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Competitor analysis templates

How to use competitor analysis templates to get ahead

Analyze your competitors' strengths and weaknesses to gain an edge with our comprehensive competitor analysis template.

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Last updated

13 May 2024

Reviewed by

Hugh Good

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How to use competitor analysis templates to get ahead of the competition 

In business, knowledge is power. If you know the ins and outs of your competitors, you’re in a very strong position to compete with their offerings.

So how do you gain more knowledge to outwit your competition? The simplest, most effective way to uncover your competitors' strategies is through a competitor analysis template.

In this detailed guide, you'll learn how to use a competitor analysis template to surge ahead of the competition and gain a leading edge.

What is a competitor analysis template?

A competitor analysis template is a blueprint that outlines your competitors and their: 

  • Products or services

  • Target market

  • Financial performance

  • Marketing strategies

A competitive analysis template sets you up for researching your competitors’ tiniest details and unique complexities. 

Using a simple competitor analysis template means you can answer crucial questions, including:

  • Who are you competing with, and what are they offering?

  • How does your product or service compare?

  • Do your competitors' marketing strategies and financial performance differ from yours?

  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?

  • What's your unique selling point (USP)? 

  • In what areas are your competitors doing better than you, and how can you level up?

  • What's the overall competitiveness in your industry?

Ultimately, a competitor analysis template allows you to identify your competitors' pain points and use this knowledge to beat them in the market.

Why use a competitor analysis template?

The best place to flesh out a specific competitor analysis is with a template. It acts as an organized, high-level outline, helping you derive valuable insights about your competition. 

Benefits of a competitor analysis template include:

  • Building better product, marketing, and sales strategies

  • Singling out underserved opportunities in the market 

  • Capitalizing on your competitors' weaknesses to grow your market share

  • Allowing you to make informed decisions about your campaigns 

  • Creating sustainable competitive advantages

  • Helping you plan for future investments

One example of a competitive analysis is brand awareness. In a brand awareness analysis, you aim to pinpoint how much of your target market is familiar with the competitor's brand. 

Customers tend to buy what they recognize, and it can be difficult to challenge a well-known brand. Thankfully, with the help of a well-laid-out competitor analysis template, you'll know what it takes to challenge and possibly outsmart your industry’s big names.

Other popular examples of competitor analysis include:

  • Products:

    Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the competitor's products

  • Customer experience:

    Evaluate the customer experience of a product or service 

  • Financials:

    Examine their financial performance and resources

  • Marketing:

    Consider their marketing strategies, such as promotional activities and pricing

8 simple steps for using a competitor analysis template

As there are many competitive analyses, you might want to perform several. Depending on the specific use case, you should tweak your standard competitor analysis template. 

Still, you’ll include some aspects in all use cases, such as:

Step 1: Complete your competitor profile

A template is worth its weight in gold when it shows you exactly what you need to beat. 

Research and pinpoint any product or service that currently solves the problem you’re targeting. Then, write a short profile for each competitor.

Each competitor profile might include:

  • The company's market share and revenue

  • The company's size 

  • Information about their management team

  • An overview of how customers perceive the company

  • A broad description of the company's strengths and weaknesses

This information will help you get a big-picture view of the market landscape.

Tip: To find competitors in your market, use Google or Amazon to look up your product or service. The top results that come up are likely your rivals. 

Take note of direct and indirect competitors to see how new markets affect your business. If you're new in the industry or serve a niche market, you might need to dive deeper into the rankings to discover your competitors.

Step 2: Describe your competitors' product or service information

The product information section is arguably the most crucial part of the competitor analysis. Break your products and competitors' products down to the last detail to clearly define what sets everyone apart.

An obvious inclusion in this section is the price points of your offerings and your competitors'.

Other than that, you might want to include attributes such as:

  • Product/service features

  • Number of features

  • Quality

  • Ease of use

  • Durability

  • Warranties

  • Value

  • Style

  • Brand/image/style

  • Customer service

Tip: You may have multiple products to analyze, but focusing on your competitor’s flagship product is often important. This is typically the first product they launched, the core solution to customer issues, and likely their highest-selling product.

Step 3: Include details about their target audience

You can only use a competitor analysis template with extensive target audience research. This is all about gathering information to understand your competitors' target customers, as these are likely the same customers you’re selling to.

When doing your target audience analysis, consider the following factors:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Education

  • Location

  • Income

  • Occupation

  • Marital status

The data paints a basic image of your competitors' buyer persona's day-to-day tasks, activities, and buying decisions, familiarizing you with their core customers. Include all these details in your template. 

Somewhere down the line, you can use this information to influence your business and marketing decisions, allowing you to plan for unforeseen market disruptions.

Tip: Demographic factors like age and gender tell you who is buying your competitors' products or services, while psychographics reveal why they buy them. Psychographics cover attitudes, personality, values, interests, hobbies, and more. 

