How to improve your marketing performance using competitor analysis results

Learn how competitor analysis can boost your marketing strategy. Discover key insights and tips on incorporating competitive data for business growth.

Picture of Rob White Rob White

Published: 22 Apr 2024

9 minutes read

Improve your marketing performance using competitor analysis results - Axon Garside

At some point, all of us marketing professionals have conducted competitor analysis.

Whether a quick outlook at the immediate activities of your market rivals, or a deep dive into internal and external factors which could damage your brand reputation, competitor analysis is pivotal to the success of your marketing strategy.

While the importance of competitor analysis is well documented, there’s less focus on what you need to do when you’ve completed the process.

Incorporating the data you’ve gathered about your competitors into your marketing strategy and putting it into action can be an overbearing task, so much so, that key findings often aren’t actioned properly, if at all.

In fact, according to a study conducted by Lefttronic, 88% of all data collected on competitors by businesses is ignored by companies.

This is partially due to things outside of marketing’s direct control such as data silos and a lack of analytical processes or tools.

However, there is an issue at the heart of the above statistic - understanding what information is valuable and what should be excluded from your research.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can uncover the key threads from your analysis that are giving your competitors an edge, and how you can include these insights into your marketing activities to get you ahead of your competition.


If you’re looking for experts who can guide you through this process and help you lead in your sector, book a no-commitment marketing consultation today

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How to conduct competitor analysis

Completing a competitor analysis involves identifying your direct and indirect competitors and evaluating their perceived strengths and weaknesses against your product.

This will help fuel downstream sales and marketing to differentiate your product within your market.

To complete an audit of your competitor landscape, follow these steps:


1. Identify Competitors

First, you need to identify your  key competitors within the vertical you work in and categorise them as follows:

  • Direct competitors - These are competitors that offer the same or similar services. For example, Bing vs Google, or Adidas vs Nike.
  • Indirect competitors - Indirect competitors serve to fulfil the same customer needs but offer a different product or service. For example, a food kiosk serving vegetarian food is an indirect competitor of one selling meat-based products. They both serve hungry customers but specialise in completely different types of products.


2. Establish criteria

Criterion should be determined by how you compare your solution against a competitor.

This should be verified by sales calls, feedback from existing clients, and qualitative data based on key drivers to market or objections to your solution.

Ideally, the measures should be prioritised based on the perceived importance to your prospects.


3. Gather information

Following this, you can now begin gathering information on their solution.

This can be completed in several different ways. You can collate information by:

  • Product Offerings - Comparing the features of the competitor product.
  • Pricing Strategy - Understanding how competitors price their products.
  • Messaging and Positioning - Looking at how they position their product in the wider market.


4. Assess market position and positioning

You now have all this information - but where does your business stack against it?

It’s important to evaluate how you stack up against the competition. This can be done in several ways like a ‘score-based’ solution, but also using qualitative insights.

Whichever method you choose, you should achieve one of three outcomes:

A main USP for your solution

A key sector(s) you’re successful with

Reasons your  prospects favour your solution

Your messaging and positioning should be driven by these takeaways.. For example, if your product is more expensive than your competitors but offers more solutions, you can label it as the ‘Premium’ solution.


5. Monitor and continually Optimise

Although amending your marketing, sales and product seems like the end of the road for competitive analysis, it’s just the end of a single cycle.

Competitive analysis should be an ongoing process. Marketers should be continually speaking to customers, listening to sales calls and researching the wider market to understand if buyer behaviour changes, or if there are new objections or drivers for people into the market.


Truthfully though, there’s no set way to research your competitors. Although these are set things you should consider, the easiest way to get started is by using one of the many frameworks used to conduct research including:

  • SWOT Analysis
  • Porter’s Five Forces
  • Strategic Group Analysis
  • Growth-share Matrix
  • Perceptual Mapping

However, here at Axon Garside, we use a template called a ‘3-way analysis template’.


3-Way Competitive Analysis Template Explained

3-Way Competitive Analysis

We run through this framework with every client we onboard.

This helps us and the client understand the benefits and value their service or product provides to each of their key personas.

Before using this template, ensure you have your ideal customer profiles (personas) in place. This will ensure you don’t apply a one-size-fits-all approach when evaluating the pros and cons of your solution, instead calculating your USPs and how you should position your business based on how you solve each persona’s pain points.

This is especially important when crafting specific service/product pages on your website. Each persona will be taking a different journey on their way to your service. By crafting a message and positioning your product to solve their pains, at the right time, you’re setting yourself up for a conversion.

Once you’ve crafted your persona, you can then start looking into your competitors.

