Why the competition slide can kill your pitch deck
Marketing Intelligence

Why the Competition Slide Can Kill Your Pitch Deck

by Ruth Trucks , Senior Marketing Writer 9 Min.
May 30, 2022 | Updated June 19, 2022

It may be the most impactful slide on your pitch deck. What you present here can make or break your campaign idea, product launch, or even kill your start-up funding: The competitor analysis in your pitch to stakeholders. We’ll explain why, what the common pitfalls are and how to ace it.

Why is the competitor slide critical for your pitch?

Contrary to what you might think, lack of competition isn’t a guarantee for success but a red flag. Without competition, there’s no market. Let that sink in for a minute. The logic behind it is simple.

If there’s demand for something, innovative minds are quick to try and make a buck off it. The higher the demand, the higher the motivation of companies to capitalize on it. If they haven’t, there’s probably no demand, and you have a problem.

Investors and executives know that lack of competition means either there’s no demand or you aren’t aware of the competition. None of the options puts you in a positive light.

Show that you’re ready for the competition

If you want to impress, show that you know who you’re up against in the market. Don’t try to play competition down but describe their strengths and how you intend to cope with them.

Don’t pretend it’s not relevant in the ideation or planning stage, and you can deal with potential competition later. It’s a common pitfall. You’re so excited about your innovation that you expect it’ll blow everyone off their feet and nothing else matters. It’s a bit like a love story for you, but remember, love is often blind.

A realistic presentation of your competition shows stakeholders that you’ve got your feet on the ground. This is your chance to prove that you understand the market.

Market map illustration

A simple competitor map can tell a story better than words or numbers.

How do you plan a convincing competitor slide?

If you think data is the key, you are on the right track. It’s hard to argue with numbers. A competitive analysis is where you present your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and show its value.

But wait. You’re following your enthusiasm again. Let’s switch to a more cold, calculating approach. What insights do investors and executives expect to see? What data will convince them?

Give stakeholders what they want

72% of investors and consultants want to see a realistic market landscape and in-depth research. Only 10% prioritize the presentation of benefits and strategic advantage.

This means that stakeholders want to be assured you know what you’re doing more than anything. Think about it this way; you’re asking them to trust you with their money. The important word here is trust. You build that by showing you address market challenges realistically.

Chart showing what stakeholders want to see

Survey results by Storypitchdecks.com.

When pitching new ideas, the competitor analysis presentation can easily turn into a cross-exam. Here’s where they’ll try to challenge your confidence and crumble your arguments.

You don’t want to leave any questions unanswered, but rather anticipate what they’ll ask and be prepared. Arm yourself with insights about the competition and be ready to counter.

Seek out your competitors

To build a comprehensive competitor analysis framework you need to actively seek out your potential rivals. There are different types of competitors and not all are obvious at the beginning. Think outside the box and ask yourself who might come up with a totally different solution for the same issue. Often the less apparent rivals cause the worst headache in the long run.

If you don’t identify any direct competitors right away, widen your search and keep digging till you find who’s in your niche.

Know your competitors illustration

Evaluate how serious a threat the different competitors pose to the success of your project. If you don’t, investors will.

Have a game-plan in your pocket

Based on the evaluation, you work out your strategy to overcome the challenges. Use competitor benchmarking techniques to pinpoint specific threats and develop focused solutions.

For example, how do you plan to get the attention of an audience that is hooked and loyal to a much larger brand that offers a similar solution? Or how do you overcome the price gap to a less expensive product that’s popular with a young audience?

This information doesn’t enter your competitive analysis pitch deck, but it’s your insurance policy. Your knowledge will reflect in your confidence when presenting the competitive landscape in your pitch deck and convince stakeholders that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.

Show that you are aware of your competitors’ threats and strengths and have a clear concept of how to come out a winner.

5 Tips to find competitors to present in your pitch deck

We’ve already seen the top challenge is identifying competitors. And you understand that you have to dig in and analyze. Using the right tools and knowing what data to look for can make the task significantly easier and more effective. Here are three useful tips:

Tip 1. Use keyword analysis

A keyword analysis is a great way to identify less apparent competitors. Focusing on search terms helps you discover relevant companies you don’t think of right away.

Here’s what you do:

A) Brainstorm all the relevant keywords people may use to find your new product or feature. Investigate who gets traffic for these keywords and pay attention and whose traffic share is increasing. These are companies you might want to check out.

Screenshot of Similarweb keyword analysis feature

Similarweb breaks down traffic your competitors receive for your targeted keywords.

B) A thorough keyword analysis can reveal a lot more than just trending terms. You’ll find out if companies use these keywords in paid search, what channels drive traffic, and how engaged users are. You will understand which industries are involved and which SERP features are popular. These insights help you build your strategy and answer uncomfortable questions.

Screenshot of Similarweb SERP features per keyword view

View of SERP results and features per keyword.

Tip 2: Examine industry trends

When you examine your industry, find out who’s leading and what to benchmark against. Don’t just look at the current numbers; they are a snapshot in time. Understand the changes that have occurred over the past months. Also, look at YoY (year over year) changes.

Pinpoint companies that had significant positive changes or grew more than average. These are competitors to pay special attention to. You need to understand if what caused the change also poses a threat to realizing your plans.

Screenshot of Similarweb traffic trend and distribution per keyword

Display of traffic trends and distribution for keywords or keyword groups.

