6 Steps for Identifying Your Top Competitors | Conductor (2023)

Competitive research is the backbone of a strong marketing strategy. After all, if you can’t identify your competitors and their marketing tactics, you’ll struggle to differentiate yourself and your product from the crowd.

But how do marketers identify their primary competitors and their strategies? Here is our five-step strategy for how to identify your competitors, research your competition, and channel it into powerful marketing that meets your customers needs.

How to Find Your Competitors

Finding your competitors doesn’t have to be taxing or complicated. The first step to finding your competitors is to differentiate between your direct and indirect competition. Here’s how we define each:

What is Direct Competition?

Direct competition is a term that refers to the companies or publishers who sell or market the same products as your business. Your customers will often evaluate both you and your direct competitors before making a purchase decision or converting.

What is Indirect Competition?

Indirect competition is a term that refers to the companies or publishers that don’t sell or market the same products, but are in competition with your business digitally. They may write the same type of content as you and be competing for the same keywords. In short, they are competing for your customers’ attention.

6 Steps for Identifying Your Top Competitors | Conductor (1)

As you craft your marketing strategy, you need to be aware of both your indirect and your direct competition. Let’s discuss three ways to identify both your direct and indirect competitors.

(Video) Identifying Your Competitors

How to Identify Direct Competitors

When identifying competitors who are in direct competition to your business, you’ll want to start with your product. A thorough understanding of your product and the value it provides to your audience or customers is crucial to identifying your direct competition.

If you work for a sneaker brand, for example, you are not simply in competition with other sneaker brands. You’re also in competition with large shoe retailers, and any other brands and business that are creating footwear. Only by looking at your product and evaluating its value (you need to know not just that your sneakers cover and protect feet, for example, but also that people might evaluate them for durability, athletic use, and style), will you realize the full scope of your competition.

A few effective techniques for identifying direct competitors:

1. Market Research

Take a look at the market for your product and evaluate which other companies are selling a product that would compete with yours. Talk to your sales team and find out which competitors they see come up often in their sales process. From there, you’ll be able to take a closer look at those companies, their product and marketing efforts, and create strategies to outperform them.

2. Solicit Customer Feedback

Again, your customers are the key to unlocking your direct competitors. Once they’ve decided on your business and product, you can ask them which other businesses/products they were evaluating. Customers often reveal unexpected competitors that aren’t even on your radar.

In addition, during the sales process your sales team can also ask your potential customers which businesses they are considering. If they haven’t decided on your product yet, your team will be able to speak to their needs better if you know which businesses or products they are considering.

3. Check Online Communities on Social Media or Community Forums

In this day and age, your potential customers will often seek out advice and recommendations on social media sites and apps, or on community forums like Quora or Reddit. By investigating the conversations your customers have on these websites, you’ll be able to further identify your competitors.

(Video) Top 3 Ways to TRACK Your Amazon Competitors | FBA Research Strategies (2022)

This is especially true for any marketers speaking to millennial audiences. Research by Deloitte shows that 50% of millennials report that a recommendation from a friend or family member has a high influence on their buying decision. And 27% of both millennials and Gen Z feel an online recommendation from someone in their social media circle has a high influence on their buying decisions.

6 Steps for Identifying Your Top Competitors | Conductor (2)

But enough about your direct competitors. What about the competitors you don’t even know about yet? How do you identify your indirect competitors?

How to Identify Indirect Competitors

Your indirect competitors have just as much influence on your selling process as your direct competitors. In fact, because your indirect competitors are often writing content that competes with yours, they have an even greater effect on potential customers in the early stages of the buyer’s journey. So how do you discover them and track them effectively?

1. Keyword Research

Keyword research is the best way to identify your indirect competition. By conducting a competitive SEO analysis, you can determine which businesses or publishers are competing for space on Google. After all, many of your customers are looking for your products and solutions by typing them into search engines. For today’s marketer, that means that you’re in competition not only with your direct competitors but with every other website competing for keywords important for your business.

