Decision framework for competitive analysis

For every promising business opportunity or market segment that you may choose to pursue, there is a decision pattern that can be used to guide a quick, but effective competitive analysis.

Market Research Decision Pattern -Tree

Market Research & Value Proposition decision pattern -Tree

I recommend that before you commit to a new opportunity, you quickly blitz through these decisions and “look under the hood” rather than depending on tempting first impressions and high level data.  First, you should think through your Market Research Strategy to determine how you will gain sufficient insight into the needs of this market to be able to “pull the trigger” with confidence.  Second, you should think through your Value Proposition and evaluate several unique value equations (alternatives) that you might offer against those offered by your top 2 or 3 competitors.

Most business case/plan templates encourage you to gather data concerning the competitive landscape, but don’t tell you what to do with this data.  There’s no reason to gather any competitor data that doesn’t specifically inform one of your decisions, particularly the Value Proposition decision.  The competitor data that you need should answer the question, “How will this value proposition alternative stack up against Competitor A, B, and C against this specific factor?”   Here’s a criteria pattern with some factors to consider:

Value Proposition - Criteria

Value Proposition – Criteria

The top 3 criteria are just placeholders for the customer priorities (market drivers, goals, requirements, constraints, hot buttons) that you discover through market research.  You may identify 5, 7 or even 10 such factors, depending on the depth of market research that you believe is justified during this competitive due diligence phase.

Once you’ve done a quick scoring of your value proposition alternative(s) against theirs, you can use the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) tools such as the Spider Chart and Tornado Diagram to gain insights and further refine/optimize your value proposition.   Or you may discover that you can’t really offer any compelling reason why you will attract market share (or win the contract) and decide not to pursue the opportunity rather than be just a “me-too” vendor.

For high risk – high reward opportunities, you may also want to fast-forward through each of these decisions and represent them as a competitive roadmap.  In the case of the Value Proposition decision, this implies identifying how your alternatives might evolve and also anticipating competitor moves and countermoves.  Your evolving value proposition and the competitor response are represented as alternative bars on the roadmap.  This enables you to build scenarios in which your strategy trumps the competition continuously as far as the eye can see.  And it doesn’t get any better than that….

Always do the required due diligence prior to pursuing a business opportunity or market segment. Let the powerful capabilities of the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) guide you through this process. Please contact the Decision Driven® Solutions team at or to start your free trial today.

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
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