WATCH: Creating a Competitive Benchmark Analysis

Hi, and welcome back to the ace video series. Today I want to talk to you about creating a competitive benchmark analysis.

As product managers, we understand how important it truly is to create a fantastic competitive analysis. It isn’t the only thing. We want to understand what the market is doing, and we want to know where our customer’s needs are and what some problems and issues are that they may have as well.

But creating an accurate competitive benchmark analysis can help open your eyes to what some opportunities may be out there in the market to hopefully, again, increase your product’s success and potentially position your product in a way for success going forward.

So I want to talk to you today about a way that maybe you haven’t looked at creating a benchmark analysis or a competitive benchmark analysis in the past. I want to put you in a scenario first and foremost.

First of all, I want to consider ourselves to be, at this point, product managers for a headphone company. And within that headphone company, what we’ve done already is we’ve gone out, and we’ve met with customers. We’ve met with users. We’ve met with people that are utilizing our product as much as possible. And we’ve uncovered what some of those actual needs are to a particular target segment or a particular target persona.

Now, for more information on that, please see the ace video series episode on uncovering the customer feedback and needs that will help you understand a little bit more about how to do that. But let’s assume that already is complete. We know what the needs are for some of these users of this headphone company that we’ve created that we are part of as a product manager. Some of those needs are to have the best sound quality.

To stay in or on my ear when I’m moving around. And to store easily in my luggage. Let’s assume that this is a business traveler, and that’s the persona we’re speaking of. What we want to do when we create this benchmark is first to understand our customers’ needs. Then we want to think about how we are versus in this scenario. And the most essential piece of this analysis is when uncovering what some real opportunities may be.

Maybe our top two competitors are working to meet their need those needs currently.

So you see, on the top line you have your competitor one and competitor two, and on the left side, you have the needs listed. I have 3 for simplicity. You may want to have many more requirements depending on how many you’ve uncovered, and you may also decide to have further competitors as well, depending on how many competitors you have within the marketplace.

Then you want to measure how you’re meeting those needs based on yourself versus the competition. I, in this scenario, used Harvey balls. Blue Harvey balls mean that they’re full on something we’re doing well and the White or clear sort of Harvey balls are things that are not being done well. So, in this scenario, we have to have the best sound quality. You see yourself in this scenario as an example.

Maybe it’s something you’re doing fantastic. You’re focused on a sound quality competitor. One is not doing well at all. And competitor two does OK on sound quality, but it isn’t their gig. That’s not really where they’re focusing all of their efforts. What does this tell us?

This tells us, first of all, that this is something that continues to be very important to the customer. It’s a need listed.

So it’s something we want to continue to support. It’s something we want to continue to drive. We may want to strengthen our value proposition. We may want to make this one of the big things that we promote going forward and something we continue to do better and better as the year goes on because it’s a need we have, and our competitors aren’t doing very well at it.

If we look at the following need, we look at staying in or on my ear when moving around. It’s something in this scenario that we’re not doing very well. Also, if we look at our top two competitors, they’re not doing very well at it either. So this is what I call the opportunity zone. This is something now that if we truly understand that this is a need, we’ve done that work and research.

And we see that we’re not doing a good job of it, and our competitors aren’t doing an excellent job of it. This is the opportunity zone.

This is the area where we could look to knock the socks off our users and make sure that we create a product that stays on their ears while also providing good sound quality along the way as well. So first, we have sound quality, we have strength and value proposition. We have to push hard. That could be something we continue to strengthen our message and continue to be great at. And then when we have stay in our ear when moving in this area, this is our opportunity zone. We can also create something to get some business there because nobody else is doing a good job. Then we look at how to store it easily in my luggage.

You see, we don’t do well at all when we look at how we match up to store easily in your luggage. But our competitors are doing great at this. This is where we want to look and say, all right, now our competitors are doing great, and we’re not. We’ve got to catch up.

This is a scenario in which we’ve got to play catch up. We’ve got to say, all right, if they’re doing a great job. It’s something that we genuinely see is something where we can add value, which is an important piece, then maybe this is something we want to focus on as well, to say we can do strengthen our value proposition, really go after the fact that we have great sound, we have our opportunity area where we can work on staying in our ear when moving, and then the last piece we could play catch up and saying, all right, we’ve got to make sure that we catch up with our competitors as well because this is another need that we see that our competitors are already doing a great job at.

So by looking at a competitive benchmark analysis this way, we’re able to truly take the needs first and focus on the needs of our customers and what’s going on in the marketplace, which has to be our number one priority.

Now what you may also find here, which I don’t have listed here on the screen, but you may also find that the competitors may be doing something that you haven’t uncovered as a need. Maybe you find that they’re trying to solve a problem that you haven’t discovered. If you’re talking to your customers or your target segment in that scenario, I recommend going back out to your customer and seeing if this is truly a need before we go ahead and jump on that and go ahead and do that. Then bounce them off of how we are doing versus our competition in meeting those needs.

Because I find too often with some companies that I work with, we see a competitor going after something. We didn’t see it as a need and jumped at it just because they were doing the same thing. And it may not have been an identified need at all, and it could be a waste of money and hurt the value of our product in the marketplace. All right. So, in summary, please look at the competitive analysis and benchmark it against your needs and your competition. Hopefully, that will help you find new ways and opportunities to create a successful product in the marketplace. So thank you so much for joining me again for the ACE video series.

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