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ADcumen Leadership Development program . Workshop 2 – Competitive Analysis. Recap - Understanding your market. Four Simple Steps to Understanding Your Market Understand your value What problem does your product solve? How does your product compare with the competition?

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adcumen leadership development program

ADcumenLeadership Development program

Workshop 2 – Competitive Analysis

recap understanding your market
Recap - Understanding your market

Four Simple Steps to Understanding Your Market

  • Understand your value
      • What problem does your product solve?
      • How does your product compare with the competition?
      • Who will buy it and why?
      • How will you reach them?
  • Survey the competitive landscape
  • Understand your target market
  • Plan your sales campaign


Who buys your product?


What will they use it for?


What does your solution offer that others don’t/What problem does it solve?


How does your solution solve the problem and remove the pain?


Knowing Your Market

  • The most challenging part of a business plan
  • “Remember the story of Goldilocks and the three bears? Most customers, like Goldilocks, are seeking the product that is \'just right\' for them”
  • Two kinds of research:
      • Primary research -Going directly to the prospective customers
      • Secondary research - Census and demographic data.

Typical Research Questions:

  • Who wants what you sell – Do they have a real need for the product I intend to sell?
  • Why do they want it? - What problem does your product solve?
  • Where are they?
  • How many of them are they - How many of these people who have this need are potential customers?
  • How much are they spending to address that need today?
  • How different is my product from what is being sold today?

Develop Your Own List of Research Questions:



Understanding competitive strengths

and weaknesses:

1. SWOT Analysis:

Strengths; Weaknesses; Opportunities; Threats

  • SWOT Analysis is a simple but useful framework for analysing your organization\'s strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats that you face.
  • It helps you focus on your strengths, minimize threats, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
  • SWOT Analysis can be used to "kick off" strategy formulation, or in a more sophisticated way as a serious strategy tool.
  • You can also use it to get an understanding of your competitors, which can give you the insights you need to craft a coherent and successful competitive position.
  • When carrying out your SWOT Analysis, be realistic and rigorous

SWOT Analysis Template

State what you are assessing here: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(This particular example is for a new business opportunity. Many criteria can apply to more than one quadrant. Identify criteria appropriate to your own SWOT situation.)

  • Weaknesses
  • What could you improve?
  • Where do you have fewer resources than others?
  • What are others likely to see as a weakness?


What do you do well?

What unique resources can you draw upon?

What do others see as your strengths?

Criteria examples

Advantages of proposition?


Competitive advantages?

USP\'s (unique selling points)?

Resources, Assets, People?

Experience, knowledge, data?

Financial reserves, likely returns?

Marketing - reach, distribution, awareness?

Innovative aspects?

Location and geographical?

Price, value, quality?

Accreditations, qualifications, certifications?

Processes, systems, IT, communications?

Cultural, attitudinal, behavioural?

Management cover, succession?

Philosophy and values?

  • Criteria examples
  • Disadvantages of proposition?

Gaps in capabilities?

Lack of competitive strength?

Reputation, presence and reach?


Own known vulnerabilities?

Timescales, deadlines and pressures?

Cash flow, start-up cash-drain?

Continuity, supply chain robustness?

Effects on core activities, distraction?

Reliability of data, plan predictability?

Morale, commitment, leadership?

Accreditations, etc.?

Processes and systems, etc.?

Management cover, succession?


  • What opportunities are open to you?
  • What trends can you take advantage of?
  • How can you turn your strengths into opportunities?
  • Criteria examples
  • Political effects?
  • Legislative effects?
  • Environmental effects?
  • IT developments?

Competitor intentions - various?

Market demand?

New technologies, services, ideas?

Vital contracts and partners?

Sustaining internal capabilities?

Obstacles faced?

Insurmountable weaknesses?

Loss of key staff?

Sustainable financial backing?

Economy - home, abroad?

Seasonality, weather effects?

  • Criteria examples
  • Market developments?
  • Competitors\' vulnerabilities?
  • Industry or lifestyle trends?

Technology development and innovation?

Global influences?

New markets, vertical, horizontal?

Niche target markets?

Geographical, export, import?

New USP\'s?

