What is competition mapping? How to gain the competitive edge 

Competitor mapping is the process of identifying and analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, and market positions of your rivals.

Competitive market analysis helps you make informed decisions about anything from marketing to hiring. You’ll uncover opportunities and threats, which helps you develop a roadmap to your ideal market position and increase your market share.

No matter how great your gut feeling is, don’t try to find your competitive advantage based on intuition alone. Whether it’s a treasure hunt or driving to your holiday destination, maps are your friend.

The same goes for finding your way in your competitive landscape.

Here we’ll talk about approaching competitive analysis a little differently, by using competition mapping.

What is competition mapping, and why is it important?

Competition mapping, also known as competitive analysis, is a systematic process of researching and analyzing your competitors to identify their strengths and weaknesses, understand their market positioning, and develop effective strategies to gain your own competitive advantage.

The purpose of competition mapping is to give you real-life, real-time insights that will supercharge the way you do product development, marketing and pricing. It enables you to work in a way that fits the market needs, based on research.

There are several ways you can map the competition. Some of the factors that you should consider to include in your competitor analysis are:

  • Product offering: What products and services do your competitors offer, and how do they compare to your own? What are their unique product features and benefits? How well does this give consumers what they want?
  • Market positioning: How do your competitors position themselves in the market? Are they targeting the same customers as you are, or are they focused on a different segment? Do they focus on only a specific segment or the entire market? And: how big is their market share?
  • Marketing strategy: What marketing channels and tactics do competitors use to promote their products? How effective are their marketing efforts? How do they react to market trends?
  • Brand reputation: What is the reputation of competitors in the market? How do customers perceive their brand? What’s this brand’s strengths and value proposition, and how does it compare to yours?
  • Customer experience: What is the quality of customer service offered by competitors? What is the experience of customers who purchase from them? Do they have online communities? What’s their support like?
  • Strengths and weaknesses: What are your competitor’s ultimate strengths and weaknesses? What are their core competencies, and where do they struggle? And how do you compare?
  • Pricing strategy: How do your competitors price their product or service? Are they asking higher prices, or using different pricing systems? How would a change in your product price affect the market?

When analyzing these factors, you get to know your competition not only through your own eyes, but also through the eyes of potential customers. This will get you a better understanding of what their customer journey is like and how your competitors are influencing their purchasing decisions.

Make decisions that’ll put you ahead of the competition

By using reliable consumer insights you can make better business decisions—and that’ll give you the upper hand against your competitors. Here’s our list of the top competitor tracking tools.

See the top tools

The benefits of competitive mapping

Competitor analysis is always in season. But why focus on what other businesses are up to? Keeping track of your competitors regularly is a great way to measure progress, spot trends and to see what your potential customers expect from your market. Here are some other key benefits of competitive mapping:

Learn how to build a better product

Building a better product doesn’t just happen overnight. And while you shouldn’t copy your competitors, you can certainly learn from them—their successes, but also their mistakes.

By analyzing your competitors’ products and services, you can identify areas where you can improve your own offerings and stand out in the market. Browse through their products, read reviews by customers or even ask your target audience about their experience with competing products and brands.

Have more success from your marketing decisions

If you want to stand out in your target market, you’ll need to know what other people are doing—so you can develop strategies that are better.

By understanding your competitors’ marketing strategies and tactics, you can develop effective marketing campaigns that resonate with your target audience and help you create unique messages and campaigns.

Identify new opportunities and spot future competitors

Watch out for those indirect competitors! Conducting a broad competitor analysis might help you see brands, products or services that are able to steal a chunk of your market share.

But it isn’t all danger: by analyzing the competitive landscape, you may also uncover new market segments or product niches that are underserved or overlooked by your competitors, providing you with opportunities for growth.

Stay ahead of the curve

By keeping tabs on your competitors’ moves, you can stay up-to-date with industry trends and developments, helping you stay ahead of the competition and remain relevant to the market.

New product launches, channels they start using (or dropping) or other small tactics are always good to spot. Don’t simply copy them however: first try to understand how the things your direct competitors are doing fit into the market and make your product or service a better fit for target markets.

