A Step-By-Step Guide to Competitor Analysis on Spreadsheet [includes Template]

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TL;DR

Competitive analysis is crucial for every business unit, even without a dedicated team.

Learn how to conduct competitor analysis using spreadsheets effectively, from setting up data categories to visualizing insights.

Uncover market opportunities, enhance strategic planning, benchmark performance, and minimize risks with our ultimate guide.

In this blog, we’ve often argued that competitive analysis is a task that every business unit should carry out. [Yes, even if you don’t have a competitive intelligence team–perhaps even more so.]

While there are many different ways to conduct a competitive analysis, one of the most common methods is using a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet allows you to organize and compare data in an easy-to-read format and create charts and graphs that visually represent your findings. Plus, it’s easy (and free) to get started.

Of course, there are some setbacks to using a spreadsheet. It can be time-consuming, and the learning curve may be steep if you’re not familiar with Excel or Google Sheets.

That’s where this ultimate guide comes in—we’ll walk you through conducting competitor analysis on a spreadsheet step-by-step. From creating the first analysis template to filling in the necessary data, we will cover it all.

[And, we’ll introduce you to a free-to-start alternative to save you time and effort.]

Let’s dive in.

What is competitor analysis?

Competitor analysis identifies and evaluates your business competitors to understand their strengths, weaknesses, strategies, and overall market position. This strategic approach enables businesses to gain insights that can inform their own marketing, product development, and overall business strategies.

What is the purpose of performing a competitive analysis?

There are a bunch of reasons why you should conduct a competitive analysis for your own company. Let’s see some of the main points in this section.

Analysis Of Competitors On Spreadsheet: 5 top reasons to conduct a competitor analysis

First, it helps you spot market opportunities. By knowing competitors’ offerings, you can find gaps your products can fill. This insight helps you create unique value propositions and stand out effectively.

Enhancing strategic planning is a key goal. Competitive analysis offers insights to shape marketing strategies, boost customer engagement, and drive product innovation. Understanding competitors’ strengths and weaknesses helps position your brand effectively and optimize strategic initiatives.

Benchmarking performance is also essential. Competitor analysis enables businesses to compare their performance against industry standards, helping to set realistic performance benchmarks and gauge success. This approach promotes ongoing improvement and goal setting.

Another significant benefit is minimizing risks. Knowing what competitors are doing allows you to anticipate market shifts and prepare for potential challenges. This proactive stance helps develop contingency plans and stay ahead of the competition.

Lastly, improving decision-making is a direct outcome of thorough competitor analysis. Data-driven insights lead to better-informed decisions, enhancing overall business agility and responsiveness. By leveraging comprehensive competitive data, and competitor analysis templates, you can make strategic choices that align with market demands and drive growth.

Pros and cons of using spreadsheets for competitor analysis

The TL;DR for this section is that, actually, using spreadsheets for competitor analysis is a practical choice for many businesses, particularly those in the early stages of their detailed analysis or with limited budgets. However, as businesses grow and their data requirements become more complex, they may need to consider more sophisticated tools to ensure efficiency and accuracy.

Let’s see this in more detail.

Pros:

AccessibilitySpreadsheets are widely available, and most professionals are familiar with tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, making them an accessible option for many.
CustomizabilityThey offer high flexibility and customization, allowing users to create tailored competitor analysis templates specific to their needs.
Cost-effectiveSpreadsheets are a low-cost solution compared to specialized competitor analysis software.
Data visualizationWith built-in charts and graphs, spreadsheets can help visualize data effectively, making it easier to interpret and present findings.
Ease of sharingSpreadsheets are easy to share and collaborate on, especially with cloud-based options like Google Sheets.

Cons:

Manual data entryCompiling and updating competitor data manually in spreadsheets can be time-consuming and prone to errors.
Scalability issuesAs the volume of data grows, spreadsheets can become unwieldy and less efficient, making it difficult to manage large sets of information.
Limited automationUnlike dedicated competitor analysis tools, spreadsheets lack automated data collection and analysis features, requiring more manual effort.
Security concernsSensitive competitive data stored in spreadsheets might be at risk if proper security measures are not in place, especially when shared across teams.
Complexity in advanced analysisAdvanced spreadsheet analytical operations can be complex and require significant spreadsheet functions and formulas expertise.

Competitive analysis template: setting up your spreadsheet

Creating an effective competitor analysis spreadsheet requires some work to ensure that the information is organized, accessible, and easy to interpret.

In this section, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to setting up your competitor analysis template so that you can seamlessly track and analyze your competitors’ data.

1. Create your data categories

Start by defining the data categories that you’ll be tracking in your competitor analysis report.

Common categories include product or service details, pricing information, and market segments. Breaking down these elements provides a comprehensive view of your competitors’ offerings and market positioning.

