Comprehensive Competitor Identification


This Comprehensive Competitor Identification model allows you to identify all your organization’s current and potential competitors, whether direct, indirect, replacement, or SEO, and allows you to create an action plan to address the competition and improve your market position.  

To perform the Comprehensive Competitor Identification:

1. Identify and discuss different factors that define your organization’s competitive arena.
2. Identify your organization’s direct competitors (i.e., those with the same product and same goal), indirect competitors (i.e., those with a different product but the same goal), replacement/potential competitors (i.e., those with a different product and different goal, but use the same consumer resources), and SEO competitors (i.e., those that compete with you in search engine results).
3. Rate the significance/threat of each competitor.
4. Develop an action plan to improve your strategies and gain a better hold on your competition.


The Comprehensive Competitor Identification model can be used by project managers, sales leaders, strategy managers, and marketing managers.


“Competitor identification is a key task for managers interested in scanning their competitive terrain, shoring up their defenses against likely competitive incursions, and planning competitive attack and response strategies.” (Bergen & Peteraf, 2002)

Before you are able to fully analyze and understand the competition, you must first identify your existing and potential competitors. This allows you to accurately sense where your organization is in the playing field, and to anticipate when and how competitors might make their next strategic move.

Depending how similar or different a competitor is to you – whether in product, goals, or strategic choices – they could react in a myriad of ways to market opportunities and threats. One key factor in predicting a competitor’s future strategies is understanding how much or how little it resembles your own organization (Courtney, Horn, & Kar, 2009). Being able to quickly and intelligently predict their next moves will help you adapt, learn, and improve your own market position.


1) COMMENT on prepopulated tiles to identify your organization’s products/services, customers, market, and brand.

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Then, to identify your competitors:

 2) NOODLE to identify all of your organization’s competitors that fall under the specified category (direct, indirect, replacement/potential, and SEO).

3) RATE how significant/threatening each competitor is to your organization. In the comments section, you can provide rationale and discuss the competitors’ strategies and market position.

0 = Not at all significant/threatening
1 = Slightly significant/threatening
2 = Moderately significant/threatening
3 = Very significant/threatening
4 = Extremely significant/threatening

4) ACTION PLAN: Create an action plan to address the competitive threat.

For more information about the categories of competitors, see our blog post


  • Team-wide understanding of who your most significant competitors are
  • Comprehensive identification of current and potential competitors
  • Action plan to address the competitive threat and improve your market share


This model will enable:

Quality   Identify and assess your organization’s competition to inform your own, and develop/modify your strategies.

Efficiency – Save time and resources by identifying who could be a significant threat in the future and preparing your organization.

Engagement  Involve the right stakeholders in your discussion and strategic plan.

Agility – Identify all your current and potential competitors, avoid strategic surprises and prevent loss of market share.



Mark Bergen, M. & Peteraf, M. A. (2002). Competitor identification and competitor analysis: A broad-based managerial approach. Managerial and Decision Economics, 23, 157­–169.

Courtney, H., Horn, J. T., & Kar, J. (2009). Getting into your competitor’s head. McKinsey.