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competitive analysis

The Real Value Behind A Competitive Analysis

While it’s important to understand what’s happening in your industry, it’s equally important to understand that competitive analysis is about more than comparing creative assets, products, and messaging. There is more to get to the nitty-gritty of what your competition is doing to succeed than simply comparing advertising, marketing tactics, and market share.

Companies conducting competitive analysis do so for various reasons.  Sometimes it’s for benchmarking, other times it’s for inspiration, and often it’s to compare what competitors are doing relative to their existing marketing and sales strategies. Most of the time, however, extremely important factors are missed.

For any business to experience sustainable growth, they must have customers who clearly understand what they do and why they do it. To get the most from your next competitive analysis, look into your competitor’s why, how, and what, as well as the relationships between each factor.

The Why, How and What Factors

  • Does what your competition offer reflect they’re why?  Then why is their motivation, meaning, cause, purpose, belief, or mission?  
  • A company’s how makes what they do special. Does the how express their competitive advantage?   
  • Are there clear, consistent, and cohesive links across everything the company makes, offers, etc.?  Tom’s shoes, for example, embody their whyImproving lives. With every product you purchase, TOMS helps a person in need. One for One.  And their brand umbrella allows them to sell shoes (they’re what), the same way they could sell socks or anything else to advances their cause.  

As another example, Apple champions the democratization of technology.  People buy their products because they believe in what Apple believes in despite the fact that Apple products are not always superior to their competitors.

According to Simon Sinek, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.“If Apple was like everyone else a marketing message might be: We make great computers. They’re user-friendly. Want to buy one?  

Here’s how Apple actually communicates: “In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”  Apple’s products and services support the reason why they do things the way you do and buyers clearly see the connection and relationship between them.

What Happens When A Company’s Why Is Fuzzy?

When the connection between a company’s what and why is disjointed or missing, it becomes fuzzy, and customers get confused.  When a company lacks alignment between expectation and outcome a company’s credibility is questioned and trust diminished.  Perceived inconsistencies signal insincerity, deception, and disingenuous motivation. This problem also disconnects an organization internally from potential synergies and a culture unified by a shared cause, purpose, and belief.

competitive analysisSo find or create your company’s why and weave it throughout sales, marketing, product development, and customer service. A unilateral why will bridge gaps, create synergies, amplify the benefits, and make both marketing and sales more effective. This insight should also be shared with and embraced by product development teams because

decisions about what they create and how they create it should dovetail with your company’s why. Design and develop your website around the company’s why and incorporate it into your marketing copy because it instantly conveys the underlying value of what you’re selling.  Communicating the value (aka the “why”) right off the bat sparks the reader’s intrigue, at which point all you need to do is close the deal with the details (how and what). This flip in sequence can change how people think about your company and why they should do business with you.

When a company’s why is clear, and everything a company offers, makes and communicates is consistent with their what and how, buyers become loyal, more forgiving, and less price sensitive. These customers not only become company evangelists but defendants, should they ever be attacked by competitors.“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have, the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”  The golden circle is about authenticity, trust, and commitment – coincidently the same requirements to any loyal relationship. Adapt and adopt this new ideology as a business and use it as your Northern star.