If you are currently using an SEO platform or technology, you may find that your SEO technology can help you identify competitors with data and insights. For example, Conductor’s SEO Platformcan provide a high-level look at the keywords your direct competition is targeting. It also can tell you which websites are ranking for a keyword important your business. These represent your indirect competitors.

6 Steps for Identifying Your Top Competitors | Conductor (3)

(Video) Competitive Analysis: How To Hack It In 6 Steps

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If you’re working manually, check out our guide to scoping out your competition through keyword research, A Step-By-Step Guide to Competitive Analysis.

2. Analyzing Google’s Search Engine Results Page

When it comes down to it, many of your indirect competitors are writing about topics close to your value proposition. If you examine the value proposition of your product, you’ll be able to identify keywords that are central to your product or offering. From there, type the keywords into Google and see who is competing with your content on search engines. Anyone writing content around your value proposition, represents a person, blog, business, publication, or organization that is the indirect competition of your business.

3. Take a Look at Paid Data

If you’ve taken the first two steps on this list, step three should be a breeze. Head into AdWords and scan those keywords that are important to your business. Is there a lot of competition for any of those keywords? If there is, check out which businesses or websites are purchasing ads for those keywords. If websites are paying for paid space on the search engine results page for a keyword, they’re competing with your content for space on Google.

You may find that, as you dive into the paid data, the websites purchasing ads are new competitors you weren’t aware of before. Those also might be known as, say it with me: your indirect competition.

How to Identify Marketing Opportunities Based on Competitor Research

After you’ve identified your competitors, you’ll want to identify marketing opportunities so you can start outperforming and outranking them.

Again, at this stage, keyword research can really help you decide where to put your efforts. If your competitors are targeting specific keywords with their content, where is there opportunity to outperform them? Are they implementing a particularly strong keyword strategy? What insights can you glean from that?

(Video) How to Analyze Competitors, Reveal Their Flaws, And Beat Them | Small Business Tips.

Similarly, by looking at your competitor’s social media presence, you can evaluate where they’re focusing their attention and efforts. From there, you can look toward opportunities to either compete with them directly for attention around specific topics or questions, or differentiate your approach by looking for gaps in their content or new angles to approach questions your audience is posing.

Lastly, you can always go back to paid data. If your indirect or direct competitors are putting money behind ads, you can be sure those keywords represent important business initiatives. This will also provide insight into where your competition is placing their efforts and money. From there, it’s up to you to craft marketing strategies to compete.

When it comes to marketing and competition, it is absolutely essential to approach competitive analysis strategically. You have all the tools you need to develop a thorough understanding of your direct and indirect competition, and build a stronger marketing strategy based on that knowledge. So what are you waiting for?

To get started analyzing your indirect competition, check out our guide to the SEO competitive analysis.

To learn more about steps you can take to complete a competitive analysis, read about these useful SEO platform features. Or request a free demo to see them in action.

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  • The SEO Content Creation Process: A How to Guide
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FAQs

What are the 5 steps to Analyse your competitor? ›

How to conduct a competitive analysis in 5 steps
  1. Identify your competitors. This sounds straightforward, but in fact there are different kinds of competitors to consider. ...
  2. Gather information about your competitors. ...
  3. Analyze your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. ...
  4. Determine your competitive advantage.

How do I identify my competitors? ›

You can get clues to the existence of competitors from:
  1. local business directories.
  2. your local Chamber of Commerce.
  3. advertising.
  4. press reports.
  5. exhibitions and trade fairs.
  6. questionnaires.
  7. searching on the Internet for similar products or services.
  8. information provided by customers.

How do you answer a competitor question? ›

How to Answer Questions About Your Competition
  1. Don't talk bad about competition. There's a lot of risk when it comes to talking behind your competitors' backs. ...
  2. Focus on your strengths. Whenever I'm asked about our competition, I always start by saying with a couple facts I know about the company. ...
  3. Get personal.
14 Nov 2014

What are the 6 ways by which companies can differentiate their products from a competitor? ›

Our research indicates there are six primary ways to differentiate, including product, service, channels of distribution, relationships, reputation/image, and price.

