How To Do Competitive Research
You figured out your business model and your target market, now it’s time to see who your competitors are and what is the common links between them, the pro’s and con’s for each. By doing competitive research you are digging deeper into your market place, while doing your research you might find out that your product is not that unique after all. But you won’t know until you do your research, and without knowing your competitors you won’t have a plan to beat them.
The most efficient way to do competitive analysis is to collect all of the data into a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet helps keep track of everything that needs to be compared. Any company that offers a similar product to yours they are your competitors.
TYPES OF COMPETITORS
A competitor is anyone that shares the same goals as you and has the same purpose as your product. If you are entering a new market it might seem that there are no true direct competitors, but there is still a chance that the market for your product already exists and you just don’t know about it yet.
Direct competitors are companies that offer the same, or almost the same value to your current or future customers. This means that the customers you want are already spending time and money on your direct competitor’s product instead of yours to solve their problem, regardless how well or poor their design is.
Indirect competitors offer a similar value as your product but to a different target market, or they are targeting your exact customers without offering the exact same value as your product. For instance your indirect competitor’s primary service might not offer the same value as your product but their secondary service might.
But no matter, whether the competition is a direct or indirect, the internet is an intense marketplace. Make sure you consider all your competitors because they will affect the overall success of your product.
Finding your competitors
First, you look for direct competitors, products that compete head-to-head with same value your product offers. One way of doing this is using GOOGLE to find them. You want to be as quick and precise as possible when scanning your results. You have to add all your competitors in a spreadsheet. Another way of finding your competitors is searching blogs with the title “Top 10” or “Best of”. You have to find at least 5 competitors.
Filling out your spreadsheet
Once you added all your competitors to a spreadsheet. You have separate your direct competitors from your indirect competitors.
Purpose of Product: You have to dive into all the products on your list, and write down the purpose of each product. You can find out the purpose of a product by going on to their website and checking their “about us” page or the description section on iTunes or Google Play app store.
Primary Categories: Next you have to find out their primary categories. If the site is selling products or offering content, you need to understand how everything is categorised. The site probably (hopefully) already does this, so check out the site’s global navigation menu.
Social Networks: Is the competitor’s brand also on Twitter Facebook, or others? Which social platforms is it truly using? Most products these days integrate with these platforms, but they don’t full leverage anything with all of them.
Content types: Use this to capture what type of content is on the competitor’s site, is the bulk of the content text, photos, or videos? How much content dominates the site and how is it presented? Is the content well organised? Is it easy to scan and/or read? How detailed and informative is the information displayed on the product detail pages?
Personalisation features: Personalisation is one of the most crucial features to get customers engaged with an application or website. It should provide a value-added experience.
Competitive advantage: Differentiators are distinct features that a product provides that are not found in its competitors. They give a product a competitive advantage. They can be a combination of attributes that make the product better. Some attributes might be specific to the online experience and others to the offline experience.
Next I will show you how to conduct competitive analysis.