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7 steps to create a competitive landscape analysis

It’s not enough to respond to competitors’ moves. You have to anticipate them. To gain this foresight in your own market, companies must conduct an ongoing competitive landscape analysis.

A competitive landscape analysis is the ongoing process of identifying, researching, and evaluating competitors, in order to glean insight to inform your business strategy. It’s a way to evaluate competitor strengths and weaknesses today—and also observe how they’ve evolved. Your competitors’ evolution in the marketplace is just as important, if not more so, than taking a snapshot of their current standing. It’s what allows you to identify changes they’ve made along the way or moments where they pivoted, which monumentally influenced their upward trajectory.

SurveyMonkey Audience relies on 175M+ people across 130+ countries to respond to your research panel.

Your competitive landscape analysis should include:

  • Your top competitors
  • Their products or services 
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Strategies they use to achieve their objectives
  • Overall market outlook

Businesses need to adopt a forward-thinking outlook. A competitive landscape analysis helps you determine the next steps for your brand and business. It’s no longer enough to rely on gut instincts. Data must be leveraged to inform decisions, surface opportunities, and identify and mitigate risks that might not even be on your company’s radar yet.  

Let’s use Blockbuster, which was the most popular US video store in 2000, and Netflix as an example.

In 2000, Netflix co-founders Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph met with former Blockbuster CEO John Antioco, in hopes of selling their then DVD-by-mail rental company for $50 million. At the time, Netflix was growing in subscriber base, but still losing more than it was making, reported Newsweek. The offer was declined by Blockbuster. 

In 2021, Netflix became worth billions, while only one Blockbuster remains in Bend, Oregon.

How did this happen?

Netflix listened to customers and anticipated their needs before they became common knowledge—the desire to watch movies from the comfort and convenience of their own homes. This underscores the urgency of conducting and analyzing your competitive landscape on a regular basis.

In a study of 250 C-suite executives, 88% said feedback data is very or extremely valuable in helping them make business decisions at their organization. Executives who work for companies that value feedback most were also 20x more likely to feel extremely confident in their ability to change direction based on new information, compared to companies that found feedback somewhat or not valuable.   

Here are 4 reasons why competitive landscape analysis is so important:

  1. Determine future direction

Competitive landscapes help you look beyond today and see what opportunities lie ahead. Just like Netflix, which started with DVD-by-mail rental, companies must regularly listen to customers in order to anticipate needs before they’re widely known. Through competitive landscape analysis, you’ll learn more about your competitors and your customers, too.  

  1. Establish your company’s unique valu