Competitive Analysis: How to Dismantle the Competition
“It is nice to have valid competition; it pushes you to do better.”
—Gianni Versace, Designer
How well do you really know your competition? When your boss or the CEO wants to know which competitors are the most challenging in a particular market, do they come to you? Do they ask you first when they want to know how your product’s TCO compares to competitors? If you’re a well-respected Product Manager who knows this information and can communicate it accurately, you are likely to influence the roadmap (and get promoted!). But if you don’t know this information, you won’t command the respect needed to effectively drive your product.
Competitive Info Everywhere
Part of the problem is that some competitive information is easy to find. Salespeople get feedback from customers every day and your executives have opinions about just how good your top competitors are based on press releases or online articles. But many Product Managers are so busy building their product that they don’t stay on top of the competition. They don’t take the time to build a full picture of the competition, or analyze the data to develop a competitive strategy. This weakens their ability to drive the product roadmap. These other constituents and executives can undercut your authority with anecdotal information or opinions.
I want to help you better analyze your competition, so that you become one of those Product Managers that can develop products that have clear competitive advantages and win in the marketplace.
Scoping Out the Enemy
In Beat the Competition, Part 1: Nine Tools to Know Thine Enemy, Susannah Axelrod of 280 Group provided a wide set of tools and perspectives to gather a complete and accurate picture of your top competitors. Techniques included analyzing a competitor’s performance, spending and funding, company focus, product comparison, marketing, distribution channels, and market share.
In our co-hosted webcast with AIPMM, Beat the Competition, Part 2: Driving a Product Strategy that Wins (slide presentation below), I will show you how to take the information you collected and use it to improve the competitiveness of your product and more effectively communicate your competitive advantages to the market. We’ll begin by discussing how to “walk a mile” in your competitor’s shoes – to develop their competitive strategy.
Rate how you stack up
Once you understand your competitor’s strategic approach, we’ll then prepare you to develop your own competitive strategy. It begins by understanding how your whole product stacks up against your competitors – honestly and dispassionately. With this knowledge you can predict your competitor’s next moves, and know the moves you need to make as well. You’ll know whether to meet a competitor head on, attacking their “strengths” directly, or whether to beat your competition by exploiting their weaknesses. Yes, you’ll know which benefits you need to improve with the right feature development. But because your competitive research has gone deeper and wider than a simple feature comparison chart, you’ll be in a position to consider how to use channel strategy, marketing techniques, pricing, partnerships, or bundling as tools to weaken, and ultimately dismantle your competition.
Hone in Your Techniques
Building a superior solution is only half the battle. We’ll also discuss how to arm Sales and Marketing to communicate how your product is better than the competition. Using a Battle Card technique, you’ll prepare your stakeholders to blunt the attacks from your competitors, whether true or not, and enable them to change the conversation, pointing out the key benefits where your product is superior.
Winning the War
Do you want to become the Product Leader that everyone looks to when they want to understand the competitive landscape? More importantly, do you want to have the full grasp of the competition needed to build a superior product that can beat the competition? Check out the slide presentation from our co-hosted webinar with AIPMM.
About the Author
Ken Feehan is a Principal Consultant and Trainer for 280 Group.
Ken has deep experience in both the product development and Go-To-Market phases of the product cycle. He has worked/consulted to hardware, software, cloud, infrastructure and services companies and understands the business needs of each.
He has 20+ years of Product Management and Product Marketing experience at top companies like Apple, Intuit, Dolby, Elo Touch and many start-up and small tech companies. Ken has a BS in International Business Management from Notre Dame de Namur University. Ken has a passion for exciting and delighting customers with outstanding products.
280 Group is the world’s leading Product Management training and consulting firm. We help companies and individuals do GREAT Product Management and Product Marketing using our Optimal Product Process™.