Competitive environment analysis using a map

We have written before about competitive environment analysis or competitive positioning analysis using John Battelle's brilliant mapping tool. The online map resembles a board game, and can frame a useful way of thinking about competitors.

As preparation for this week's Web 2.0 Summit 2011 (a very well organized conference, which I have attended a few times and can recommend heartily), Battelle has now taken his map one step further, and you can add cities that represent competing companies. For example, you can build a city to represent eBay, and quantify its strength across various competitive attributes.

The map focuses on competition in data ownership (e.g. purchasing data, location data, social graph, interest data and so on), because that is Battelle's area of interest, but the concept could be recycled for any other set of competitive attributes. For example, competitor cities could be given weaponry that reflects their cash balance, their Warren Buffet moat, their brand strength, their patent holdins and so on.

I continue to love this idea, although partly that is because I love computer games that recreate war scenarios. I wonder if this would appeal equally to women (who, as it happens, form a slight majority of our competitive intelligence clients). It would be interesting to see maps like this made a part of competitive wargaming simulations.