Why is it important to identify your competitors? ›

A competitor analysis is important because: It will help you recognise how you can enhance your own business strategy. It will tell you how you can out-do your competitors in these areas to keep your customer attention. Resulting in a competitive edge over others in your sector.

What are the 5 types of competitive strategies? ›

Learning about competitive strategy may help you implement specific types of it within your teams.
...
Here are four types of competitive strategy and an example for each:
  • Cost leadership strategy. ...
  • Differentiation leadership strategy. ...
  • Cost focus strategy. ...
  • Differentiation focus strategy.

What are the 3 basic competitive strategies? ›

According to Porter's Generic Strategies model, there are three basic strategic options available to organizations for gaining competitive advantage. These are: Cost Leadership, Differentiation and Focus.

What are the five types of competitor? ›

There are 5 types of competitors: direct, potential, indirect, future, and replacement. Direct competitors are competitors who are directly vying for your customers.

How do you identify customers and competitors? ›

How to conduct competitor customer research
  1. Customer websites. A lot of the information you need is easy to find. ...
  2. Resume databases. Resume databases such as Indeed can help you find people who claim to have used your competitors' products. ...
  3. Social media. ...
  4. Software company research. ...
  5. Conferences and exhibitions.
14 Nov 2022

What do you mean by identification of competitors? ›

This Competitor Identification & Analysis is a method of identifying your own and your competitors' strengths, weaknesses, and strategies, and creating an action plan to improve your market position.

How do you identify competitors in strategic management? ›

How to do a competitor analysis
  1. Identify your competitors. ...
  2. Create a competitor matrix. ...
  3. Gather background information. ...
  4. Profile your competition's target customers. ...
  5. Focus on the 4 P's. ...
  6. Analyze strengths and weaknesses—yours and your competitors'

How do you handle competitors at work? ›

Ways to manage having a competitive coworker
  1. Be direct. Consider addressing your coworker about their behavior. ...
  2. Extend kindness. Rather than participate in workplace competition, be kind to a difficult coworker. ...
  3. Develop relationships. ...
  4. Do your best. ...
  5. Maintain your integrity. ...
  6. Keep records. ...
  7. Speak to a manager. ...
  8. Move on.

How do you solve competitors problems? ›

The data insights you need to beat your competition
  1. Understand the Competition. ...
  2. Highlight Your Difference. ...
  3. Clarify Your Message. ...
  4. Ensure Your Branding Reinforces Your Messaging. ...
  5. Target New Markets. ...
  6. Look After Your Existing Customers. ...
  7. Explore Partnership Opportunities. ...
  8. Keep Innovating.

How do you write a good competitor analysis? ›

6 Steps to Performing a Competitive Analysis
  1. Identify competitors. Make smart decisions. ...
  2. Analyze competitors' online presence. Subscribe to our newsletter, Midnight Oil. ...
  3. Check online reviews. ...
  4. Talk to competitors' customers. ...
  5. Identify their strengths and weaknesses. ...
  6. Use research tools.
5 Apr 2021

What are the six competitive advantages? ›

Competitive advantages are associated with various factors, including quality, branding, cost structure, intellectual property, technological innovation, or customer service.

What are the 4 major competitive strategies? ›

4 Types of Competitive Strategies
  • Cost leadership strategy. It suits large businesses that can produce a big volume of products at a low cost, and that is why Walmart implemented this strategy. ...
  • Differentiation leadership strategy. ...
  • Cost focus strategy. ...
  • Differentiation focus strategy.
15 Jul 2022

What are the 4 different methods of competitive advantage? ›

The four primary methods of gaining a competitive advantage are cost leadership, differentiation, defensive strategies and strategic alliances.

