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Identifying competitors for analysis is not quite as obvious as it might seem. Two complementary approaches are possible. The first is demand-side based, comprised of firms satisfying the same set of customer needs. The second approach is supply-side based, identifying firms whose resource base,
technology, operations, and the like, is similar to that of the focal firm. However, the firm must pay attention not only to today's immediate competitors but also to those that are just over the horizon (such as cellphones once were to cameras, social networking sites once were to web portals, or the internet once was to video rental stores). There are three domains for recognizing the sources and types of direct
and less direct competitors to which the firm must also attend. These domains represent (1) the areas of influence, (2) the contiguous area, and (3) the areas of interest.
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