The Competitive Profile Matrix is an analytical tool that helps you establish your company’s competitive advantage in an easy to use and read format. At one glance, you will be able to see your company’s competitive landscape, your position in a given market, and possible opportunities to differentiate your company’s products and services from the competition.
With the Competitive Profile Matrix, you’re able to identify the Critical Success Factors that are contributing to the gains of you and your competitors. These Critical Success Factors are obtained through careful analysis of the most relevant internal and external factors in your industry.
Types of Critical Success Factors
Critical Success Factors are the factors that are most relevant to the success of your company and its competitors. Another way to look at this is to identify all of the factors that are most important to your existing and potential customers and then rank how your company compares with your competitors. This perspective will help you identify your core competencies, discover your weaknesses, and differentiate your products and services from your competitors.
There are four attributes of Critical Success Factors that you should pay attention to:
- Qualitative – these factors are based on visual and linguistic properties; there are two approaches to consider:
- Answer with yes or no to indicate whether a factor is present
- Offer a short explanation for each competitor
- Internal Environment – these pertain to factors within each company’s internal environment, including:
- Marketing Effectiveness
- Target Markets
- Manufacturing Efficiencies
- HR Practices
- Financial Positions
- Product Development
- Research & Development
- Quantitative – these factors are numerical; there are two ways to approach this type of factor:
- Assign a ranking versus your competitors on a scale of 1 – 5
- Use real numerical values when applicable (Examples: prices, number of products, spec measurements of products, etc.)
- External – these are factors that occur in your industry or even outside of your industry in some cases. These factors are under the PESTLE framework, and they include:
A great way to brainstorm these factors is to use a matrix like the one below:
You may also want to weigh each critical success factor you choose appropriately. An example of a weighing scenario is shown below:
Simpler Versions of the Competitive Profile Matrix
In many cases, it may be more convenient to not rely on a weight component in your analysis. Below, are simpler versions and examples of the Competitive Profile Matrix, which are well worth utilizing in your organization:
Uses and Outcomes
Here are a few uses and outcomes the matrix may reveal:
- Find ways to differentiate and improve your products or services when compared to your competitors
- Develop new ways to easily customize your products to meet the differing needs of customers
- Develop a new marketing and sales initiative to communicate your products’ benefits and advantages more effectively than your competitors
- Find an opportunity to develop new products that will further differentiate your company
One thing to keep in mind about profitable growth is that companies that design and deliver more distinctive products can generally command a higher profit margin. Competing on cost is a dead end. There will always be competitors who will offer products with low costs and near zero margins—especially in an international competitive space. But by continually seeking out ways to make your products and services more unique and distinctive, as well as effectively meeting your customers’ unmet needs in new and interesting ways, your company will be on the road to developing a profitable growth plan now and in the future. The Competitive Profile Matrix is an excellent framework in which to start this initiative.
- Alter, C. (2009). The Competitive Matrix Analysis | AllBusiness.com. AllBusiness.com. Retrieved 2 April 2017, from https://www.allbusiness.com/the-competitive-matrix-analysis-12278078-1.html
- Berry, T. (2016). How to Use the Competitive Matrix to Explain Your Position in the Market – Bplans Blog. Bplans Blog. Retrieved 2 April 2017, from http://articles.bplans.com/develop-competitive-matrix-plan-pitch/
- IlektraRachovitsa – Competitive Matrix. (2017). Ilektrarachovitsa.wikispaces.com. Retrieved 2 April 2017, from https://ilektrarachovitsa.wikispaces.com/Competitive+Matrix
- mSpot: We Have the “Holy Grail” of Mobile Movies. (2011). WebProNews. Retrieved 2 April 2017, from http://www.webpronews.com/mspot-we-have-the-holy-grail-of-mobile-movies-2011-08/
- Jurevicius, O. (2013). What happens when you don’t analyze your competitors?. Strategic Management Insight. Retrieved 2 April 2017, from https://www.strategicmanagementinsight.com/tools/competitive-profile-matrix-cpm.html
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