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Benchmarking Against Competitors

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Competitor analysis

Before coming up with a digital marketing plan, you need to know who your competitors are. Whatever industry you are in, whatever product or service you’re offering, it’s very important to have a dynamic view of your competitors. Every month, every week, and every quarter there are new entrants coming into the market. If you only focus on your top three competitors, you will miss the new entrants. So think about your key competitors AND new people who are entering the market. Know what they’re doing, benchmark them, and then gear up to stay ahead of the game.


Competitors’ objectives

rsquo; objectives

Try to understand what your competitors’ objectives are. Do they seek to gain market share? Do they attempt to capture premium clients? See your industry through their eyes. What are they trying to achieve?


Competitors’ strategies

rsquo; strategies

Next, look at your competitors’ marketing strategies. What marketing strategies do they use? Look at their advertising, public relations, and so on.


Competitors’ capabilities

rsquo; capabilities

It’s also important to analyze your competitors’ capabilities. What are their strengths? Price, service, convenience, extensive inventory are all areas where they may be vulnerable. What are their weaknesses? Weaknesses are opportunities you should plan to take advantage of.


Competitors’ assumptions

rsquo; assumptions

Think about your competitors’ assumptions. What advantages do competitors have over you? Maybe a competitor is providing a particular service to customers really well. You might ask, “How can I provide that service? What exactly is my competitor doing? And how are they doing it?”

Benchmarking against digital leaders

How do you benchmark against your digital leaders?

  • Compare yourself to competitors – do you compare favorably?
  • Identify gaps – what services don’t you offer and what channels are you not serving?
  • Identify improvements – what will enable you to leapfrog ahead of your competitors?
  • Certification – what kind of certification would give you authority in your industry?
  • Enhance value – how can you offer customers enhanced value?


Tools that are used to identify digital leaders to benchmark against include:

  • Google Search.
  • Social Networks.
  • PeerIndex
  • Kred
  • Webby Awards
  • Socialbakers

Advantages of benchmarking

The advantages of benchmarking are:

  • It helps you set meaningful targets: Allows you to set targets that are appropriate to your business and the industry that you are operating within.
  • You gain insight into trends occurring across your industry: Analyze trends in order to keep up with competitors and even spy opportunities to occupy a space that your competitors don’t, providing you with first-mover advantage.
  • You find out how you are doing compared to your competitors: Establish your position compared to your competitors, which can in turn provoke action to assess what you are doing wrong and how you should improve.

Importance of a competitive advantage

As Jack Welch said, “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate the learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”

A competitive advantage is how your company differentiates itself from the competition and makes it more likely that customers will buy from you rather than from your competitors.

It is important to adopt a competitive advantage which is sustainable and repeatable over a defined number of years, in order to retain customers and maintain growth.

  • Positioning is better than prospecting: Everybody is looking for prospects, clients,and customers. This never-ending process will eventually burn you out, and is tough to scale. An easier way to approach your business is to position yourself as the leading authority, expert, specialist,or trusted advisor on your subject. This takes strategic and intentional action, but the rewards are exponential. When you’re perceived as the expert, people will start coming to you, instead of you chasing them. Be more elite and exclusive, and make it an honor to work with you.
  • Plans fail, movements don’t: Reposition your business and make it ‘about something.’ Think about Disney. It’s not about movies,amusement parks or cruises. The companyis where ‘Dreams come true.’ The entrepreneurs on a mission bigger than themselves are always attracting top-tier talent. Life becomes much more fulfilling when you become involved in a movement or a cause greater than yourself.
  • Stand on the shoulders of giants: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, and you sure as hell don’t need to figure everything out yourself. Find something that is already working and make it better.
  • Become a people developer: You can’t do it all by yourself. You not only need a solid team around you, but you need to know how to develop and lead that team. When you watch sports, you’ll find the most successful teams play well together, complement each other,and have one single focus: winning. The same goes for business and life. The people you have in your inner circle, and those you associate with the most, are your team. Who needs to be on your team to make sure you have a ‘dream team’?All successful people have mastered building teams, and have supportive people around them that complement their strengths and make up for their weaknesses.
  • Create raving fans and advocates: The likelihood of the marketplace responding because youwant something is non-existent! Business is the management of promises and if you can consistently deliver and exceed promises forall your customers, you’re ahead of the game. It’s much more expensive to get a new customer than it is to take care of the ones you have. The purpose of business is to create raving fans and advocates, who will go out of their way to promote what you do. Not because you asked them, but because they want to. Outstanding client support and service are affected by every person in your organization - from reception to the CEO. You must create a culture where people are passionate about meeting the clients’
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Satarupa Banerjee

Satarupa Banerjee holds an MBA from Cranfield University and an MSc from University College of Science and Technology. She has extensive experience across numerous industries including insurance, retail, healthcare and banking. Currently, she heads Direct Marketing Products in Direct Line Group where she has delivered several CRM campaigns. In the past she has also held roles as Customer Value Strategies Manager, Change Manager, and Sales Performance Manager.

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

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    Strategy Formulation and Plan
    Satarupa Banerjee
    Skills Expert

    This module focuses on using strategic planning to drive marketing activities that will enable a business to win a competitive advantage. It covers assessing internal capabilities and addressing skills gaps, benchmarking, information gathering, SWOT analysis, evaluating digital channel tactics, and strategy implementation. It also covers documenting a digital strategy using SMART criteria and knowing how to evaluate the effectiveness of a digital strategy using KPIs, targets, and marketing analytics.