5 C’s of Marketing Analysis: Definition, Tips and Example

Updated March 10, 2023

A person seated at a table studies printed graphs and tablet information.

Conducting a 5 C’s analysis may give you an in-depth look at the most important factors that affect your business. It can help you determine your company's key drivers and provide insight about their function and relation. It may also help you make informed decisions about reaching your target audience or outperforming your competitors with regard to your marketing campaigns.

In this article, we explore the 5 C’s and show you how to conduct your own analysis with the assistance of a practical example.

Related: Marketing Plan vs. Marketing Strategy: What's the Difference?

What are the 5 C’s?

Small and medium-sized businesses often use the 5 C’s analysis to understand the complex interconnections of systems in which their company is engaged. The 5 C’s of marketing analysis are:

1. Company

The company section focuses on many of the internal factors related to the marketing and sales of your products and services. Some key elements include:

  • Brand image

  • Competitive advantages

  • Goals

  • Products

2. Customers

The customers section sheds light on the people who buy your products or interact with your services. Factors to consider regarding this segment include:

  • Communication channels

  • Customer behavior

  • Customer motivation

  • Customer perception

  • Target audience

3. Competitors

The competitors section emphasizes those individuals and organizations to which your company is highly comparable in the market. Factors include:

  • Compatibility gap

  • Competition strategies and tactics

  • Competition strengths

  • Competition weaknesses

  • Emerging competition

  • Established competition

4. Collaborators

The collaborators section focuses on every individual or organization that works to create, produce, promote or sell your products or services. Categories include:

  • Content creators

  • Distributors

  • Investors

  • Partnerships

  • Service providers

  • Suppliers

5. Climate

The climate, or context, section concentrates on external factors that aren't controlled by your own business. Some elements are:

  • Economic trends

  • Laws

  • Regulations

  • Social and behavioral trends

  • Technologies

Related: What Is a Market Analysis?

How to conduct a 5 C’s analysis

Follow these steps to ask the right questions during your 5 C’s analysis:

1. Analyze your company

A company analysis may help you better understand what you do so you can see how your business operates and as a result affects the lives of your customers or fits in the larger market. Research and record information about what makes your company unique:

  • Areas of the company in which you would invest time and money if it became available

  • Projects or departments in which you would cut funding to meet a budget if necessary

  • How your company outperforms competitors

  • Areas in which your company could improve

  • Brand image perception

  • Competitive advantages in the market such as location, cash flow or quality of staff

  • Names and types of major product lines or services provided

  • Short- and long-term company goals

  • Unique attributes of the brand

  • Differentiation from competitors' products or services

2. Analyze your customers

Conducting a customer analysis may help you better understand the role your products play in the public sphere and how to best adjust your business’ image to meet your goals. Research and record information about your current and potential customers to better understand who they are and what they want. Points to consider include:

  • Creating channels for customer feedback

  • Determining what factors influence a sale, such as quality, price, uniqueness or convenience

  • Asking why customers buy your products, such as on impulse or through planning

  • Defining your current audience

  • Discovering what customers commonly praise about your products or services

  • Naming your target audience

  • Identifying how customers use your website and apps

  • Uncovering ideal customers

  • Finding seasonal trends through customers’ purchases

  • Identifying the best ways to communicate with customers

  • Figuring out the most successful promotions and marketing strategies

  • Tracking the number of repeat purchases 

  • Understanding which products receive good, bad or no reviews

3. Consider your competitors

Conducting a competitor analysis may allow you to see how much competition you have in your market and determine what ways you can outperform your opponents. Consider choosing companies that are similar in size to yours, as well as ones that offer similar products or target the same audience. Items to investigate about your competitors include:

  • Content and social media presence

  • Competitor experience (are they emerging or established?)

  • Marketing strategies

  • Market strengths

  • Target audience

  • Weaknesses

  • Direct competitors

  • Items you offer that your competitors don't

  • Items your competitors offer that you don't

4. Review your collaborators

Conducting a collaborator analysis may help you determine what areas your company is most efficient in, discover those that may be ripe for expansion or find out which might become obsolete. Make a list of all your collaborators to understand who's involved in your business’s pipeline and the contributions they make to the organization's success. Different items to uncover about collaborators include:

  • Advertising and marketing staff

  • Copywriters and content creators

  • Daily operations managers and employees

  • Distributors

  • E-commerce providers

  • Financial employees and institutions (accounting department, credit card companies and banks)

  • Financial investors

  • Freelancers and contractors

  • General stakeholders

  • Graphic designers, art directors and photographers

  • Individual or organizational business partners

  • Inventory and warehouse staff

  • Manufacturers

  • Public relations team members

  • Salespeople

  • Shipping providers

  • Social media managers

  • Supply companies

  • Website or app developers

  • Website domain providers

5. Analyze your climate

Conducting a climate analysis may help you understand how your company relates and your products are received by local, regional, national or global markets. This line of inquiry may help you find fresh ways to appeal to your target audience. Analyze your climate to understand what factors outside of your own operations or competitive market may affect your sales:

