Why are market research and competitive analysis considered core competencies for almost all product managers? Let’s begin with brief definitions and explanations of each term’s significance for product managers.
Market Research Vs Competitive Analysis
Product managers learn about consumer needs and market trends by conducting market research. You must comprehend and employ market research if you want to gather data from actual customers to make a decision.
Market research includes a subset called competitive analysis. When you look into your competition, you use market research concepts and techniques to learn what they are doing right now and learn about their future plans.
Which issues can market research help with?
As a product manager, you make decisions based on market research. Here are four decisions that product managers make using market research.
- recognizing market demands and customer issues
- dividing up markets
- recording the customer experience
- assessing potential markets
Scope of the work
- defining or evaluating fresh product ideas
- stabilizing the price
- putting releases and features in order
looking into the best marketing strategies
- Developing or evaluating messaging
- evaluation of marketing campaign outcomes
examining commercial success
- Customer satisfaction metrics
- finding out about the contest
Are you leaving the building by yourself?
Because they have extensive knowledge of a particular product category, product managers frequently begin their careers in this capacity. Their innate understanding of the market quickly becomes outdated. A humble curiosity is the best attitude for a successful product manager. Instead of assuming that everyone at the table is aware of the correct response, start by presuming that you are unaware of it. Ask questions while you are out and about. Pay close attention to the responses and then hear the underlying presumptions that underlie them.
There are some queries that are more difficult and involved to answer. Before you start important projects, involve market research companies to help you ask the right questions and get the right answers.
Numbers vs. the Story in Market Research and Competitive Analysis
A common misconception is that market research and competitive analysis will give you enough immovable facts to make your plans immune to criticism from others. In actuality, a good story helps us understand facts the best.
Additionally, the narrative gives your point of view a framework. The branches of the main story are made up of data. The storyline is the qualitative data, according to a more official definition. The quantitative data are the survey results. Together, they offer stronger backing for the choice you’re asking managers to approve.
The best course of action is to begin with the story and then back it up with statistics from a survey or market analysis.
Getting Support and Beginning Market Research
It can be intimidating to begin your first market research project. Contact them and request assistance from any of the following:
- Advanced Product Manager
- Employees of internal and external market research firms
- Additionally, don’t be afraid to start out small with your first project of market research. Start by asking questions using low-cost or free online survey services, such as Google forms.
How do you conduct market research?
The most typical kinds of market research are listed below. Look into them to determine which one best fits your needs.
Which rivals should I study when conducting a competitive analysis?
A competitive move you didn’t anticipate can make the difference between success and failure. Competitive analysis can help you avoid being caught off guard. Even though your market may be crowded, if you concentrate on the top 3 competitors, you’ll learn enough about them to stop worrying about the lesser-known players.
Competitive analysis model – Porter’s 5 forces
In order to analyze the competing forces in any market, Michael Porter created a model. He identified key elements to understanding the nature of competition in your industry as the bargaining power of customers, the bargaining power of suppliers, the threat of substitute products, the threat of new entrants into the market, and the intensity of competitive rivalry. For more information on where the threats from competition are likely to come from in your industry, read up on this crucial thought process.
Product Comparisons for Competitive Analysis
A side-by-side product comparison chart that contrasts features is the most popular competitive analysis tool used by product managers. Don’t forget to include elements of service, warranties, finance, service, and reliability that could strengthen the argument for competition. Create a table with your findings and distribute it to your sales team. One word of advice: exercise caution when deciding which information you want to divulge to third parties.
Competitive Analysis Beyond Product Comparisons
Expand on this initial analysis to gain a deeper understanding of the business. Their financial situation? What is the leadership’s history and bias? What about the group that launches products? You can better resist a competitor’s moves if you are aware of their sales, channel, and marketing actions and reflexes.
How to Research your Market and Competitors
The first step is to simply identify who your top competitors are, even though it may seem obvious. It is important to distinguish between direct and indirect competitors.
The same customer base that you are targeting is being targeted by direct competitors. They offer a comparable good or service and are addressing the same issue that you are.
Indirect competitors might offer a comparable good or service but target a different market, or they might aim for the same clientele but offer something a little bit different.
It’s critical to comprehend this portion of your market for two reasons: (1) it may present opportunities for your company to grow; and (2) it may also reveal a threat to your company that you might not otherwise be aware of.