Step 4: Gather information about your competitors' marketing strategy

Knowing the nuts and bolts of your competitors' marketing strategy is a great way to identify their strengths and weaknesses. You can use these to improve your marketing strategy, so this is an absolute must-have in your template.

Here are the specific aspects of your competitors' strategies to keep an eye on:

  • Website:

    • What tone do they use? 

    • Do they have a CTA in their meta description?

    Pay attention to their titles and meta descriptions: 

  • Packaging:

    What's unique about their product's logo, shape, graphics, or messaging?

  • SEO performance:

    Focus on their most valuable organic content, existing rankings, past rankings, and their backlink profile.

  • Ads:

     Where are they spending their money? What's their copy like? Do they purchase display ads?

  • Analytics data:

     Assess their visitor and page view performance, traffic volume, site referrals, and most shared content.

  • Social media:

     Check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels to understand what they're doing.

  • Newsletters:

     Sign up for their newsletter and pay close attention to their signup process, onboarding, and targeted e-mails.

Tip: The more exhaustive this section is, the closer you are to nailing your marketing strategy. So include as many details as you can. Use competitor research tools to get accurate numbers if you have the budget.

Step 5: Lay out their financials

Another section that you should include in your competitive analysis template is financial performance. You already know your competitors' pricing structure at this point, so you'll want to look further into their financials. 

Some of the details you should seek out and incorporate into your template include:

Revenue

Make sites like Crunchbase, YCharts, and Mattermark your ally. They can compile many relevant data points you’d normally find on a financial statement.

Targets and sales

You can estimate rival sales targets and actuals by collecting and combining figures posted publicly on Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor.

Pricing

If you need more pricing data, use advanced Google search (company name + pricing) to uncover the financial data you're looking for. 

Alternatives are G2Crowd, Get App, and TrustRadius—these websites compile user reviews for thousands of software products, and you can use the pricing filter to get the data you need.

Tip: Financial statements are teeming with jargon. It can be overwhelming to understand everything, but an excellent financial dictionary can help.

Step 6: Compile information about the market

What's your competitors' percentage of market share? What's yours? List that information under this section of your template. 

It's also prudent to gather additional market information, such as:

  • Web presence:

    How popular are your competitors' websites compared to yours?

  • Market position:

    How are your competitors positioned in the market? What about you?

  • Overall competitiveness:

    Are there any new companies threatening the market? Has an existing company recently revamped its product offering to gain the upper hand? 

Tip: Making assumptions without exploring certain trends is a recipe for disaster. Always make decisions based on numbers, studies, and solid facts, not guesswork.

Step 7: Perform a SWOT analysis

Here, you'll get to really compare your company against your competitors. A SWOT analysis allows you to identify your company's strengths and weaknesses. You can turn these weaknesses into opportunities while assessing threats from your competition.

During a SWOT analysis, ask:

  • Strengths:

    What do we do best? What advantages do we have?

  • Weaknesses:

    What could we improve? What disadvantages do we have?

  • Opportunities:

     How can we turn our strengths and weaknesses into opportunities? What gaps in the market could we fill today?

  • Threats:

     What obstacles do we face? Could any of our weaknesses prevent our team from meeting our goals?

Tip: The information you gathered in the previous steps will be helpful for your SWOT analysis. Go back as many times as you need to. 

Step 8: Determine your competitive advantage

It's time to answer the most critical questions of all: 

  • What gives you an edge over the competition? 

  • What areas set you apart from the competition?

  • How can you continue to capitalize on these areas? 

With steps 1-7 already locked in, you have more than enough information to accurately define your competitive advantage.

Tip: Ensure facts back up your competitive advantage. If you don't envision that advantage eliciting an enthusiastic response from potential clients, investors, or stakeholders, repeat the step until you get it right. 

After all, your competitive advantage is your value proposition and will become the defining statement of your company in the long haul.

Analyze the result of competitor analysis in Dovetail

Using a template to identify, assess, and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a company's competitors in Dovetail can help you gain a competitive advantage in less time. This template sets you up with first researching then analyzing a competitor's products, services, target market, marketing strategies, financial performance, and overall competitiveness in the industry.

Wrapping up

There you have it—a deep dive into using a competitor analysis template to get ahead of the competition.

Learning about your competitors' weaknesses and strengths can give you the tools to boost your market strategy. If you don't know what you're up against, you can't beat them. 

Be sure to include space in each section for information about your company and competitors to make the most of your template. 

Competitor analysis template

Use a competitor analysis template to get ahead of the competition

Use template

FAQs

How do I run a competitive analysis with my template?

To run a competitive analysis with your template, research and fill in the blanks on the following: 

  • Product and target audience data

  • Marketing strategy

  • Financials

  • Market information

  • A SWOT analysis

This information makes creating a complete comparison of your company and your competitors easy.

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