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Competitor analysis

"what's the other guy up to?"

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What is it?

Competitor analysis is a review and comparison activity - a form of SWOT analysis - where offerings (products, websites, publications and so on) that are considered to be "the competition" (to the project being considered) are examined, discussed, analysed and ranked side by side.


Competitor analysis is as simple as taking a ten (10) minute tour of between five (5) and ten (10) of the most popular competing products showing how typical tasks are achieved.

  • SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis
  • Presentation of quickly collated results to a meeting of stakeholders
  • Discussion of each competitor, with a short summary of the market position generated at the end of the meeting

What's it for?

The purpose of competitor analysis is primarily to identify the strengths and weaknesses of competing products or services to help inform concept development before starting work on designs or prototypes.

How to do competitor analysis
A competitor analysis can either be conducted by anyone at any time, but is aided by the presence of content experts in terms of the SWOT analysis.

There are five key steps involved:

  • Choose - your set of competitor products and/or sites
  • Establish - your set of questions, probes or metrics that you'll use for measurement
  • Analyse - the various offerings using your metrics
  • Synthesize - your findings into summary conclusions
  • Present - and discuss your findings with stakeholders

If you are dealing with web-based products or products advertised on the web then a useful methodology for choosing is as follows:

  • Obtain a set of keywords that describe the service you intend to offer
  • Search the web using a number of different search engines with this set of keywords
  • Make a list of the top ten sites from the results of the different search engines

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