Product Feature Analysis Porter’s Five Forces is a framework that examines the competitive … Your next idea isn’t going to come from your competitors. Rival IQ is a useful tool for this task, and they have a 14-day free trial available. Some companies leverage their expertise and resources to enter new markets. This approach is not ideal and might not work for every company since each one operates in its own complicated ecosystem. Is their time zone convenient? Just like with the previous factors, you can compare the platforms side-by-side using Awario’s Alert Comparison report. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively conduct a competitive analysis: Remember: The idea of a competitive analysis isn't to overly focus on the competition but to understand where your company stands in the marketplace and identify opportunities to further differentiate. On top of that, you can also turn to SimilarWeb to see what referral sources are bringing the most visits to your competitors’ websites. You and your competitors are competing for the attention of potential customers. To use this framework, you may already have a fully functional product, an MVP, or even just a product idea. For your competitor’s customer, what are their daily activities, success metrics, and challenges? Competitor analysis is actually the easier kind of analysis for a lot of people because there’s some emotional removal. Launch the tool and create a project for one of your competitors. Competitive analysis provides a higher-level perspective of the entire marketing landscape and competitive intelligence. This could mean that your competitors are focusing on a new emerging market – an opportunity you might be interested to explore. Chances are you’ll also find a bunch of blogs and media platforms that generate substantial traffic to their sites. It pays to understand how satisfied are customers with a competitor product. I’ll be using certain tools to facilitate and automate certain bits of the process. With so much competition, SaaS companies can't win on features alone; they must win on brand and customer experience. The next step is analyzing what, when, and how your competitors are doing on social media. Look for patterns in the types of customers they’re featuring, including characteristics like size, location, industry, and revenue. As you conduct your competitive analysis, you can call upon many tools and techniques to get the job done effectively. In fact, competition in the SaaS and tech industries is increasingly coming from indirect competitors, whose core technology enables them to invade adjacent verticals and industries. Knowing a company’s founding year helps you put things in context in your overall analysis. You’ll find a map of each brand’s mentions in Awario’s dashboard and reports, along with the breakdown of mentions by language. Moreover, if you’re the industry leader, the value of analyzing competitors is limited because you’re the one leading the pack through uncharted territory. From there, you can click on any topic to explore the mentions in-depth. Competitors Analysis Generally, the automotive industry is a very competitive one, with traditional car companies gradually increasing their offerings of hybrid gasoline-electric cars as well as pure electric vehicles—such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. Company overview. It’s a good idea to keep these alerts running for the long-term (as opposed to just looking at Share of Voice once). 5 Competitive Analysis Frameworks Explained with Visuals 1. That context becomes helpful as you are deciding which companies to include in your competitive analysis. might lead you to interviews or press releases where the companies share this information (because, well, everyone likes to brag). If you also rely on a self-service model, you need to compete on brand or some other factor. A customer acquisition strategy explains how companies attract and convert prospects into customers. Don’t spend too much time on it. The ultimate objective of competitor analysis is to know enough about a competitor to be able to think like that competitor so the firm's competitive strategy can be formulated to take into account the competitors' likely actions and responses. What if their customer service is horrible, causing an influx of negative mentions? Plus, they derive their research by analyzing large organizations, so startups won’t find what they’re looking for here. In other words, the SaaS world moves fast —  and the only way to keep up is to be one step ahead. How long does it take them to reply? What kind of companies do your competitors sell to (size, revenue, vertical)? If you’re serious about competitive analysis, it’s not enough to just evaluate the two Industry Leaders everyone’s talking about (that kind of analysis will likely get you depressed real quick). Therefore, it is necessary to determine the scope of the market to be analyzed in a first step. For example, a company may want to know which businesses dominate the widget market. In the spreadsheet, I like to divide the factors into collapsable sections (yes, these do get pretty lengthy). I can sense you rolling your eyes at me, but hear me out. The best thing to do is try and book a demo (or a call) with every company yourself, taking careful note of every step. Unique Barriers to Entry Whether looking at product, digital marketing tactics, or positioning, this is an important practice. This illusion helps illustrate how important it is to consider your relative position against your competitors. Dig through your competitors’ websites to see if they offer something complimentary with their product. You’ll usually find bits of this information on competitors’ websites. Join my Telegram channel - Marketing Journal - to discover interesting articles, books, and resources on marketing, product growth, startups, and SaaS. Here’s a fictitious battlecard using two real companies, describing how a new PublishNOW product will be positioned against WordPress. Therefore, opening a new office can be a trigger