How will you compete with your competitors? ›

10 Tactics to Beat Your Competitors
  • Know the Competition. You can have no idea how you're better if you don't get to know the competition. ...
  • Figure Out How You're Different. ...
  • Look for an Underserved Group. ...
  • Know Your Audience. ...
  • Make Strategic Alliances. ...
  • Catch Them off Guard. ...
  • Ditch the Sales Pitch.
21 Dec 2016

What are the 8 competitive priorities? ›

Competitive Priorities in Operations with Examples
  • Expertise in Product or Service.
  • Fast Delivery Speed/ Time.
  • Flexibility in Production. Volume Flexibility. Customization.
  • Less Cost-based Production and Processes.
  • Quality.
  • Product Variety and Product Mix.

What are the 9 competitive priorities? ›

There are 9 competitive priorities for success in the marketplace. Why would a company not...
  • Low-cost operation.
  • Top Quality.
  • Consistent Quality.
  • Delivery Speed.
  • On-Time Delivery.
  • Development Speed.
  • Customization.
  • Variety.

What are 8 ways to achieve competitive advantage? ›

Match
  1. Reduce costs. ...
  2. Raise barriers to market entrants. ...
  3. Establish high switching costs. ...
  4. Create new products or services. ...
  5. Differentiate products or services. ...
  6. Enhance products or services. ...
  7. Establish alliances. ...
  8. Lock in suppliers or buyers.

What are the 5 areas of competitive advantage? ›

Sources of Competitive Advantage
  • Product Attribute Differentiation. One way to gain an advantage over competitors is by differentiating your product from theirs. ...
  • Customers' Willingness to Pay. ...
  • Price Discrimination. ...
  • Bundled Pricing. ...
  • Human Capital.
10 Nov 2020

What is a good competitive strategy? ›

Building a Competitive Advantage

Michael Porter, the famous Harvard Business School professor, identified three strategies for establishing a competitive advantage: Cost Leadership, Differentiation, and Focus (which includes both Cost Focus and Differentiation Focus)[1].

What are the 7 elements of the competitor intelligence system? ›

The Competitive Intelligence Division encompasses all aspects of competitive intelligence including: (1) planning, (2) identifying decision makers's intelligence needs, (3) collecting and analyzing information, (4) disseminating intelligence products and services, (5) evaluating intelligence activities, (6) promoting ...

What are the 4 of competition? ›

There are four types of competition in a free market system: perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and monopoly. Under monopolistic competition, many sellers offer differentiated products—products that differ slightly but serve similar purposes.

What are the factors of competitors? ›

From a microeconomics perspective, competition can be influenced by five basic factors: product features, the number of sellers, barriers to entry, information availability, and location.

What are the best steps to identify customers? ›

To identify the characteristics of your ideal customers, start with any data you've gathered about your best customers.
...
If your business sells to consumers, that information may include:
  1. Age.
  2. Gender.
  3. Marital status.
  4. Race/ethnicity.
  5. Income.
  6. Occupation.
  7. Location.
  8. Life stage.
28 Jun 2019

What are the factors to consider in identifying potential competitors essay? ›

Laying Down the Competitor Analysis Framework
  • Find Your Competitors. First, you need to identify who your competitors are. ...
  • Organize the Data. ...
  • Websites and Reviews. ...
  • Digital Marketing Tactics. ...
  • The Price Factor. ...
  • Social Media Activity.
25 Feb 2020

What are the 3 types of competitors explain each? ›

3 Types of Competitors in Business
  • Direct competitors. A direct competitor probably comes to mind when you think of your competition. ...
  • Indirect competitors. Indirect competitors are businesses in the same category that sell different products or services to solve the same problem. ...
  • Replacement competitors.
20 Jan 2022

