Competition

Competition

You need to know your competition. Not to follow them or to compete with them, but to distinguish yourself from them. Its no use to go into a head-on competition with a powerful market leader. Check for weaknesses in your competitors armor, look for disgruntled customers, dance around your competitors, float like a butterfly and sting like a bee (Mohammed Ali, before his legendary fight against George Foreman in 1974). You can use the Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas to compare yourself with your main competitors. For more traditional competitor analysis see below. Take a look at Abell, Blue Ocean, Customer Value and Pitch & Sales to figure out HOW you want to distinguish yourself from your competitors.

Competitor Analysis

The question 'who are actually my competitors' is not easy to answer. Broadly there are four levels of competition:
  • Need competition (competition between different needs of the customer)
  • Generic competition (competition between providers of different types of products in a single-sufficient)
  • Product form competition (competition between different technical manifestations of the same product)
  • Brands competition (competition between different brands that are each others substitutes)
Examples:
  • Needs competition: buying a new car >< creating a sustainable world
  • Generic competition: traveling by car >< traveling by bus
  • Product form competition: convertible car >< SUV
  • Brands competition: BMW >< Volkswagen
To respond to competition at any given level, organizations have several options. See Strategic Analysing Methods for the strategies formulated by Schüler and Jackson. Porter and Tracy & Wiersema formulate similar strategies under a different name.

Competitor array

One common and useful technique to investigate a market is to construct a competitor array. The steps include:
  • Define your industry - scope and nature of the industry
  • Determine who your competitors are
  • Determine who your customers are and what benefits they expect
  • Determine what the key success factors are in your industry
  • Rank the key success factors by giving each one a weighting - The sum of all the weightings must add up to one.
  • Rate each competitor on each of the key success factors
Multiply each cell in the matrix by the factor weighting. This can best be displayed on a two dimensional matrix - competitors along the top and key success factors down the side. An example of a competitor array follows:

Key Industry

Success Factors

Weighting

Competitor

#1 rating

Competitor

#1 weighted

Competitor

#2 rating

Competitor

#2 weighted

1 - Extensive distribution

.4

6

2.4

3

1.2

2 - Customer focus

.3

4

1.2

5

1.5

3 - Economies of scale

.2

3

.6

3

.6

4 - Product innovation

.1

7

.7

4

.4

Totals

1.0

20

4.9

15

3.7


In this example competitor #1 is rated higher than competitor #2 on product innovation ability (7 out of 10, compared to 4 out of 10) and distribution networks (6 out of 10), but competitor #2 is rated higher on customer focus (5 out of 10). Overall, competitor #1 is rated slightly higher than competitor #2 (20 out of 40 compared to 15 out of 40). When the success factors are weighted according to their importance, competitor #1 gets a far better rating (4.9 compared to 3.7).

Two additional columns can be added. In one column you can rate your own company on each of the key success factors (try to be objective and honest). In another column you can list benchmarks. They are the ideal standards of comparisons on each of the factors. They reflect the workings of a company using all the industry's best practices. (source wikipedia.com).

watch: https://sites.google.com/site/moocmodules/marketing/market-competition-and-alternatives