Enhance customer experience

By analyzing your competitors’ customer service practices and identifying areas for improvement, you can provide a better customer experience and build stronger relationships with your customers.

Learn what customers are missing from your direct competition and find ways to support them in a way that goes above and beyond.

How to create your competitor map

Every competitor map will look different, and every competitive analysis will follow slightly different steps. But there are some that you simply shouldn’t skip.

Let’s look at some steps to take to inspire your process.

  1. Set a goal for your competitor analysis

Before you take a deep dive into what your competitors are doing, take a step back and define the objective of your upcoming competitor research.

What is the reason you’re doing this? Is it because there’s a growing market demand and you want to take your share? Is it because you’re launching a new product or service and want to identify your competitors for that specific product?

Or are you trying to formulate a unique selling proposition? Whatever your goal is, make it clear at the start, so you can find competitors that are relevant to your research and don’t gather unusable data. We’re going for actionable insights here. It can help to tie your objective to a desired action if needed!

2. Conduct initial market research to identify direct competitors

Start off with getting to know the relevant parts of your market (again). Take stock of the current state and what trends have passed the stage. This will also help you identify your main competitors, and indirect competition.

Remember: a business doesn’t have to be in the same category as yours to be a competitor in your target audience’s eyes!

This part can involve running primary research like surveys, looking at search engine results, industry reports, and social media to identify companies that offer similar products or services to your own.

Need a starting point? Our market analysis template is a great tool to kick things off with.

3. Gather information on your competitors

Once you have identified your competitors, gather information on their products, services, pricing, marketing strategies, and customer experience.

This can involve conducting online research, reviewing customer feedback, and analyzing their websites and social media profiles.

You can use a classic SWOT analysis, or create a competition map that is specifically tailored to the info you’re after.

4. Run a competitor analysis survey

Then it’s time to run a competitor analysis survey to really dig into the data on your competitors.

This can involve asking consumers and industry experts to rate your competitors based on factors such as product quality, pricing, customer service, and marketing effectiveness. This will help you understand their strengths and weaknesses from a customer’s perspective.

Remember: there’s absolutely no rule against running in-depth research into a specific competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, consumer perceptions etc. It’s even completely fine to run things like creative testing into competitors’ ads, and compare the data to yours.

Get started with an expert-written survey template

Make sure your competitor analysis gives you genuinely useful insight into how your competitors tick. Our Customer Research Team experts have written this survey template to give you a head start!

Open the template

5. Review internal brand attributes

The only way a competitor analysis makes sense, is if you tie it to your own brand.

If you haven’t already, use a brand perception survey to review your own brand attributes and compare them to those of your competitors. With this you can identify areas where you need to improve and highlight your unique selling points in the market.

Use our brand perception template to get started with an expert-written survey template.

6. Analyze your findings

Once you’ve gathered all the data, analyze your findings to create a comprehensive competitor map. This should include key information on your competitors, such as their products, pricing, marketing strategies, strengths and weaknesses.

If you’re ready to take the first step, don’t miss out on our competitor intelligence survey template to gather extra actionable insights.

Real-world competition mapping examples

Competition mapping can be done in literally any industry—from tech to hospitality, and from beauty to education.

Let’s explore how two vastly different companies, psLondon and Givaudan, used competition mapping with Attest to inform vital decisions and produce successful results, both in their own way.

From uncovering unique brand values to responding to consumer needs, these case studies showcase how a in-depth understanding of the competitive landscape can lead to actionable insights and game-changing strategies.


When you’re working with as many universities as we do, it quickly becomes apparent that a lot of them are saying the same thing. We wanted to be able to offer some insight into what makes a particular university unique, and so we turned to Attest.

Kendra Rogers, Head of Insight and Strategy at psLondon

psLondon, a creative and brand consultancy, took the university marketing world by storm when they developed a groundbreaking values-based marketing model that helped them stand out in a stagnant sector. But how did they do it? The answer lies in their clever use of competition mapping.

Working with UK universities, psLondon realized that many of them were saying the same things over and over again and lacked a unique selling point. To differentiate between the universities and create a compelling proposition for each one, they turned to Attest for insights.

psLondon competition mapping case study

They aimed to discover the values that people associate with different universities and used this information to create a marketing model that resonated with the critical Gen Z target market.

