Becoming the top competitor in your market is all about balance. It’s the process of finding the happy medium between creating a distinctive brand while also being at the center of your market. So how do you achieve that? Let’s start with mapping out the competitive landscape.

Arial photo of a city at night

What is mapping?

This is a process of collecting data like location of consumers, geography of competitors in your market, and the strategies that go into selling products and services similar to yours. This visual positioning tool helps you visualize competitive opportunities.

What’s the importance?

Mapping out the competitive landscape serves as a starting point to determine who your competitors are. It helps you visualize the physical space or geography you’re serving within the digital world. The geography could be anything from a small, local population to a larger physical location — like the Midwest, the nation, or the entire world. But it gives you context to see who is playing in the “same space” as you.

This is especially important to know since your share of voice directly correlates with your share of the market or the profit available. When you know who else is competing, you can research their marketing habits, strategies, and successes. This opens a gateway for you to create your own strategy and help establish your name and brand within the market. This puts your business in a successful position.

Market mapping also helps you analyze your competition so that you can strategize how to share your mission and voice with your target audience.

Push pins laying on a map

How to start mapping

In order to make a successful map, you need to know your ideal customer. Understanding the psychographic information is key.

This includes understanding customer preferences and behaviors — like habits, hobbies, and preferred products. Knowing your audience’s wants and needs will help with creating successful advertising. All of which increases user interaction. Not sure how to determine who your ideal customer is? Start with creating an audience segment.

Once you’ve established your target goal, it’s time to make a map of your competitive landscape. This process can be broken down into four parts.

  1. Define your geography – It’s time to take a look at where your current customers are located. Whether this is a city, state, region, nation, the globe, or anywhere in between, this will help you narrow down your competition. It will also help with strategization later.
  2. Look for competitors – Once you’ve secured your region, let’s see who your direct opponents are. Competitors include any company that provides the same or similar services or products as you. You may know a few off the top of your head.
    • If you’re unsure how to find them, using analytics tools, Google Ads data, and keyword search can help you pinpoint what sites are gaining traction off of elements like word choice.
  3. Compare available products – In comparison to direct brand competitors, products themselves are simple. You want to differentiate your products from the others on the market. Look at reviews from consumers — what do they like or dislike about your product or competitors’ products? This information strengthens your product-based campaign strategy.
  4. Make updates – Strategizing isn’t over after you make one map. Customer bases and markets change. So it’s necessary to periodically check in on the data surrounding your market.

Keep your map up to date

When it comes to updating your landscape map, it’s important to ask yourself questions like: Has our geography changed? What are the new trends we’re seeing? Is the market shifting? And, what market demands are we seeing?

By answering these questions — and collecting the data — you’ll stay on top of market trends, giving you a competitive edge. It also supplies you with more information to craft the right marketing and campaign strategies.

Using tools like Google MyMaps is a fantastic way to build a physical, scalable model of your competitive landscape. Or, we here at MKR, would love to do it for you. Let’s develop that competitive edge you need to set your brand apart.