Whether it’s a simple choice like selecting a new bottle of shampoo, or intricate like choosing a cell phone service provider, today’s market is overflowing with options, making it difficult for consumers to make any decision. To help your potential customers choose you every time, conducting a competitive product analysis is a helpful tool. It’s important because not only will it highlight where you rank against the competition, but how to beat them. Performing your own analysis is simple—as long as it’s done properly.
Step 1: Who’s Your Competition?
Knowing and understanding your competition is an important first step. Start by listing who offers similar services/products, and what their general strengths and weaknesses are as a company. What are they doing right? Look at their marketing, their website, and observe them in action if you can by visiting a location if they have one. The goal is to understand their voice, their positioning and general company message, what problems they solve for, and how they believe they solve for it well.
Step 2: Product Research
Once you understand the competition, then it’s time to dive down into the nitty-gritty and gather product details. Create a table, tracking several factors such as product features, components and/or ingredients, as well as design, pricing, and marketing. If possible, you should even go as far as to test out the product, examining all the product features and experience. Make sure to include your own product in the research as well for comparison later.
Step 3: Compare and Contrast
Now it’s time to look at your results from steps 1 and 2, comparing them side by side. Make sure to point out the differences, as well as highlight which product “wins” in each category. Depending on the amount of data you collect, you can even create a ranking system, lowest to highest (0-10), ranking all the features you researched. And by then totaling each company’s score, it will show who ranks highest overall.
Step 4: Set Goals
Using all this data, you can then, finally, construct your competitive strategy. The research should help you identify where your strengths lie, so you can highlight and make consumers aware of them. It will also show where your holes and weaknesses are, which you can then strategize how to improve those short-comings. It can even help motivate you to market yourself better if necessary.
Lastly, just because your analysis is done, it shouldn’t mean this task is over. New products pop up all the time, your competition can up their game at any moment… so stay on it, making this a regular item on your to-do list. And remember, you don’t need to necessarily change your product to be exactly like the competition. Differences are good—highlight them even—as long as you can back up why the difference makes you the better choice. Direct Opinions can help you conduct an analysis of your products and yield data to help you increase marketability and competitiveness, putting you on top.