Tactics: e.g., surprise, major contracts?

Business and product development?

Information and research?

Partnerships, agencies, distribution?

Volumes, production, economies?

Seasonal, weather, fashion influences?

  • Threats

What threats could harm you?

What is your competition doing?

What threats do your weaknesses expose you to?


Exercise: SWOT Analysis

  • A start-up small consultancy business SWOT Analysis:
  • Strengths:
  • We are able to respond very quickly as we have no red tape, and no need for higher management approval.
  • We are able to give really good customer care, as the current small amount of work means we have plenty of time to devote to customers.
  • Our lead consultant has strong reputation in the market.
  • We can change direction quickly if we find that our marketing is not working.
  • We have low overheads, so we can offer good value to customers.
  • Weaknesses:
  • Our company has little market presence or reputation.
  • We have a small staff, with a shallow skills base in many areas.
  • We are vulnerable to vital staff being sick, and leaving.
  • Our cash flow will be unreliable in the early stages.
  • Opportunities:
  • Our business sector is expanding, with many future opportunities for success.
  • Local government wants to encourage local businesses.
  • Our competitors may be slow to adopt new technologies.
  • Threats:
  • Developments in technology may change this market beyond our ability to adapt.
  • A small change in the focus of a large competitor might wipe out any market position we achieve.

Understanding competitive strengths

and weaknesses:

  • 2. PEST analysis:
  • The PEST analysis is a useful tool for understanding market growth or decline, and as such the position, potential and direction for a business. By understanding your environment, you can take advantage of the opportunities and minimize the threats.
  • A PEST analysis is a business measurement tool.
  • PEST is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors, which are used to assess the market for a business or organizational unit.
  • The PEST analysis headings are a framework for reviewing a situation, and can be used to review a strategy or position, direction of a company, a marketing proposition, or idea.

PEST Analysis Template

  • Situation being analysed: ______________________________________________________________________
  • PEST analysis (political, economic, social, technological) assesses a market, including competitors, from the standpoint of a particular proposition or a business.


  • Political

Criteria examples

  • ecological/environmental current legislation
  • future legislation
  • international legislation
  • regulatory bodies and processes
  • government policies
  • government term and change
  • trading policies
  • funding, grants and initiatives
  • home market pressure- groups
  • international pressure- groups
  • wars and conflicts

Criteria examples

home economy

economy trends

overseas economies

general taxation

taxation specific to product/services

seasonality issues

market/trade cycles

specific industry factors

market routes trends

distribution trends

customer/end-user drivers

interest/ exchange rates

international trade and monetary issues

  • Social

Criteria examples

competing technology development

research funding

associated/dependent technologies

replacement technology/solutions

maturity of technology

manufacturing maturity and capacity

information and communications

consumer buying mechanisms/technology

technology legislation

innovation potential

technology access, licensing, patents

intellectual property issues

global communications

Criteria examples

lifestyle trends


consumer attitudes and opinions

media views

law changes affecting social factors

brand, company, technology image

consumer buying patterns

fashion and role models

major events and influences

buying access and trends

ethnic/religious factors

advertising and publicity

ethical issues


Note: PEST analysis can be useful before SWOT analysis because PEST helps to identify SWOT factors. PEST and SWOT are two different perspectives but can contain common factors.



  • Some people prefer to use different flavours of PEST Analysis.
  • PESTLE/PESTEL: Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal, Environmental.
  • PESTLIED: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, International, Environmental, Demographic.
  • STEEPLE: Social/Demographic, Technological, Economic, Environmental, Political, Legal, Ethical.
  • SLEPT: Social, Legal, Economic, Political, Technological.

Understanding competitive strengths

and weaknesses:

  • 3. Porter\'s Five Forces
  • Porter\'s 5 forces framework is used for strategic industry analysis.
  • Developed in 1979 by Michael Porter, Harvard Business School professor.
  • Used to examine and analyse the competitive structure of an industry by looking at 5 forces of competition that influence and shape profit potential.
  • Porter\'s five forces of competition have become a central concept to business theory.