How do you stay on top of competitors? ›

5 Ways To Stay On Top Of Your Competition
  1. Study and Understand Your Competitors. Knowing where your competitors stand will help you devise strategies for outclassing them. ...
  2. Determine and Address Your Customers' Needs. ...
  3. Be Innovative. ...
  4. Put in Place a Plan for Growth. ...
  5. Make Your Customer Support Highly Responsive. ...
  6. Conclusion.
6 Oct 2020

How do you deal with strong competitors? ›

8 tips for dealing with competitors
  1. Do the market research before you launch. ...
  2. Beware of 'no competitors' ...
  3. Know your past and future competitors. ...
  4. Figure out your competitive differentiation. ...
  5. Keep track of your competition, but ignore the noise. ...
  6. Accept and play "The Idea Exchange" game. ...
  7. Build relationship with your competitors.
13 May 2016

How can I improve my relationship with my competitors? ›

Here are some ideas for harnessing the power of competition:
  1. Create social media relationships. ...
  2. Refer the clients you can't help to your competitors. ...
  3. Share your knowledge at conferences. ...
  4. Find common enemies. ...
  5. Conduct research together. ...
  6. Make a personal connection.
13 Dec 2019

What are the common mistakes in identifying competitors? ›

When conducting competitive analysis, it's important to make sure it's done effectively and efficiently.
  • Mistake 1: Not knowing who all of the competitors are or only choosing one. ...
  • Mistake 2: Not doing keyword research or monitoring Google search rank.

How can I cooperate with my competitors in order to succeed? ›

For example, while many companies represent direct competition, especially in local markets, they might also represent positive growth opportunities.
...
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
  1. Create a virtual enterprise. ...
  2. Look for niche strategic partnerships. ...
  3. Think big. ...
  4. Shake hands with the competition.
18 Apr 2019

How do you write a competitor analysis in a business plan example? ›

What to include in a competitive analysis
  • A description of your company's target market.
  • Details about your product or service versus the competitors'
  • Current and projected market share, sales, and revenues.
  • Pricing comparison.
  • Marketing and social media strategy analysis.
  • Differences in customer ratings.
8 Jun 2022

What are the 5 types of competition? ›

Before we start on the ways that you can identify your competitors, let's first talk about the types of competition that you have in the field. There are 5 types of competitors: direct, potential, indirect, future, and replacement.

What are the 4 types of competitors? ›

There are four types of competition in a free market system: perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and monopoly. Under monopolistic competition, many sellers offer differentiated products—products that differ slightly but serve similar purposes.

What are the 6 categories for competitive events? ›

With six categories of competitive events (Health Science, Health Professions, Emergency Preparedness, Leadership, Teamwork, and Recognition,) HOSA has a competitive event for everyone!

What are the 5 basic factors that influence competition? ›

From a microeconomics perspective, competition can be influenced by five basic factors: product features, the number of sellers, barriers to entry, information availability, and location.

How will you manage your competitors? ›

8 tips for dealing with competitors
  1. Do the market research before you launch. ...
  2. Beware of 'no competitors' ...
  3. Know your past and future competitors. ...
  4. Figure out your competitive differentiation. ...
  5. Keep track of your competition, but ignore the noise. ...
  6. Accept and play "The Idea Exchange" game. ...
  7. Build relationship with your competitors.
13 May 2016

What are the 5 ways that businesses compete with each other? ›

Types of competition in business
  • They operate within the same industry.
  • They provide the same or similar products or services.
  • They target the same audience of consumers.
  • They satisfy the same customer need.
  • They use the same channel of distribution.
15 Jun 2021

What are the methods of competition? ›

Tip. The four primary methods of gaining a competitive advantage are cost leadership, differentiation, defensive strategies and strategic alliances.

What are the elements of competitors? ›

A competitive analysis should examine your competitors' features, market share, pricing, marketing, differentiators, strengths, weaknesses, geography, culture and customer reviews.

What are the three factors while doing a competitors analysis? ›

As the name suggests, competitive analysis is the process of identifying your competitors, evaluating their product and marketing strategies, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately determining how your company stacks up against them.

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