Advix Blog

How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis (of Your Dream)

Competitive analysis is a powerful tool for product managers, executives, and anyone involved in strategic decision-making. It provides insights into your market position relative to competitors and highlights opportunities for improvement.

In this article I describe how to use it properly—and which important things you should remember.

What Do You Want From It?

Before starting your analysis, take time to clarify your objectives. Only allocate resources once you have a clear understanding of your ultimate goal.

What might it be?

  • Identifying what feature should be the next in your roadmap.
  • Deciding on how much marketing budget we will need in the next year to win the segment.
  • Fine-tuning product’s positioning in the desired market.
  • …and a dozen more reasons.

Depending on your goal, you might want to define the scope of your research more specifically. For example, if you aim to win the market, you probably want to have a look at its leaders first of all. In other cases, if you want to disrupt the industry, you might want to analyze products even out of your niche.

Who Are Your Competitors?

Now, how do you define your competitors? As mentioned in my earlier article on Product Vision, there are two types:

  • Analogs, or direct competitors — they are very similar to your solution. If you sell a book, think of other books here.
  • Substitutes, or indirect competitors — they solve customer’s problems differently. If you sell a book, think of game consoles, which also help customers kill their free time, but in another way.

You may want to look at analogs only or together with substitutes — again, it depends on your purpose. But how should you find information on them?

Gathering Data

There are three primary sources of data to consider:

  • Customers: directly ask them which products they use to solve the problem you are addressing and how they use these products. Gathering sufficient data will take time and effort.
  • Market research by specialized agencies. Great source of structured information on markets, though detailed reports from known publishers like Statista are costly.
  • Public data on the Internet. Google and Chat GPT will provide you with plenty of information if only you do not operate in extremely specific niches like military or rare diseases.

What to Look At

You may want to look at certain features and metrics according to your particular purposes, but generally, the main things to consider when comparing companies during competitive analysis are as follows.

Marketing Strategy. Understand how the competitor positions itself and promotes its products in the market. This may include:

  • Product: quality, features, unique value propositions.
  • Pricing: strategy, models, discounts, etc.
  • Place: distribution channels and geographical reach.
  • Additional marketing tools, like promotions, loyalty programs, social media marketing, advertising campaigns, etc.

Operational Strategy. Describes how organizations built their day-to-day operations. Usually consists of:

  • Technology and Innovation: R&D investments, patents, etc.
  • Customer Service: how it is built and how satisfied customers are.
  • Supply Chain Management: how they organize and control their relationships with suppliers (i.e., long-term contracts with the fixed prices might be a huge competitive advantage).

Performance. Ok, you know what is your competitors’ product and what they do on their operations side to make it possible, but how good are they at it? Two crucial things for your research that may be hard to measure are:

  • Financial Performance: revenue and profit margins, cost structure.
  • Market Performance: market share, customer base.

Having all this information gathered, it is now time to inspect it and, finally, analyze.

SWOT Analysis

Defining the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors is crucial. Analyze the data thoroughly—use visualizations where applicable, verify against customer reviews, and even try competitors' products if possible.

The great technique widely used for this step is called SWOT analysis, which means Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Let’s look at what might be behind all these categories:

  • Strengths: successful pricing model, unique features, loyal customers.
  • Weaknesses: unstable infrastructure, absence of loyalty program.
  • Opportunities: partnerships, growing market, web3 trends.
  • Threats: new regulations, economic downturn, supplier pressure.

It helps you to structure all the information you gathered and think of your positioning and strategy against this input.

Finally, you want to understand your competitors' strengths so that you can compete with them directly if you possess the same qualities, take their weaknesses into consideration so that you can beat them in the comparison, embrace the opportunities they have, and mitigate risks from the Threats category.

What Is Next

Having all the information well-structured and organized, it is much easier to make a decision. If you were interested in what feature would be the best choice for your product’s roadmap, probably, you can now easily answer that.

As for the more common case, when the analysis is conducted in preparing for the strategic planning, next steps are usually as follows:

  • Create a Differentiation Strategy. You may now plan on how to differentiate your product from the competition. Probably, you will need to add some features, or to think on pricing policies.
  • Define Market Positioning. You want to determine your unique value proposition and accent any strengths that you possess in your offer compared to others.
  • Monitor and Control Changes. It is a good idea to assess competitors' landscape from time to time for both tracking their progress and your own results.


Competitive analysis is a cornerstone of strategic planning and is crucial in product management. The more you understand the market, the better you can plan your actions. It's worth the effort to obtain the most accurate and complete data available.

Not less important, though, is structuring this data the way that helps, not confuses you. SWOT analysis is one of the great options, but you may want to explore more of them, like PEST analysis, probabilities matrix, or Porter’s Five Forces.

And finally, remember that the best competitive analysis is those that is conducted not once, but on a regular basis.

Appendix: Useful Free Resources

If you want to learn more about the SWOT technique, I recommend reading this article.

Here are some free resources for product managers seeking competitor data:

  • G2. Find key metrics and product reviews for a wide range of software products, from task trackers to blockchain platforms.
  • SimilarWeb provides statistics on website visitors and behavior. You should keep in mind that resources like this don’t work really well for small sites. The common rule is “the bigger the audience, the better the accuracy”, but for the purposes of comparing two similar projects it is good enough.
  • TrustPilot customer reviews (a lot of them highly detailed) for a plenty of products, services and goods.
  • Crunchbase is a great source of information on companies’ size, funding and last M&As.
  • LinkedIn, of course, is the number one resource for gathering any data on companies you may be interested in.