Porter\'s Five Forces

  • Looks at multiple aspects of the industry’s competitive structure and economic environment, including:
  • The bargaining power of buyers,
  • Thebargaining power of suppliers,
  • Thethreat of new entrants, and
  • Thethreat of substitute products.
  • The idea is to look at each of these factors and determine the degree to which they increase competition in the industry. If the forces are strong, they increase competition; if the forces are weak they decrease competition.

5 Forces of Competition

Michael Porter’s 5 competitive forces:1. Threat of new entrants2. Bargaining power of suppliers3. Bargaining power of buyers4. Threat of substitute products5. Intensity of rivalry among competitors


6. Complementors


Competitive Analysis

  • Understanding your competitive strengths and weaknesses is a prerequisite to developing a winning marketing strategy.
  • The Competitor Rating Calculatorallows you to rate your offering against that of up to five main competitors.
  • Competitors can be rated on the basis of the most important factors in the purchasing decision.
  • Bar and radar charts are automatically generated based on the ratings input.
  • The ratings are then adjusted on the basis of the importance/weighting you have given to each of the factors in the purchasing decision
  • The weighted ratings are automatically calculated and bar and radar charts are generated.
  • A Total Competitive Score is also calculated and a corresponding Bar Chart is produced.
  • A Total Adjusted Competitive Score is also calculated and a corresponding Bar Chart is produced.

Building a Business Case

  • Feasibility Study or Project Justification Report
  • Clarify/confirm criteria needed to be fulfilled to justify starting or continuing the project or group– i.e. What do the decision-makers need to see in order to approve the project or its continuation?
  • Business Case
  • A Business Case justifies the start-up of a project. It includes a description of the business problem or opportunity, the costs and benefits of each alternative solution, and the recommended solution for approval.
  • ROI Analysis
  • An ROI analysis is method of analysis that helps determine if purchasing something is worth the cost by taking into account both initial costs and ongoing costs. Compares the magnitude and timing of investment gains directly with the magnitude and timing of investment costs.

Feasibility study/project justification report:

  • Structure:
  • Map these crucial approval criteria into the following structure and headings:
      • Past, present and future (\'customer\') need (for the outputs/results produced by group or project)
      • Benefits and outcomes achieved to date for what cost/investment
      • Benefits and outcomes to be produced in the future
      • Resources, costs, investment, etc., required to produce future required outcomes and benefits (identify capital vs. revenue costs, i.e., acquisition of major assets and ongoing overheads)
      • Alternative methods or ways of satisfying needs, with relative cost/return (return on investment) comparisons (i.e.., what other ways might there be for satisfying the need if the group or project doesn\'t happen or ceases?)
      • Outline strategy and financial plan, including people, aims, philosophy, etc (ideally tuned to meet the authorising power\'s fulfilment criteria) for proposed start or continuation of project (assuming you have a case, and assuming there is no better alternative)
  • 3. Keep it simple. (Clear and concise) Keep to the facts and figures. Provide evidence.

Building a Business Case

  • Essential elements of a business case:
  • A brief, compelling, service-oriented problem statement
  • A mission statement or vision of the future that addresses the problem
  • A description of the specific objectives to be achieved
  • A description and rationale for your preferred approach
  • A statement of the benefits that address the concerns of all relevant stakeholders
  • Measures for gauging improved performance or progress toward each objective
  • A statement of the likely risks of your initiative and how they will addressed
  • A basic plan of work with a timeline and key milestones
  • A project management plan and names and roles of key managers
  • Alternatives considered and how they would or would not work
  • Cost estimates and potential sources of funding
  • Opposing arguments and your responses to them .

Business Case Template Links


ROI Analysis

  • Determine the business\'s financial metrics, goals and objectives. This will also help in determining if all aspects of your ROI have been achieved.
  • Identify the business\'s total benefits. Include money saved by the business, money made and anything that positively adds value to the business’s bottom line.
  • Begin to gather financial data for your particular business. Total costs include development costs and other capital investments or expenses.
  • Calculate the ROI using the following formula: (total benefit - total costs)/ (total costs) = ___ X 100 = ROI
  • Determine if the ROI is substantial based on the business\'s financial return expectations. A ROI greater than zero is a gain.