Ensure each category is clearly labeled and contains relevant subcategories to capture all necessary details.

2. Use tabs and sheets

Leverage multiple tabs and sheets within your spreadsheet to keep data organized and segmented.

You can create separate tabs for competitors, individual product lines, or market segments.

This approach keeps your main sheet uncluttered and makes it easier to navigate and update specific sections as needed.

3. Employ color-coding and conditional formatting

Implement color-coding and conditional formatting to enhance your spreadsheet’s readability.

Use distinct colors to differentiate between various data points or categories. Conditional formatting rules can highlight important trends or outliers, such as price variations or performance metrics.

This visual differentiation helps you quickly identify critical information and make more informed comparisons.

4. Visualize your data

Incorporate visual elements such as bar and pie charts, line graphs, and pivot tables to get meaningful insights from your data. These tools can transform raw data into easily interpretable visuals, highlighting key trends and patterns.

Bar and pie charts are excellent for comparing different data sets, while line graphs can illustrate changes over time. Pivot tables offer a dynamic way to summarize and explore complex data, enabling deeper analysis and understanding.

How to collect data for your competitor analysis report

Collecting comprehensive and accurate data is the cornerstone of an effective competitor analysis.

Understanding where to find relevant information and what types of data to focus on can significantly enhance your ability to make strategic business decisions.

In this section, we’ll outline the steps to identify competitors, the types of data to collect, and the best sources for this information.

1. Identify your competitors

The first step in collecting data for your competitor analysis is identifying your key competitors.

These can be direct competitors offering similar products or services, as well as indirect competitors who fulfill the same customer needs in different ways.

Analysis Of Competitors On Spreadsheet: types of competitors to track
Direct and indirect competitors are among the types of competitors you need to track

Start by listing out known competitors, and then expand your research to discover others through industry forums, customer feedback, and market research reports.

2. Key data to collect about your competitors (and where to find them)

Again, you can collect multiple types of data for your competitive analysis, and there are multiple places where you can find them. We wrote an in-depth article about the ten crucial competitive intelligence examples, but we’ll also briefly cover the key ones here.

i. Product/service offerings

Understanding what products or services your competitors offer is crucial. Note down the features, benefits, and unique selling points of each offering.

This helps identify how your products compare and where you can differentiate.

How to collect this information: You'll find information regarding your competitors' products and service offerings on their websites. Note any special offers, packages, or unique features they promote.
Analysis Of Competitors On Spreadsheet: Choose your competitors with Unkover
With Unkover, once you select which competitors to track, you can immediately start to track high-value pages.

ii. Pricing strategy

Analyze your competitors’ pricing models, including the base price, discounts, bundling options, and seasonal pricing variations.

Understanding their pricing strategy can reveal their target market segments and price sensitivity.

How to collect this information: Go to your competitor's website to get pricing information. You'll also find price points and strategy information on customer review platforms like G2.

iii. Market positioning

Examine how competitors position themselves in the market.

Look at their branding, messaging, marketing channels, and overall market perception. This will help you understand their value propositions and how they attract and retain customers.

How to collect this information: On top of the company websites, you can check marketing position, messaging, and branding by looking at the emails they send to their lists. You can also check their social media pages and read through customer comments and interactions to get a sense of how they position themselves in the market. Additionally, attending industry events and conferences where competitors are present can allow you to observe their messaging and branding in person.

iv. Key strengths and weaknesses

Identify each competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths might include a strong brand reputation or superior technology, while weaknesses could include high prices or a limited product range.

This information is vital for developing strategies to outperform them.

How to collect this information: This would require a thorough competitive analysis, in which you analyze all the data you collected about your competition.

3. [Focus] The 5 best sources to create a competitor analysis

I know–we’ve just talked about the best competitive analysis examples, and where to find them (aka sources), so you may ask, why another section about it?

Well, because this is crucial. You can’t just go in blind and start collecting data without a plan or direction.

Knowing where to look for information about your competitors will save you time and resources and ensure that the data you collect is relevant and useful.

i. Company websites

Company websites are a primary source of information regarding product and service offerings. They often provide detailed descriptions, customer testimonials, and even annual reports that can offer valuable insights.

Screenshot - Page Diff

ii. Industry reports

Industry reports from market research firms provide in-depth market analysis and data about competitors. These reports often include statistics, growth projections, and detailed competitor profiles.

iii. Customer reviews

Customer reviews on platforms like G2 and product-specific forums can provide firsthand accounts of what customers love or dislike about competitors’ offerings. This qualitative data is invaluable for understanding real-world strengths and weaknesses.

