Any company must ensure its positioning in the market and stand out from its competitors. To find out how consumers perceive its products, it can rely in particular on powerful analysis tools such as competitive mapping.
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What is competitive mapping?
Competitive mapping is a marketing tool allowing to analyze the positioning of a brand or a product in relation to the competition. This two-axis graph, two criteria defined by the company, facilitates the study of its strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of its competitors.
Competitive mapping, also called positioning map or perceptual map, highlights:
- The common points between the company and its competitors.
- Solutions and products offered by the competition.
- The brand’s competitive advantage, which sets it apart from others.
- Products or services offered neither by the company nor by the competition.
Competitive mapping serves as a monitoring and anticipation tool. Markets change, so do consumer expectations and competition. This notion of monitoring is therefore essential to monitor the markets and anticipate possible changes in strategies. The realization of a competitive mapping serves as a basis for the implementation of a marketing strategy by identifying in particular the less competitive market positions, or “niche” markets.
Competitive mapping analysis leads the company to adjust the positioning of its brand or product. It can thus use these graphics to extend the life cycle of its products by adapting their positioning during all stages of their existence on the market. These products will thus be sold over a longer period and the company will increase its profitability.
Do a competitive mapping
Competitive mapping provides an overview of the competition. This view is however simplified, because it is limited to the study of two criteria per graph. If a company wants to get more details about the competition, then it can perform several competitive mappings.
1- Define the diagnostic criteria
The objective of competitive mapping is to take advantage of market opportunities. It is therefore essential to pay particular attention to the choice of the criteria studied. For the mapping analysis to be relevant, the criteria must be just as relevant.
In order to start the realization of the competitive mapping, the company must choose two diagnostic criteria. These criteria depend on the business sector of the company and its offer. Competitive mapping can thus analyze:
- The price.
- The quality.
- The range (discount, mid or high end).
- Customer satisfaction.
- The usefulness of the product.
- Aesthetics, design.
- The influence (local, national, international).
- The importance within its activity (ancillary activity or core business).
- The target (general public or niche).
The company can of course define other criteria provided they are relevant. Indeed, to differentiate its offers and meet consumer expectations, competitive mapping must be representative of the demand of the identified market.
Competitive mapping can also integrate a third criterion, often linked to turnover.
2 – List the competitors
Some historical competitors are known to the company. It is nevertheless advisable to proceed regularly to a phase of benchmark on the web to identify competing companies that are new to the market.
3 – Create a chart
The company then creates a two-axis chart. The first criterion defined upstream will be placed on the abscissa of the graph and the second on the ordinate. If the brand wishes to study a third criterion, it can play on the size or the color of the logo of the brand or the product.
4 – Position the competitors on the graph
The company assigns a higher or lower value to its competitors for each of these criteria. This score is then plotted on the graph with respect to the values indicated on the axes. The resulting graph will allow you to move on to the last step: the analysis work.
5 – Analysis of the graph
Competitive mapping analysis makes it possible to distinguish strategic competitive groups. It is for example possible that the company notices that its competitors are positioning themselves on discount and low quality products. It would then be interesting to position its own products on a higher quality with a higher price to achieve greater customer satisfaction. If the brand is positioned at the center of the graphic, its products or services do not differentiate themselves from those of the competition. It will then be necessary to think about a marketing strategy by privileging one or two criteria to stand out and be better perceived by consumers.
An unoccupied area on the graph can be misleading. It can in fact be:
- From a niche market not yet exploited by its competitors.
- From a market for which demand is very low, or even non-existent.
Be careful not to limit yourself to competitive mapping as the basis for your entire marketing strategy! It is a visual tool allowing to have a general vision of the positioning of its brand and its competitors. Further study of the competition may be necessary.
Examples of competitive mapping
Competitive mapping for the Petit Bateau brand
For its competitive mapping, the Petit Bateau brand has chosen two criteria which are quality, represented on the x-axis and price, on the y-axis.
3 competitive strategic groups are identified: low-end with C&A, Kiabi and Orchestra; mid-range with H&M, Vert Baudet, Okaïdi and Kookaï; upscale with Jacadi, Tartine et Chocolat, Ralph Lauren, IKKS and Petit Bateau.
Competitive mapping for the bottled water market
- 3 competitive strategic groups identified.
- Possibilities of strategic positioning on well-being at low cost.
Competitive mapping for the high-end tea market
- 3 competitive strategic groups identified.
- Possibility of strategic positioning on the young target.
Competitive mapping basis for a restaurant
Source: creer entreprise.fr
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