Recently we’ve had several customers ask how to build a competitor map. As important as this business mapping exercise is, a competitor map is actually quite easy to construct. Before we build one, let’s explore why a competitor map is important.
Your company is creating a strategy for growth. At least it better be doing that. To do this effectively you need to know all you can about competition. By knowing more about where the competition operates you inform your decision-making processes.
Business tend to know who their competitors are. They try to keep tabs on competing businesses; what they sell, how much they charge, and how they advertise. A competitor map takes this a step further.
By placing a competitor’s headquarters address on a map, you have defined the central operational location of that business. Whether your competitors sell products and services nationwide or just around town, their facility locations have a major impact on how and where they do business. A competitor location adds to your overall situational awareness:
- A competitor map shows you where their core markets are located
- A competitor map can hint at delivery times, shipping and transportation costs
- A competitor map shows you the proximity of your competitor to your best customer
- A competitor map, appended with demographic data, speaks to both their markets and their labor pool
- Your business locations on a map compared to a competitor’s locations on a map, exposes areas of opportunity or saturation
Use a business mapping software to create a competitor map. Include your business locations, your customer address list and possibly add some demographic data to complete your analysis. Consider including sales territories as well, but only if that adds value to your decision-making.
Lastly, any competitor map should include an import list of competitor locations. This is now easily done in Map Business Online by accessing the Business Listings data (for a fee) which can provide competitor locations, sales and employee estimates, and branch locations.
How Do I Create a Competitor Map?
- Gather an address spreadsheet of your key competitor locations. Include branch locations as well as headquarters. Arrange location data into separate columns with headers for: Name, Address, City, State, and ZIP code.
- In the Map Business Online master toolbar click the Plot Data on Map button. Browse to your target data and select it. Verify location columns are accurately placed and adjust as necessary.
- Be sure to choose Company Name or a similar assignment for the name column. Assign columns of your choice to the five label flex field options that display with points on the map. Process the imported locations points to the map.
- Color code imported points by clicking the Color Code with Symbols button
- Repeat the above import process for additional address-base datasets – Your company critical locations, customer address datasets, prospective customer address datasets
- Color code and/or symbolize various dataset for quick identification on the map. Append additional information as appropriate to plotted point labels – like your imported business data
- At your discretion add background demographic layers by administrative district (typically ZIP code)
- Use the Business Listings Yellow Pages icon on the master tool bar to access Business Listings by polygon or radius, NAICS or SIC code industry category, business name, or by city, state or ZIP code.
- Share your competitor map with planning associates as required to secure feedback and ideas. Sharing options include: interactive web map through Map Business Online MapShare, static image files via email or simply share live Map Business Online business mapping via web share services like Join.Me or Skype for Business
Competitor maps help you understand your place in the market. They improve your situational awareness. Map views extract patterns and expose trends in your business. Every business has its own particular critical elements. If those elements have location components like address or lat/lon coordinates, add them to the map.
Remember to share your competitor map with trusted associates. They may see things you don’t.
Now you are competing. Doesn’t that feel better?
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