Inspired by the work of social psychologist Milton Rokeach, who proposed that 18 ‘terminal values’ guide all human decisions, psLondon set out to survey prospective undergraduates and current university students using Attest.

They then compared the values ascribed to each university by students at or considering attending that specific institution with the results as a whole.

This is where competition mapping comes into play. By analyzing the values associated with each university, psLondon was able to identify clear areas where certain universities stood out from others. For example, one of their universities over-indexed for the value of freedom.

Armed with this insight, PsLondon was able to create a unique and compelling proposition for that university: ‘the freedom to achieve’.

This values-led approach to university rebranding proved to be a massive success, and psLondon has since rolled the model out across four more UK universities. They are also currently working on campaigns and rebrands for a further three universities.

By tapping into the values that students already associate with each university, psLondon has created marketing and communications that feel more authentic and interesting.

Not only did psLondon’s innovative model revolutionize the stagnant university marketing space, but it also became a key differentiator for the consultancy and a driver of new business. They have even published white papers on the topic and spoken at higher education marketing conferences.

psLondon’s success highlights the importance of competition mapping in informing vital business decisions. By analyzing competitive dynamics and the values associated with each university, they were able to create a unique and compelling proposition for each institution, setting themselves apart from the competition and driving new business.


If you don’t meet the expectations of the final customers’ needs, then there are plenty of other partner options that they can turn to, especially in the world of cosmetics. To win new business, you have to be on trend.

Justine Catala, Consumer & Market Insights at Givaudan

In the world of cosmetics, the competition is fierce.

With so many options available, it’s easy for customers to turn to other partners if their needs are not met. That’s why companies like Givaudan need to stay on top of their game and eliminate guesswork. And they do so through competition mapping.

To win new business and stay ahead of competitors, they need to be on trend and respond to what consumers want. And that’s precisely what they do.

By using market analysis and category research, Givaudan listens to consumers to gain insights that will either validate their current ingredients and claims or help them uncover new trends to act upon and differentiate themselves from the competition.

Givaudan’s competition mapping approach focuses on ingredients and other product features of competitor products, but they don’t stop there. They match it with consumer needs, ensuring that they’re looking at their competitors through the eyes of their customers. This approach creates a strong differentiation for Givaudan in each of their active markets and allows them to maintain their status as the partner of choice for their customers.

Thanks to their competition mapping efforts, Givaudan gains a more profound understanding of the market and their competitors. This understanding not only helps them to create better products but also provides confidence in their buyers.

Where can competitive mapping take your business?

To the stars! Use your competitor map to find the way to the top.

Due to today’s highly competitive market conditions, it’s more important than ever to understand your competitors and where you stand in comparison to them.

Competitive analysis is an essential tool for businesses who are all about wanting to be the best choice in their market.

Through surveys and research, you can gain valuable competitive analysis insights into your competitors’ products, pricing strategies, marketing tactics, and customer service practices.

Competitive analysis helps you identify areas where you can improve your own offerings and how you should bring them to market.

But it’s not just about understanding your competitors—it’s also about understanding your customers. By looking at your competitors through the eyes of your customers, you can gain a deeper understanding of what they’re looking for and where the gaps in the market may be.

This can help you to identify new market segments or product niches that are underserved or overlooked by your competitors, providing you with opportunities for growth.

Attest offers a range of survey templates that can help you to gain the insights you need to map out your competitive landscape and identify gaps in the market.

From brand perception surveys to product testing and pricing research, our templates are designed to help you understand your positioning, competitors, and the needs of your target audience. Have a look at our expert-written survey templates to get started today.

The top competitor analysis tools for your brand!

Give your target customers EXACTLY what they’re looking for by gathering reliable insights into your competitors. Here’s our list of the top competitor tracking tools.

See the top tools

Nikos Nikolaidis

Senior Customer Research Manager 

Nikos joined Attest in 2019, with a strong background in psychology and market research. As part of Customer Research Team, Nikos focuses on helping brands uncover insights to achieve their objectives and open new opportunities for growth.

See all articles by Nikos