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Competitive intelligence sets you every time one step ahead of your competitors

Those who know everything about their competition are bound to win the business game.

Either you do it at internal level, or with the help of a consulting company, competitive intelligence analysis is a process that every organization should perform periodically.

You may be tempted to believe that you have developed a unique product or service, take into account that there are no organizations lacking competition. Even though you may not have direct competitors, consider the indirect competition, at least equally important.

What is competitive analysis?

According to the respectable entrepreneurship resource in the U.S.A., Investopedia, competitive analysis (known strategically as “competitive intelligence”) means:

Competitive intelligence is the act of collecting and analyzing actionable information about competitors and the marketplace to form a business strategy. Its aim is to learn everything there is to know about the competitive environment outside your business to make the best possible decisions about how to run it.

By design, competitive intelligence gathering must be performed quickly and ethically, must be all-encompassing, and must utilize both published and unpublished sources.

It is successful when a business has a detailed enough portrait of the marketplace so that it may anticipate and respond to challenges and problems before they arise.

The particular activities for this type of research can be grouped in two main typologies:

  1. Tactical, short-term, targeting problems as market share or income growth;
  2. Strategical, long-term, that concentrate on the main risks and opportunities of the company.

At organizational level, the competitive analysis will mean different things, for different people.

For example, for a sales agent, it can represent concrete advice about how to make an offer to his clients, as efficient as possible.

For management, it can mean any information about marketing strategies used by competitors in order to win the market share. The final goal of every competitive research is to give information for making accurate business decisions and to grow the performance of the company.

Even though the majority of the companies are able to find substantial information about its competitors online, the competitive analysis goes beyond Internet searching. By stating this, we start to form the idea that the true useful competitive information is not available online. A typical competitive research study will include information and analysis from many methods and sources. This includes the media, interviews with competitors and their clients, experts, fairs and conferences, governamental files and other public information.

Why should you perform competitive intelligence?

Competitive field evaluation should be a continuous process for every organisation: even though you periodically ask the help of an agency for a in-depth analysis, you should always be aware of your main competitors actions.

What are the main takeaways?

  • Anticipation. For a good competitive analysis, your company can anticipate the next market movements.
  • Accuracy. Competitive analysis offers an accurate, complete image of the actions taken in the industry and can help preventing bad decisions, or it can reduce their effect.
  • Learning. Through competitive analysis you can learn from the experience of other brands: you can discover possibilities of improvement or things that affected them and have to be avoided.
  • Opportunities. Competitive analysis can give the company opportunities that should be exploited, and thus obtaining an advantage.
  • Loyalty. Through competitive analysis you can give the consumers advantages they don’t receive from your competitors, and thus loyalizing them.
  • Optimal price. Through competitive analysis you can set an optimal price in regard to competitors.
  • Profit. By optimizing the activity and by giving your customers advantages the competitors don’t offer, your company will record sales and profit growth.

We’ve compiled a series of benefits which an organisation can obtain, closely checking the products, the price, the employees, the research initiatives and other competitors activities:

  • Market understanding
  • Better client targeting
  • Potential market forecast
  • Understanding the economic field impact on the market
  • Understanding the competitors offers
  • Keeping control over the competitors price
  • Identifying new clients
  • Developing corporate strategies
  • Developing competitive strategy for a particular competitor
  • Preparing a new product or a strategic movement on the market
  • Anticipating new opportunities or paradigm changes in the market
  • Evaluating the efficiency of the promotional messages and of the competitors position on the market.

From a macro perspective, an organization that makes competitive intelligence analysis in a systematic way, will be able to determine market trends and to foresee plots, which allow the company to make quick movements when needed.

When is the perfect time to perform competitive analysis?

  • When you want to launch a new business and you want to know what competitors you will have.
  • When you want to launch a new product or service on the market.
  • When you want to build your market strategy.
  • When you want to differentiate yourself from the existing competitors.
  • When you intent to do a repositioning of your business.
  • When you want to increase your clientele loyalty.
  • When you want to optimise the price of your products and services.
  • When you want to change the product and services means of distribution to the customers.
  • When you want to anticipate market trends.

How does a competitive analysis take place?

The first decision you should make when you want to do a competition study is whether you’ll make it yourself or you will hire a consultancy agency. A deal which will benefit you is to make periodical studies with the help of an agency (once every 6 months or once a year), and in the rest of the time to monitor the competitors yourself, at internal level. This way, you will maintain an optimal balance between your budget and professionalism.

A few ideas about how you can monitor the competitors at internal level are to follow their social media accounts, sign up on their newsletter or monitor their press and online appearances with specialised instruments.

First of all, the benefit of hiring a consultancy company, is the experience they have in obtaining information. The consultants you will work with, have the experience of many studies,  which means they will do thing you wouldn’t normally think of, in a systematic manner. At MKOR, we have the experience of dozens of such studies, a number that is constantly growing, due to the projects that we’re constantly developing.

A competitive intelligence study will include the analysis of every possibility your clients have, including potential indirect competitors (for example, if your product is coffee, your competitors will be represented by other coffee and tea brands) or potential new entrants on the market (from public and private sources we research if there are arrangements for launching new similar products or services).

Often, the entrepreneurs mistakenly believe they don’t have any competitors, but this is a false argument, because everybody has competitors (even though indirect ones). On the other side, it is possible that the market you are in to be extremely crowded. Thereby, we recommend a classification of the most important competitors you want to keep monitoring.

Another valuable direction is to find out what the competitors clients say, measure their satisfaction levels, and if the competitors actually deliver at promised standards. This kind of information is harder to discover, but – with the right methods – it can be done.

How to analyze the competition?

  • Analyze products and services.
  • Comparative analysis between the competitors.
  • Comparative analysis between competitors and your company.
  • Analyze of the advantages delivered by every competitor.
  • SWOT analysis.

Competitive analysis is critical for your market strategy, through which you can decide on key aspects of your business.

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Take a look at our previous competitive intelligence projects

Read some stories from our research portfolio to get an idea of what we've worked on. We can take on any kind of project, in every business niche.

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At MKOR, all our efforts are directed towards the success of our clients. Each project we develop has strategic goals and a global focus on the whole organization.

Being in business means being up to speed about your competitors, market, and consumers. You'll get a list of competitors with business summaries, an analysis of your strengths and weaknesses relative to competitors, and a breakdown of strategies.

Contact us to get more info about our competitive intelligence process, every client case is unique.

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