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Jillian Kaplan

Conducting Competitive Analysis to Beat the Competition

Jillian Kaplan

  • Aug 11, 2020
  • 5 Min read
  • 96 Views
  • Aug 11, 2020
  • 5 Min read
  • 96 Views
Product Management
Management
Product Discovery
Design Thinking

Introduction

The first thing you need to do to sell a product is determine that there is a need for the product. Once you have checked that box, the next thing you need to do is check on the competition. If there is a need for your product, there is definitely competition.

In this guide, we will look at ideas that differentiate you and help you win over the competition.

Who Are Your Competitors?

You need to first figure out who your competitors are in order to win market over the competition. You can do a competitive analysis to help identify:

  • Direct competitors, which are competitors that sell the same—well, not exactly the same, but competing products or services to the same geographic region and target market.

  • Secondary competitors, or competitors that might offer a slightly different product or service or might target slightly different customers but in the same geographic region.

  • Substitute competitors, which could be competitors someday as they market to the same region but do not offer the same products and services.

Do an industry analysis working with internal teams as well as outside analysts to determine who these competitors are and which are the most threatening to your company. Usually, the biggest threats are the direct competitors that sell a similar product to the same market.

What Are Your Competitors' Strengths?

This is a tough question, and I am starting with strengths rather than weaknesses because it very important to realize that your competition does have strengths over you. You cannot simply say or think you win in every single part of the strategy. They might have a superior product even though you win on price. Or they might win on price even though you might have a superior product.

The most important part of this is that there are things that your competition is better at than you are. And it is important to research exactly what those things are. They may vary for each of your competitors, but you must be able to address these strengths and recognize them as you go to market.

Your customers will recognize that the competition has strengths, and you need to do the same. Your strategy for bringing a product to market cannot be focused solely on your strengths and their weaknesses.

What Are Your Competitors' Weaknesses?

This is probably the question you have been waiting for. What are your competitors' weaknesses? And it’s important to note that because something is a weakness for your competitor it does not mean that it’s a strength for you—in fact, it might also be a weakness for you.

However, understanding and learning how to market based on competitors' weaknesses is just as important as understanding their strengths.

Formulating a Battle Card

You have identified your competitors and understand their strengths and weaknesses, so now you need to understand how to position yourself in the market based on what you have identified.

It sounds like you are going to war, but it’s not quite that serious. But it is really important if you are going to come up with ideas to win the market.

A battle card is a sales tool that your sales team can use to show the customers why you are the right choice for them over the competition. It's often a quick go-to for sales to be able to answer questions and address challenges.

However, the most important piece for you in the creation of this battle card is that it will help you understand how to improve your market share and win.

What is included in a battle card:

  • Company overview, or the background and goals of the company.

  • Products, including product names, and can include more and one product if related and different versions are available

  • Pricing, including various popular configurations and what is included

  • Competitors' strengths, as formulated above, usually includes two to three

  • Competitors' weaknesses, as formulated above, usually includes two to three

  • Statement of how we win to highlight why the customer should choose you

  • Potential landmines—this is the battle part. Where could you fall into a trap with the customer? Just remember that your competitors have their own battle cards, so you need to be able to answer these landmines.

How Do You Win?

This seems like a lot of analysis because it is. Understanding this will help you win the market. For example, if you realize your competitors' strengths are in their price but you don’t see that you have other large advantages, then even though your product costs more, you may start to look at manufacturing and bringing the price down.

However, it could also be that you realize you are underpriced or you need to enhance features or build out newer versions or pivot strategy. Either way, you need to make sure you act on this research. Putting together the battle card from the analysis is key to your sales’ team success, but it will also help you ensure future success as you win in the market.

Conclusion

If you are building a product people want, you are going to have competition. If you don’t have competition, you are creating a new category or a product no one wants, so having competition is a good thing.

Understanding and evaluating your competition will help you win in the market. It ensures you are prepared to answer questions and fully understand what advantages and disadvantages you have.

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