In today’s fast-moving markets – especially in the technology and consumer sectors – the competitive landscape is in a constant state of flux. New startups launch every day and established players add, remove, sell, acquire, update, and enhance their products all the time. That makes it tough to stay up-to-date but it also makes it all the more important that you do so.
Everyone Needs Competitive Research
Whether you are a startup pitching for your first round of venture capital or a billion-dollar market leader in an established market, you need market research. Of course, the type and depth of the analysis that you need will vary depending on where you in your product and market lifecycle, but relevant and appropriate competitive research is always necessary.
Don’t Just Collect Research, Make It Actionable
Too many companies either collect competitive research or commission market research companies to create competitive research and end up drowning in reports and PowerPoint decks of SWOT analysis, feature/function comparisons, packaging and pricing analytics, etc. While we acknowledge the value of such information, at Designworks, making the research actionable is what we think counts.
The Designworks’ Approach – Think Like A Customer
In Designworks’ opinion, the key to actionable competitive research is to learn to think like a customer. That sounds simple enough, but we’re often amazed how much can uncovered by paying attention to what’s important to customers and following their journey. While our approach is proprietary, it also isn’t rocket science. It’s founded on listening, observing, asking good questions, and applying a lot of common sense.
Table-Stakes vs. Unique Value Propositions
From a marketing perspective, it’s important to understand the competitive issues that needs to be addressed in your messaging. Typically, these fall into two main categories:
- First, table-stakes issues. These are the features that you need to offer to play the game on an even playing field with your competitors. You need to ensure that these are covered in your messaging.
- Second, there are the features and benefits that differentiate you from your competitors – your unique value-propositions or value-creators. You need to ensure that these are highlighted in your messaging.
Your Major Competition May Not Be Product-Based
Competition comes in variety of forms, for example, competition for resources or budget that may have nothing to do with your project. Also, particularly in the technology sector, you may face competition in the form of “do nothing” or “we’ll do it ourselves” approaches. In both of these situations, the marketer has to develop messaging to counter these issues and then ensure that the sales people know how and when to use these messages. This is another aspect of actionable competitive research – using knowledge to create assets that help remove obstacles or accelerate the sales process.
Designworks’ – A Practical Approach to Competitive Research
Designworks has done our fair-share of competitive, TCO and pricing research but, in our opinion the most useful work that we’ve done in this sector has always been the practical “think like a customer” work. Using this approach, we help our clients not only identify table-stakes issues and unique value propositions but make them actionable both through marketing messages and sales enablement tools. Often, a third-party is the ideal way to address these issues. If you need help with actionable competitive research, Designworks is here to help.