Firstly, rank the importance of your criteria according to the importance of your persona. This should be clear through your ICP documentation and customer data.

Then, rank yourself and your competitors, between 0 and 5, on the following criteria:

  • Domain Experience
  • Competence/Process
  • Price
  • Technical Certifications/Qualifications
  • Professionalism/Sales Process
  • Size
  • Geography
  • Familiarity/Brand
  • Partnership
  • Speed/Delivery

These are just some suggestions based on our experience working with businesses. These criteria should change to reflect the buying criteria for your customers.

Following this, you should have an analysis which algorithmically ranks your business against your competitors.

That’s all well and good, but what needs to happen next?


How to Identify Key Threads from Your Competitive Analysis

If you conduct your analysis using our template, you’ll get a direct score to help you visualise where your competitors are outperforming you.

However, the other methods don’t require you to score yourselves against your competitors which means gaps between you and your competitors may be nuanced, so this is something to consider.

The starting point to begin your research is to look at what part of your service is deemed most important by your primary persona and look at how you rank in your market.

If you aren’t ranking well compared to alternatives this doesn’t necessarily mean your problem is a marketing issue.

Hear me out.

Let’s use competence/process for a professional services company as an example. If you’re a new company, and you have untested processes with little social proof then you may rank low on this section.

If you’re going up against a larger organisation who have detailed process maps with many case studies, your score is going to be very low in comparison.

This isn’t, however, a marketing issue. This is a service delivery issue. Although you should have input into both what the market and customers alike desire, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your problem is your marketing.

It’s important to pinpoint whether marketing, sales or product is causing poor performance within your business, which we have highlighted how to do in a previous article.

On the other hand, if you rank highly against your competitors in a certain area - great!

You may have found a new USP for your product. However, that’s the easy part.

The hard work begins when it comes to putting this data into motion.


Take the first step in actioning your analysis into tangible, marketing impact. Have a chat with our marketing experts.

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Actioning your Competitor Analysis for Business Growth

Based on the criteria you’re using to compare your business, here are some of the ways you can implement the insights you’ve gathered:



A website acts as a shopfront for your business and is the bread and butter of all of your marketing activity. Therefore, you need to take the criteria you excel at from your competitor research and communicate that value across your website.

This can be completed in several ways such as:

  • Solution pages
  • Feature pages
  • Smart Content to personalise communications


Messaging and Positioning

Your marketing communications should be guided by the way you compare against your competitors.

This, however, can be more nuanced.

If you’re more expensive than market alternatives but offer more features, you can position your business as the ‘premium’ or ‘extensive’ solution to your audience’s problems.

Conversely, if you offer a more cost-effective product, you can market yourself as the ‘value’ solution.

You can be a bit creative with this section.

Remember, messaging should be verified by either your existing customers or your ICP. You can do this by A/B testing something big like changing the copy on the website, or something smaller like sending an email and testing your new positioning statements.


Pricing Strategy

While marketing may not have the authority to make pricing decisions, it’s important to look at this research and wonder if your pricing is too steep or vice versa.

As mentioned above, if you find that your service/solution is more efficient and effective than your competitors but you’re the ‘value’ option, then you should reconsider your pricing strategy.

You can use the following strategies to change your pricing:

  • Competitor-based pricing - Where you base your pricing based on what your competitors value their service.
  • Cost-plus pricing - Where you essentially add a percentage of profit from the cost; e.g. if your product costs £50 to make and you want a 10% margin, you charge £55.
  • Value-based pricing - Charging what your customers believe your solution is worth
  • Dynamic pricing - Charging ‘fluidly’ based on the market’s demands at that moment.


Product Development

Finally, there could just be some fundamental flaws in your product.

If you rank lower than your competitors, you may have to rethink your business strategy altogether.

This may not be as gruesome as I’ve made it sound. While it may be that your product isn’t bad,  you may be pitting it against competitors who are deemed preferable by your target market.

Use this time to connect with customers that have seen success with your product and look for key themes. This could include:

  • Certain industries you specialise in
  • Types of demographics
  • Certain job functions you help better than others

This new information will help you take your solution to a different, more receptive market, and dominate that vertical.


Taking the Next Step with Axon Garside

Understanding your competitive landscape can boost your marketing results and affect your business’s bottom line.

If you feel overwhelmed by the data or are unsure how to move forward, why not book a marketing consultation with Axon Garside?

We're here to help you sift through the noise, identify what matters, and craft a marketing plan that ensures you lead, not compete, with your competitors.

Let's navigate this journey together and turn insights into impact. Book your consultation with us today.

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