  • Current popular and unpopular sayings, items or activities of your target audience

  • Economic forecasts

  • New or emerging technologies

  • New or proposed laws

  • Social trends

Related: How To Do Market Analysis (With Steps and Tips)

Example of applying the 5 C’s

Use this example to see how a hypothetical organization could conduct a 5 C’s analysis:

Youth Unlimited is a clothing brand that sells casual, business casual, fancy and athleisure apparel. The midsized company wants to conduct a 5 C’s analysis to see which areas of the business are most successful and which can benefit from improvements. Their sample analysis may show:


  • Products: "Just for Me" casual line, "Work It" business casual line, "Night of Enchantment" fancy line and "Sweat It Out" athleisure line

  • Products are consistent with those of competitors and offer similar pieces, colors and styles

  • Competitive advantages: Three prominent investors who choose to invest more money each year, locations in many of the same cities and states as competitors and above-average staff feedback ratings on customer surveys

  • Brand's unique qualities: A commitment to sustainability and working with a startup that promises to shorten shipping times while reducing emissions

  • Successes: Named one of the top fashion brands by "Style Me Teen" magazine for their year-end issue

  • Weaknesses: Athleisure line has been down in sales for two quarters and our prices may be too high for our target audience

  • Investment areas: Provide even more sustainable options for each line

  • Areas to cut: Reduce fancy line to summer-only items rather than year-round, as it becomes most popular from April through August

  • One-year goal: Increase athleisure sales

  • Three-year goal: Start a sustainable jewelry line

  • Five-year goal: Expand to four new cities


  • Ideal customers/target audience: Women between ages 15 and 30 of middle-class economic status who value eco-friendly principles without compromising style

  • Current audience: Women from age 30 to 35 in upper-class economic status

  • Reviews: All lines receive moderate to good reviews online

  • Website traffic: Customers use our website for making purchases and finding discount coupons

  • Audience size: Our audience shrunk to a smaller subset of women in the last quarter

  • Promotions: The spring formal sale last year was most popular with the 15-18 demographic and the BOGO leggings deal in November was popular with the 20-28 audience

  • Seasonal trends: The fancy line has its most purchases between April and August each year to coincide with prom and wedding season

  • Research: Customers may purchase some items after research while others are impulse buys

  • Communication: Email blasts, radio and streaming advertisements, social media marketing and print ads

  • Feedback tools: Customer email surveys and social media polls

  • Purchasing factors: Quality and price


  • Direct competitors: Simply You Athleisure (Established), Gown on Fifth (Emerging), U.S. Cardinal (Established)

  • All competitors offer at least one line similar to what we offer

  • U.S. Cardinal offers a monthly points program for rewards members to earn discount coupons and even free items

  • All three companies cater to the same target audience

  • All three companies use the same social media channels as our company

  • Simply You Athleisure offers additional branded workout equipment such as water bottles and yoga mats


  • Investors: Mark and Mary Dunn, Alix Butterworth

  • Operations manager: Dan Huxley

  • Stakeholders: Employees, investors and customers

  • Manufacturing: Miles International

  • Shipping provider: Sustaining Goodness

  • Credit card company: Jet

  • Bank: First National of Ohio

  • Marketing manager: Greta Lindouer

  • Photography: Snapshots Unlimited

  • Freelancers and contractors: 10 copywriters and four graphic designers

  • Web and app developer: Mitch Brogan


  • Five states proposed new sales tax laws

  • People working from home are trending toward wearing more athleisure clothing

  • The country may soon enter a recession

Tips for an effective 5 C’s analysis

Consider these tips when conducting your 5 C’s analysis:

Be honest

It's important to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and those of your competitors, when conducting your 5 C’s analysis. Doing so can give you the most accurate results and help you create a plan for future changes.

Narrow your focus

Doing a 5 C’s analysis can help you find areas where you can improve your business. If there are certain items that you wish were different in your analysis, make them the focus for your short- and long-term goals. You can apply your energy to work on these areas in the upcoming cycle so that when you conduct your next 5 C’s analysis, you can compare the two to gauge the improvements.

Set multiple goals

When including goals in the company section of your analysis, consider setting both short- and long-term ones to refer to and reflect on overtime. Consider setting goals for one-, three- and five-year intervals to implement the most comprehensive plan.

Use customer feedback

When working on the customer section of your 5 C’s analysis, consider taking into account customer feedback for your data analysis. Types of feedback may include online reviews, social media posts, emails to the company, face-to-face or phone conversations, email surveys or focus groups. Consulting this information is not just a good customer service practice, but it also gives you insight into what consumers want directly from your current and target audiences.

Use public data

When conducting your competitor analysis, you can use public customer data to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Similar to how you can look at your own internet reviews and social media interactions, you can explore those of your competitors as well. Find out what customers think about their products and services and how they compare to your own.

Related: Purpose of a SWOT Analysis

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