.g., social media, product range, pricing policy, etc. This can help you narrow down your research and stay focused on the relevant things within the analysis.
For competitor mapping to be successful, you must understand why you are mapping your competitors and what you are trying to discover.
For instance, if you intend to make a competitor map in the area of social media, you will have to gather as much information as possible about your competition’s social media profiles – the number of reactions, the channels in which they are the most active, and take a closer look at their entire content strategy. By defining your goals, you will know what type of data you need to collect.
It’s also the best time to analyze the competitive landscape. It would help if you concentrated on understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors as well as threats and opportunities in the industry.
What is the best way to do that?
Let’s begin with a SWOT analysis. There are four nouns behind this acronym: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. They can be divided into two groups:
- within your control – strengths and weaknesses, e.g., positive and negative traits of your product,
- out of your control – opportunities, and threats; for example, growing market demand can be an opportunity, a pandemic can be a threat.
SWOT analysis can be done quickly, and more importantly – it gives you the big picture of the market and your competitors. You can’t afford to miss it before creating a competitor map.
Step 3: list your best traits
The next step is to identify your product’s strengths. Consider how others perceive your product or service in comparison to your competitors. You need to know what people think about your brand and product and whether it evokes positive or negative emotions.
Searching for your brand name in Google seems simple, and it might not provide you with all the answers. We recommend using tools like Mediatoolkit for this purpose. It’s a social media monitoring solution that can automatically detect the sentiment of your brand’s mentions – and it will point out whether the post is positive, neutral, or even potentially negative.
Thanks to this, you can quickly identify any unfavorable opinions and react to them. What’s more, you can spot the areas in which you are the best – because they’re the ones your customers talk about the most. So what makes your brand unique? Outstanding customer service, high product quality, or maybe something that you didn’t know about before.
By understanding your brand’s strengths, you can better target your message to reach your audience. With this knowledge, you will be able to communicate with them more effectively.
Step 4: find areas for improvement
The key to taking advantage of your competitors’ activities is to regularly monitor them to find areas in which you can improve. Look for the answers to such questions as: What do they talk about? Which content do they create? How do they engage their audience?
You might feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that you have to gather. No wonder – you, for sure, have many other tasks to do than completing competitive analyses over and over again.
The good news is that a social media monitoring tool allows you to keep track of the behavior of your competitors all over the Internet. This way, you can create a comprehensive, competitive report in seconds. It can include a comparison of your brand performance against the brand that you choose to benchmark against.
When you have access to such a report, drawing conclusions and finding areas of improvement will be effortless and take you minutes.
What is the point of all this? By comparing your products to those of your competitors, you can align your products with market trends. This will benefit your brand performance and make your customers happier.
Step 5: ready to create a competitor map
As soon as all of the data is collected, you can begin preparing your competitor map. First, make a list to visualize the comparisons you’ve made, and on that basis, start to create a competitor map.
It doesn’t have to be a graph – you can even use only the comparison table and draw up two columns on a sheet of paper. First, fill the first column with competitor actions that caught your attention. Next, fill out the second column with your ideas for your approach.
The purpose is to help you identify the gaps in the market, so you can fill them, and ensure that your customers will choose you since you’ll better meet their needs.
Don’t be afraid to compare your success with that of all your competitors. You can use competitor mapping to optimize your brand performance and start noticing the “things” that set you apart from competitors and give you an edge over them.
This visual competitor analysis tool helps you organize the data you collect and make effective decisions about positioning your product or service on the market.
To conduct competitor mapping correctly, you need to complete a thorough competitive analysis first. This is a tool to help you draw appropriate conclusions during competitive analysis, not to replace it.
Keep all this in mind, take the steps discussed above, and get an edge over your competitors.