What is a competitor map and how to make one

Written by
Laura Venturi
Table of Contents

When trying to identify areas of possible improvement for your company, competitor mapping helps you by analyzing the success points of competing businesses. This blog aims to explain what a competitor landscape is and how to make one.

What is a competitor map?

Being aware of your relevant competitors and their performance is vital in your strategic development. Collecting data on your competitors is always the first step of competition mapping.  

A competitor map is a visualization tool used by companies to analyze their market contenders, in search of areas of improvement for their organization or new product. 

Competition mapping, or competitive analysis, is used when a company is looking to launch new products, or services or even create new social media and marketing strategies. 

Competitive landscapes are a precious resource to strategically provide better service and can take different visual forms, such as bar charts, line graphs, or scatter graphs.

Why is competitor mapping useful?

The benefits of making a competitor map are several and include:

  1. Spot areas of improvement for your business: by discovering the strong features of your competitors, you can establish improvement directions for your company.
  2. Identify areas that are not served by your competitors: in terms of the geographical location of the market segment, you can locate the areas so far not covered by competing products or services and strategically enter those spaces.
  3. Build a stronger product: analyzing the products of your competitors highlights key points of development for your design efforts, such as additional features.
  4. Improve marketing efforts: comparing your business to its competitors highlights your unique features and selling points and allows you to effectively market to your target audience.
  5. Identify acquisition opportunities: In some cases an M&A strategy can be an efficient way to accelerate your company's growth. A clear view of competitors can help identify potential targets.

Six steps to build a competitor map

  1. Identify and choose your competitors

List your company’s key products or services and build a comprehensive list of potential competitors to determine which companies most closely match your products and services. Google is a good place to start. However, in many cases, the competitive landscape could contain anywhere between tens to hundreds of companies. In that case, a data-driven market mapping approach can be useful to get a comprehensive overview. 

Choose 4 to 10 businesses to consider in your market mapping. You can collect competitive intelligence information online by looking into aspects such as their products, prices, target audience, and marketing strategies.

  1. Pick an area of business to analyze

To start your analysis, ask yourself: which areas of your business do you want to track? Are you designing a new product or service? Or are you looking to move to a new location?

Having done this, pick your variables and collect data on your competitors’ position, meaning their products and activities, to compare success. 

For example, if you are reviewing social media strategies, note how often and which kind of posts your competitors make, and if they align with their audience. 

  1. Recognize your attributes

Analyze your own business on the variables you selected, recognizing where your product or service excels in comparison to your competitors. 

Identifying these areas of excellence can help you frame your brand voice and message, to effectively reach your target audience and solidify your competitive position.

  1. Spot areas of improvement

Compare the product features or tactics of your competitors with yours to identify possible areas of improvement for your product or service. 

Mapping your competitive position in this way can help you improve your products and services, refine your brand, and aligne your marketing efforts with market changes.

You can use free tools such as Google Sheets to store and plot your data and can employ Canva’s free templates to edit your charts’ aesthetics to build something a little more presentable.

  1. Build a list

Using the competitive intelligence gathered as data and graphs, compile a list of points your company can improve or focus on in its development. 

These can be excellent points of your competitors that you might wish to replicate but also points that your competitors lack. 

For example, if you notice that your competitors post rarely on social media, you can pay attention to being active on these platforms.

  1. Come up with solutions

Having identified your areas of improvement thanks to your competitor map, you can now come up with a list of 5-10 ideas for how to fill these gaps. You can prioritize one or two points from this list to guide your company development efforts and keep the rest as future improvement points.

Examples of a competitive map

Some areas of business to compare when building a competitive map are:

Business model

Competition mapping is a useful tool to measure the effectiveness of your organizational choices. You could choose to map out how your competitors’ business model relates to their revenue and compare how your firm relates. This variable can be useful when considering possible organizational changes in your business.

Target audience

Strategically choosing which market segment you target in your marketing campaigns is vital is reaching the right clients. Carrying out a comparative analysis between you and your competitor’s target audience could highlight the uniqueness of your offering. Knowing your competitors in your market segment could help you in effectively developing your products and services.

Price and ratings

Product and service developers might be curious to know how their pricing and reviews compare to those of competitors. Knowing your location in a graph showing one axis pricing and one for the quality of reviews, might make you realize that your prices are lower than the competition. You could then highlight this in your future marketing campaigns. 

What Venture IQ can do to give you a head start in your competitive analysis

Here at Venture IQ we base our work on our abilities in keyword research and the compiling of comprehensive lists of companies. 

Our software Catalist is a precious resource for these processes and can be a useful tool in the early stages of your competitive analysis. 

Our consultants and analysts are always available to help you conduct your search and present the results by highlighting the most important competitors, on which you could conduct your analysis.

Used on your own or with the help of our consultants and analysts, you can be sure that our software will prove to be a valuable instrument for your competitor map!

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Article written by
Laura Venturi