At Unkover, we offer a comprehensive analysis of G2 reviews, giving you valuable insights into your competitors’ clients’ experiences with their products and services. By reading through these reviews, you can gain a deeper understanding of what your competitors are doing right–and where they may be falling short.

iv. Social media

Social media platforms are rich with information about competitors. Analyze their social media presence to gauge customer engagement, monitor marketing campaigns, and identify any public feedback or complaints. Social media can also highlight trends and emerging threats within your industry.

v. Email marketing

Sign up for your competitors’ email lists to monitor their email marketing strategies (or better, let Unkover do that for you and just give you the results). Pay attention to the frequency of emails, content themes, and calls to action. This can give you insight into what types of messaging and promotions resonate with their audience.

Screenshot - Email Flow

vi. Website traffic and SEO analysis

Tools like Google Analytics and SEMrush can provide valuable data on competitor website traffic and search engine rankings. By analyzing this information, you can gain insights into their online presence and potentially identify areas where they excel or fall behind.

Data analysis and drawing insights from competitive data

Once you have gathered comprehensive data on your competitors, the next crucial step is to analyze this information to draw meaningful insights.

This process involves using various analytical techniques to better understand your competitive landscape, identify industry trends and gaps, and formulate effective strategies.

This section will guide you through the essential steps of analyzing competitor data and extracting actionable insights from competitive analyses.

a. Use different types of analysis

A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) helps you evaluate your competitors comprehensively. By identifying their strengths and weaknesses, you can pinpoint areas where they are going great vs. not so great. Opportunities and threats provide a broader perspective on external factors that could impact your own business, as well as the competitive landscape.

Understanding your competitors’ unique selling points or competitive advantages is vital. This analysis focuses on what makes your competitors stand out: their product quality, customer service, technological innovation, or brand reputation. Identifying these factors allows you to benchmark your offerings and find ways to differentiate yourself.

Market share analysis involves examining the portion of the market controlled by each competitor. This analysis provides insights into the dominance of various players in the market and helps you understand the competitive intensity. By knowing your competitors’ market share, you can assess your position relative to them and strategize accordingly.

Analyzing competitor data helps you identify prevailing market trends and potential gaps in the market.

Look for patterns in customer preferences, emerging technologies, and shifts in consumer behavior. Understanding these trends allows you to anticipate changes and adapt your strategies to stay ahead.

Additionally, identifying gaps in the market where competitors are not fully addressing customer needs can present opportunities for innovation and growth.

c. Formulate your competitive strategy

The ultimate goal of competitor analysis is to inform your business strategy. Use the insights from SWOT, competitive advantage, and market share analyses to formulate a robust competitive strategy.

This might involve capitalizing on identified opportunities, mitigating potential threats, and leveraging your strengths to gain a competitive edge.

Your strategy should also address how you plan to fill market gaps and better serve your target audience compared to your competitors.

Update and maintain your competitive analysis spreadsheet

Maintaining an up-to-date competitor analysis spreadsheet is crucial for ensuring that your strategic decisions are based on current information.

This section will explore how to keep your spreadsheet relevant and actionable.

1. Ensure regular updates to your spreadsheet

It is essential to update your spreadsheet regularly to keep your competitor analysis valuable. Market conditions, competitor strategies, and customer preferences can change rapidly.

Establish a weekly, monthly, or quarterly schedule for reviewing and updating your data.

Regular updates ensure that your insights remain accurate and relevant, allowing you to respond swiftly to any changes in the competitive market landscape.

2. Collaborate with team members

Competitor analysis can benefit greatly from collaboration. Encourage different team members to contribute their insights and expertise to the spreadsheet. Cloud-based tools like Google Sheets can facilitate real-time collaboration and allow multiple people to simultaneously work on the same document.

Assign specific roles and responsibilities to ensure that each aspect of the competitor analysis is covered comprehensively. Effective collaboration ensures a more thorough and nuanced understanding of your competitors’ market share.

3. Use Unkover instead

While spreadsheets are a fundamental tool for competitor analysis, specialized tools like Unkover can take your analysis to the next level.

Unkover is designed to automate and streamline data collection and analysis, offering advanced features that go beyond what traditional spreadsheets can provide.

Screenshots

Integrating tools like Unkover into your process can save time on manual data entry, reduce errors, and gain deeper insights through sophisticated analytical capabilities.

This allows you to focus on your own strategy and less on administrative tasks.

Get started for free today.

Wrapping up

Competitor analysis is an essential part of any business growth strategy. By understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you can identify opportunities to differentiate yourself in the market and improve your own performance.

Whether you choose to use spreadsheets or specialized tools like Unkover, make sure to update and review your analysis regularly. While gathering data is an essential part of the process, the key is to use it effectively to identify gaps and make informed strategic decisions.

So don’t wait any longer–start leveraging competitor analysis today and unlock new potential for your business growth.

Grab Unkover’s free trial and see what our platform can do for you!

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