Business Competitive Analysis: What Is It and How To Conduct a Successful Assessment

Business Competitive Analysis: What Is It and How To Conduct a Successful Assessment

Most businesses are well aware that they compete with others for a share of their market. 

But how many really understand the full picture of their competition? Enter a business competitive analysis.

There may be plenty you have learned about your competitors over time through...

  • Hearsay through customers
  • Intel from industry contacts
  • Your own informal research and poking around 

Because of this you probably have shaped a general profile of your top competitors. 

However, there is real value in aggregating all the relevant information about the competitive landscape. 

Through a business competitive analysis, you can make informed decisions to help put your business in the best position in the market.

What is a Business Competitive Analysis?

A business competitive analysis, also known as a competitive assessment, is a form of market research that builds a detailed understanding of the competitors of your business. 

A business competitive analysis ultimately reveals how your business stacks up against your competition.

You can even think of it as a SWOT analysis but with all the nitty-gritty details such as:

  • Identify your business’ strengths and core competencies
  • Understand your business’ weaknesses within the context of your competitive set
  • Discover new opportunities in the market where you can take your business
  • Hone in on potential threats from competitors or other external forces

A holistic view of how your business fits within the competitive landscape is essential to staying relevant and successful. Without it as a prerequisite to building your business strategy, you might be flying blind.

A holistic view of how your business fits within the competitive landscape is essential to staying relevant and successful. Without it as a prerequisite to building your business strategy, you might be flying blind.

What are the Approaches to a Business Competitive Analysis?

A business competitive analysis is usually never just a single-component study. 

To capture that full understanding of the competition, your business will need to use a variety of approaches.

Secondary Research

The most common approach may be leveraging public resources to conduct secondary research (or desk research). 

This process typically involves scouring the internet to learn as much information as possible about the market competition. 

Common secondary research sources include: 

  • Competitor’s websites
  • Business directories
  • News articles
  • Press releases
  • Whitepapers

The idea is also to use as many free resources as you can to keep project costs low. 

You may be surprised how much you can learn from publicly available sources! 

Of course, there may also be key information that is best accessed via a one-time fee or paid subscription to help round out the analysis.

Primary Research

For the data points you cannot seem to find online, you may need to consider conducting primary research as part of the business competitive analysis. 

Some information about your competitors may only be learned through mystery shopping, in-depth interviews, or surveys

For example, having a trained mystery shopper test the buying journey of a competitor can provide valuable insights into competitive customer experiences. 

Phone calls, emails, online purchases, and in-person visits concerning a competitor’s business help to fill in the information gaps left by formal publications.

Recommended Reading: Primary Research - What Is It and Why It's Important

Why Work with a Third Party to Conduct a Business Competitive Analysis?

You may be reading this and thinking it sounds easy enough to conduct internally at your business. 

While it is true that some secondary research can be completed DIY, there are many aspects of a business competitive analysis that may be best trusted with a third-party market research firm.

Here’s why. 

1. Integrity of Data

Above all else, working with a third-party to complete a business competitive analysis ensures the integrity of the collected data. 

Especially in the case of mystery shopping, your business runs the risk of revealing itself as the sponsor of the research if it is performed in-house. 

Competitors may alter or withhold information from you if you fail to present yourself as an actual customer. 

Market research firms ensure mystery shoppers receive thorough training to obtain the desired data without arousing suspicion of a competitor’s involvement.

2. Prevent Bias

Using a market research firm also helps prevent any bias from preexisting attitudes within your business. 

A third-party can be entrusted to acquire information objectively. Questions are designed to not be leading in any way. 

All information (good, bad, and neutral) is treated equally and aggregated for the final reporting.

3. Earn Back More Time and Resources

Lastly, there is a significant amount of work required to conduct a comprehensive business competitive analysis. 

Complex analyses can take tens if not hundreds of hours combing through public resources and managing mystery shopping efforts. 

Why not let the experts handle this arduous task so you can focus on the important functions of your business?

In the end, your business receives a detailed report and/or database that neatly organizes and summarizes all the competitive intelligence gathered during the study.

For more on business competitive business analyses, read our market research firm’s ultimate guide to conducting a competitor analysis.

Contact Our Business Competitive Analysis Firm

Drive Research is a full-service market research company located in New York. Our team partners with brands across the country to conduct business competitive assessments including both primary and secondary research.

Interested in partnering with our team? Contact us today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

tim gell - about the author

Tim Gell

As a Research Analyst, Tim is involved in every stage of a market research project for our clients. He first developed an interest in market research while studying at Binghamton University based on its marriage of business, statistics, and psychology.

Learn more about Tim, here.

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