The following six steps will help you begin conducting competitive research:
- Identify the main rivals
The simplest way to do this is to simply perform a web search for your product or service category to see what results are returned. Additionally, you can look at Crunchbase and Product Hunt websites. You might come across rivals that you hadn’t previously noticed.
Casting a wide net will help you identify who your main rivals are. Asking your potential customers what services they currently use is another effective way to identify direct and indirect competitors.
- Examine the online presence of rivals
As soon as you’ve determined who your main rivals are, you should check out their website, the kind of content they publish, and their social media profiles. Then, scan any blogs, white papers, and social media posts that discuss their products and applications. Think about the following:
- How does their website’s user interface feel?
- Is it simple to use?
- Do you fully comprehend the goods or services they provide?
- Do they have a mobile-friendly website?
- How frequently do they blog, and more importantly, is the content of high quality?
- What subjects do they blog about the most?
- What social media channels do they actively use to promote their goods and services?
- Is their target engaged by this content?
The answers to these inquiries reveal areas where you can outperform your rivals. Anything they are doing well that you aren’t doing is something you should pay close attention to. Your knowledge of where to direct your attention and resources will improve as a result.
- collecting data
Acting like one of your competitors’ customers is the best way to learn about them. Join their email list to learn more about their communication style.
Observe how they engage with their clients online by following their blog and social media accounts. Customers’ experiences with your rivals: what kind?
You should think about purchasing from them so you can see what their product looks like and how the customer experience is.
- Monitor your results
To aid in ongoing monitoring, make sure you keep track of your competitors’ findings on a spreadsheet. It’s not a difficult process; all you have to do is observe what they do over time to see how they alter everything from pricing to marketing and promotional initiatives.
You’ll begin by creating separate columns for your direct and indirect competitors’ customers. Then, you’ll keep tabs on the following data:
- business name
- Social networking websites
- special qualities
- Cons and benefits
- Images from the screen and additional links
- review sites online
Look for as many testimonials about your rivals as you can. Read their social media evaluations, blog comments, and website case studies. Read the Google reviews as well, if they are available and presented. It’s a good idea to be aware of both the positive and negative actions that your rivals might be taking. In your research, mentions about them with the Better Business Bureau should be included.
How much do they value their clients? There may be a chance for you to make a statement here. Additionally, if they offer a product comparable to yours, this is a useful way to gauge consumer interest.
Any unfavorable comments will help you pinpoint areas where your own goods or services need to be improved.
- Find areas that require improvement
It’s time to consider how you can use this information to improve your own business results now that you’ve noted some of the biggest distinctions between you and your rivals.
Your competitive analysis should identify at least one area where your company could use some improvement. This will teach you how to interact with your clients and online followers more effectively.
Remember that a competitive research project is never “one-and-done.” For you to remain competitive in the market, ongoing monitoring is required, such as watching how competitors change.
- Research competition tools
Conducting competitive research is now simpler than ever thanks to software and technology. However, there are a huge number of competitive research tools available, making it difficult to choose the best program.
Because of this, we’ve done the research and distilled it down for you. Here are four resources you might take into consideration for your competitive research:
One of the best tools available for competitive analysis is SEMrush. It has more than 30 tools, including ones for tracking SEO, PPC, keyword research, competitive analysis, and other activities. SEMrush will assist you in finding new rivals, identifying their most effective keywords, and examining their ad copy. Depending on your company’s needs, they offer flexible pricing options.
SpyFu: This search analytics tool exposes the Google keywords that businesses purchase. So, once you’ve determined who your main rivals are, you can keep track of every keyword they’ve purchased. Additionally, you can find the content and backlinks that initially helped them rank as well as track every keyword they are ranking for.
BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo allows you to compare your content to that of your rivals. You can schedule alerts on the content of your competitors to make it easier to keep track of them. You can also see which content is shared more frequently on social media than others.
Owletter: This program tracks and examines emails that are sent from websites. This enables you to monitor the email marketing efforts of your rivals and determine what is and isn’t effective for them. You must sign up for your competitors’ email list in order to get started. Following that, Owletter will take a screenshot of each email you receive, analyze it, and notify you of any pertinent information.
Competitive research can be intimidating at first, but it’s a crucial component of managing a prosperous company. It might not be as difficult as you thought when you use the appropriate tools in your research.
On some level, knowing your rivals is just as crucial as knowing your customers. It’s crucial to regularly track the online behavior of your rivals because they can teach you a lot. By doing this, you will grow your company and increase your own value to clients.