How a competitor SWOT will accelerate your sales & marketing ROI today

How a competitor SWOT will accelerate your sales & marketing ROI today

A competitor SWOT analysis is a decision-making tool which helps brands to develop a clear marketing strategy. This tool aims to help businesses create a better overview of a competitor’s business situation. From the results of the analysis, brands can gain numerous opportunities to stay ahead of trends. In this article, brands can learn the importance of completing a competitor SWOT analysis.

Understanding a competitor SWOT analysis

Competitor SWOT analysis is a framework developed by  a group of marketing experts. It is one of the most reliable tools that a brand can use to put together a corporate strategy. This is a tried and tested method which allows brands to get a better understanding of a competitor. SWOT represents Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Strengths and Weaknesses

These are internal factors relating to a brand’s organisation or specific project.

  • Strengths – List the main strengths of your competitors and how these give them an advantage. What is the competitor company doing right?

Simply put, these are the marketing strengths which make a competing organisation attractive to the target audience. Place products and services side by side to see what a competing company is offering. From this point, try to find a comparative advantage. A brand should consider adopting the same – or even going beyond – tactics as the competitor. After reviewing their strengths, businesses need to think about their own unique selling proposition (USP) to make their company distinguishable from others.

  • Weaknesses – Define ares in which competitors may be lacking or are at a disadvantage. What are the competitive brands doing wrong?

Brands can learn a lot by simply listing down everything that the competition is doing wrong. From negative reviews to customer complaints, identify factors which can easily be avoided. Brands must take note of weaknesses which may be harmful to the market. These mistakes can either be avoided or used to the brand’s advantage.

Opportunities and Threats

These are external factors which depend on the environment of the organisation or project.

  • Opportunities – Pull together the collated information in order to consider aspects that the brand can exploit to create an advantage.

Opportunities are factors which may be of interest to an organisation. They offer a possibility for the business to prosper. External influences are extraneous variables reaching beyond a brand’s control. These affect a competitive company’s marketing strategy. Decision makers should be vigilant and make quick choices when dealing with any potential opportunity.

For example, take a look at how competitors prepare for special occasions such as Christmas and New Year. How do they prepare to meet increasing demands and improve market position during these busy seasons? How can your brand copy these strategies?

  • Threats – Understand issues which could cause trouble for the business.

Stay ahead by planning how best to eliminate or counter these. The objective of identifying threats is to be able to address the problem before it happens or becomes a serious issue.

A typical SWOT analysis can be plotted using a chart or quadrant map. To create a SWOT analysis, brands simply need to put together a grid which is comprised of four elements. The grid will be filled in with data which will allow brands to learn more about where they are versus the competition.

WPCrafter shows how brands can spy on their competition from WordPress.

How to do a SWOT analysis of the competition

To do a competitor SWOT analysis, brands need to consider the following questions for each element:


  • What factors does the competitor do really well?
  • What are the areas that a competitor is known for?
  • What attracts customers to competitors?
  • Why do customers ultimately end up purchasing from the competition?


  • What do the competitors’ customers regularly complain about?
  • What issues did the customers experience when they “shopped” with the competitors?
  • What products or services should the competitors have offered but didn’t?


  • Are your competitors doing anything which presents an opportunity for your small business?
  • Have they stopped carrying any products?
  • Have they changed any of their services?


  • Is the competitor doing anything that could be a threat to your brand?
  • Are they offering new products or services?
  • Have they lowered their prices recently?
  • Are they moving to a new location closer to your brand (for bricks and mortar stores)?
A template which shows more than the typical SWOT analysis. It creates additional steps to truly understand the competition.
A template which shows more than the typical SWOT analysis. It creates additional steps to truly understand the competition.
Source: SmartInsights

Evaluating the competition means being committed to finding out who they are and what they do. It is crucial to focus on direct competitors as they are the businesses which operate within the same geographic area and offer similar products to the same consumers. Once brands have a list of who the direct competition is, they can consider looking at their sales process, the products or services that they offer and their marketing tactics.

When assessing a competitor’s product or service, take a look at their entire line and compare it to what your brand is currently offering. Pay attention to their ideal customers, how they generate sales and how much market share they hold.

Going beyond the basic competitor SWOT analysis

If brands simply stop at gathering data, they may miss out on crucial actionable insights. To take competitor SWOT to the next level, brands should consider crossing some of the elements which will help to uncover additional opportunities.

For example, crossing Strength with Opportunities will help to reveal unmet needs which can be a rich source of new customers.

SWOT analysis can provide excellent benefits for your brand
Source Startupguys

Uses of a competitor SWOT analysis

To build strategic plans

A SWOT analysis is the best tool to help in brainstorming and strategic planning. A brand will be able to get more value from a competitor SWOT when it is conducted with specific goals in mind. Some of these goals may be:

  • Gain new opportunities.
  • Respond to new trends and changes.
  • Implementation of new strategy and tools.

Minimising weaknesses

Conducting a SWOT analysis of the competition will help brands to identify where mistakes are made. Brands can either avoid these mistakes or build their marketing strategy to take advantage of where the competition is failing. 

To improve SEO techniques

A competitor SWOT analysis will help businesses to identify areas to focus on; especially in the area of SEO. SEO is a huge business effort and understanding the areas to focus on will help achieve quick wins. For example, if a brand is planning out the content that they will publish, a SWOT analysis will help to find the best topics to work on.

Use SWOT analysis to identify top keywords

A SWOT analysis matrix can also help to identify the best keywords to use for ranking. Brands can input high-ranking keywords into the Strengths field and, those that have poor ranking in the Weakness field. Place keywords which have a good search volume but low competition in the Opportunities field. Finally, keywords which are unique to the domain but can be used by competitors in the future can be placed in the Threats section.

This technique can give brands four sets of keywords which have differing values, liabilities and strategic value to the company. It helps the brand to choose the best keywords and, ultimately, help the company to rank higher.
Omnia’s Pricewatch is one of the best tools to work on competitor analysis

Using a competitor SWOT analysis to develop a marketing strategy

A key part of creating a marketing strategy planning is to conduct a competitive SWOT analysis. SWOT is created to be a comprehensive and quick guide to determine the marketing efforts of a competing company.

As a strategic tool, SWOT analysis contributes to a business by preparing the framework of an effective marketing strategy. Understanding what a promotion should be focused on and, the weaknesses to avoid, are some of the most valuable assets for improving sales.

Once strengths are identified, brands can use these to attract new customers. Likewise, early identification of weaknesses and potential threats allow brands to avoid the same issues happening within their own business.

Competitor SWOT analysis can be effectively managed with the help of tools. Some of the tools brands should check out are ispionage, Pricewatch, and Competitor’s App.

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About James

James is the founder of Customer Devoted and was previously the managing director of customer engagement agency Ogilvy One and the strategy director for customer loyalty consultancy The Collinson Group.

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