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A good competitive analysis is a scouting report of the actual market terrain the industry itself must navigate in order to be successful. Competitive analysis is a tool utilized in the strategic planning process to:
• Help management understand their competitive advantages/disadvantages relative to competitors
• Generate understanding of competitors’ past, present (and most importantly) future strategies
• Provide an informed basis to develop strategies to achieve competitive advantage in the future
• Forecast the returns that may be made from future investments
You may want to select your MAP industry or area of interest for this assignment but it is not required if you are still developing the focus of your MAP. Then prepare a competitive analysis of three of the largest competitors in the industry you are analyzing (or those that are of interest to you).Thoroughly research these competitors within the industry representing the following topics:
- Executive summary – High-level overview of the paper; this would be read by a busy executive to determine interest in the report and its findings. (One-page).
- Industry overview and description – Financial data, revenue size, number of competitors, industry leaders, etc. (Provide key industry stats based on IBIS or Hoover’s information (other sources are available as well). This can be a chart.
- Factors which drive this industry in regards to growth and innovation –Environmental Scan, social, legal, regulatory, demographic, etc. Also provide a SWOT of the three competitors in grid format. Consider how you would relate Blue Ocean Strategy to the three competitors and include an analysis utilizing Porter’s Five Forces.
- Analysis of top three competitors – Company financial data, major lines of business and potential divisions of interest, positioning, market share, branding, target market, company overview, products, revenue, HQ, employees, positioning, financial overview, points of differentiation, critical success factors, etc. This can be done as a grid if appropriate in total or in sections. Summarize section by answering the following questions:
- How do the companies stand up to the competition?
- What are the competitive edges of each?
- What does each do better than its competition?
- Where might each competitor be vulnerable?
- What is the major watch out for each competitor?
- How so, if not – what are the vulnerabilities?
- What are the market strategies utilized by each to achieve their objectives?
- Industry Future (this is your higher level analysis of the ‘industry facts’). What factors will impact the success or decline of this industry over the next three years? Where do you see the competitors in three years and how will the industry itself change? What recommendations would you have for each competitor based on what you have researched? This section should demonstrate how well you have synthesized the information and your analysis. This section should be two pages in length and supported by your research.
- Conclusion – your final thoughts on this industry. Would you recommend it as an industry to invest over the next three years? (Section 5 & 6 needs to be at least two pages – three pages with support).
This paper requires solid research using credible secondary sources citing 5 – 8 credible references sources including IBIS. The annual reports and web pages of the specific competitors should be used for foundational information but present a potential biased perspective of the company. Therefore, they should not be used for support throughout the paper itself. The final paper should be approximately eight to ten pages plus references and exhibits. Paper MUST be in APA format with a Cover page, Table of Contents, Reference page and any applicable appendices. NOTE: Section 5 and Section 6 should represent a robust analysis from your background related to the stats in Sections 1-2-3-4. This is where you really drill into the analysis!