Tip 3: Analyze audience demographics in different regions

Segment your analysis by geographical region. See which companies are strong in different areas to identify local leaders and companies that offer locally. You may hope to conquer the Australian market easily because your top competitor isn’t represented strongly there. A local vendor may be filling that space. Analyzing audience geography can reveal additional opportunities or threats.

Screenshot of Similarweb demographic makeup per competitor

With Similarweb it’s simple to compare audience demographics of competitors.

Tip 4: Investigate audience and search interests

A) Take audience analysis in a distinct direction. Using audience and search interest analysis, you can find your competitors’ competitors. How do you do this? Look at how their audience overlaps with that of other sites. Sites that share the same audience may compete with you over the audience in the long run, even if they don’t compete with you on the product level.

Screenshot of Similarweb audience overlap view

The unique audience overlap feature shows shared audiences and gaps.

B) Don’t forget to take search intent into consideration. Some sites with overlapping audiences may answer to a different type of query. These would not be competitors for your product, but could steal traffic and that could affect how you market.

C) With Similarweb, you can also quickly discover additional areas of interest an audience may have. This is a great way to identify potential competitors that aren’t in your niche or even industry. They may not exist, but if they do, you want to know about them.

Screenshot of Similarweb audience interest analysis

View of the topics and industries a competitor’s audience is also interested in.

Tip 5: Track competitors’ performance

Keeping an eye on potential competitors enables you to gauge whether they can threaten the success of your venture. For example, let’s say a site has launched a feature similar to the one you are planning, or a company has a new product that is similar to yours. You can benefit from understanding how they market, who they market to, and what works and doesn’t.

Monitor competitors and their performance in representative metrics such as traffic volume and engagement per marketing channel. Similarweb offers a customizable competitive tracker to help you evaluate the competition.

Screenshot of Similarweb Competitive Tracker notification

E-mail notification from the competitive tracker.

How to conduct a competitive analysis for your pitch

A competitive analysis should focus on four areas of competition:

1. Company: Who are the companies you compete against? Collect information about company size, location, business info, etc. Identify the most similar businesses and if the relevant product or solution is their core business. Look at companies that have the most loyal audience and are most stable.

This helps you identify competitors that pose threats you need to address in your strategic planning.

2. Customer: What’s the target audience of these businesses? Investigate demographics, preferences, and characteristics and compare them to your target audience.

This lets you identify competitors you need to grab an audience from or share your audience with. Decide how you are going to do that.

3. Product and pricing: What are the product portfolio and price range? Collect product-related data such as features, quality, pricing structure, and offers. Examine how these have developed over time.

This helps relativize the threat from specific competitors. You may be able to cut down the number of competitors based on the price level.

4. Marketing: How do competitors market? Analyze the strategic approach, SEO tools, marketing channels and campaigns.

This helps you develop your own marketing strategy by optimizing what works for them and leveraging additional possibilities.

Analyzing the competition in these four areas provides you with the insights you need to present in your pitch deck.

Further Reading: How to Do Competitive Analysis With Conclusive Results [+Template]

How to present competitive analysis in your pitch deck

Most presenters use some kind of competitive matrix to map out the competitive landscape in the pitch deck. Different matrices enable you to visualize different aspects of your competition.

Gartner’s magic quadrant is a popular technique to present a market map. It has the advantage that it’s easy to see where different companies stand in comparison. You can point out the market leader and market average and highlight gaps.

Illustration of Gartner’s magic quadrant

Gartner’s magic quadrant – image source Storypitchdecks.com.

The quadrant can measure and show different parameters on each axis. For example, you could compare price level on one axis and customer satisfaction on the other. For SaaS apps, you could present engagement metrics as success indicators such as monthly unique visitors and time spent on page, and so on.

Creating a benefits table is another efficient way to hone in on the competition. However, don’t limit the list to customer benefits. Choose specific strengths that you offer and compare them to your closest competitors. This is useful in a market with many similar competitors that are hard to differentiate.

List anything from product offering to pricing structure to traffic and engagement metrics. List what you think is relevant for your market and highlight the advantage of what you propose.

Illustration of a benefits table

Benefits table – imaged source dreamit.com.

To get some examples, read this post: Competitive Analysis Examples to Help You Get It Right

Keep the spark

You are the expert on your innovation, but investors or executives are market experts and often understand the market better than the players in it. They’ve seen the spark in a presenter’s eyes hundreds of times and witnessed it disappear when confronted with the competitive landscape.

You don’t want to be next. So, before you pitch your start-up idea, a new feature, a new product, or business concept, get to know the competition. Surprise your stakeholders with a thorough competitor analysis based on insights from Similarweb marketing analysis tools and research intelligence and who knows, you may put a spark in their eyes.

Ace Your Competitor Analysis

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How do you show competitive analysis in a pitch deck?

The best way to present the competitive landscape is to create a competitor map that places your solution in context. You can use a matrix, a table, or another visualization that shows your advantage.

What to include in a competitor slide for a pitch deck?

The important thing is to show that you understand the market and the forces that work in it. Present competitors who are a potential threat to the success of your strategy and show that you have a solution planned out.

Do I need a competitor slide in my pitch deck if there aren’t any competitors?

If you haven’t identified any competitors, you need to dig deeper and expand your search. Try to identify companies that offer a completely different solution for the issue you address and businesses that could adapt their offering the moment you launch yours. No competition may be a sign that there’s no demand.


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