for searching for a solution that helps companies assist in this process. Those insights will be handy to benchmark your own strategy against. this competitor analysis template to follow along, Social Media Customer You also don’t want to launch a new feature just to keep up with a competitor. Next, jump to Domain Comparison . You should also consider how company culture and internal processes impact the business and its bottom line. Are they looking for a developer with a specific skill set? Even the strongest giants are scared of competition. Take the number of employees the company has listed on its LinkedIn profile and multiply that by $150,000 if well-funded ($200,000 if modestly funded). Using tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Business Manager to read the data on your business is very important. Jason Lemkin of SaaStr offers a simple formula you can use to calculate a competitor’s revenue estimate, provided you know how many people work there. Switching costs The Threat of Substitute Products: It is the fourth factor of Porter’s five forces model of competition … Michael Porter presented a framework for analyzing competitors. The best way to identify current and future … You try to figure … The SaaS revolution drastically reduced switching costs across the board. Is there anything else that gives a competitor on your list an unfair advantage over everyone else? Freemium vs Free Trial vs Hybrid Customer Acquisition Model in SaaS: How To Develop a Customer Acquisition Strategy, How to Design Marketing Campaigns: The Importance of Market Segmentation, Strategic Communication: How to Develop Strategic Messaging and Positioning, Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): Alternatively, you can use Facebook’s Ad Library to search for your competitors’ ads. And the red circle on the right seems smaller next to larger circles. How do you solve this problem? BuzzSumo is a great (and free) tool to help you out. It’s unlikely that you will find an exact customer count for your competition. The most critical part of kicking off a competitive analysis is choosing the right competitors to analyze. That’s why including different kinds of competitors (big and small, direct and indirect) into the analysis is critical if you want the results to be comprehensive. Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox, 23 Jan 2019 – On top of that, venture capitalists (VCs) tend to invest in only one company in a given category so as not to cannibalize their own investments. What’s the Net Promoter Score (NPS) of your competitors? What is your competitor’s one-sentence company description? Get a full competitive analysis framework that's been real-world tested, and learn the tips and tricks for capturing competitor data and conducting research. And that’s what competitor analysis is for – finding ways to serve the customer better. Feel free to skip certain parts if you’re only interested in one aspect, or better yet, delegate some steps to respective teams if you can. You can set up a much more balanced view if you look at both market leaders (often larger companies), as well as smaller, often more agile and younger companies. While the research is still fresh in your mind, one bonus step I’d highly recommend to everyone performing the analysis is to map your competitors on a Strategy Canvas (from the book Blue Ocean Strategy ). It can be different in terms of technology or process. If the SaaS world feels like a blur these days, it’s not just you. The marketplace has turned into a competitive high-stakes, “winner-takes-all” environment. Mining product reviews helps you get valuable voice-of-customer data —  including pains and problems that you can use to develop your own strategy. I also tend to add comments under each aspect with details or links that provide more info. What do the like the least about your competitor (top complaints)? DIRECT vs INDIRECT DIRECT–similar products and services INDIRECT –solving same problem for same target market with a different product or service. Do the posts get shared around social media a lot? How does your competitor position its product? Say, do they have an affordable plan for startups or small businesses? Competitor's objectives 2. Competitors’ technology is an important aspect to assess for tech companies. Did their CEO leave because things aren’t going well at the company? A transactional sales approach to customer acquisition is best for products with a higher average selling price (ASP) then self-service solutions. To get an idea of your competitors’ ad strategy, SimilarWeb is a great (and free) starting point. Selling to large enterprises with a high ASP means competing against rivals with high-touch sales models. Before we look at product strengths and weaknesses (which we’ll do in a bit), it’s worth understanding what makes your competitor unique from an organizational perspective. They missed the chance to invest in your competitor, but now they have the opportunity to work with you. Larger organizations can throw more money at problems than a smaller, more agile company. What do they like the most about your competitor? This goes back to the DNA of the business —  it’s a strength you can’t just copy. Typically, VCs make just one bet in a product category to avoid cannibalizing their investments. For example, UberEats sells to the same customers but solves a different problem: food delivery instead of transportation. You’ll find it useful as you chart their past growth over the years —  a helpful comparison as you establish your own business goals. Done properly, competitive analysis will give you plenty of quantitative and qualitative data to back your own business decisions (and no, I’m not talking about cloning your competitors’ strategies to come up with a second best product, although this can sometimes work ). You’ll never be able to fully understand or duplicate a competitor’s strategy. The easiest way to plot this is a line chart, with each factor assigned a score depending on how well it is executed. In his article Three SaaS Sales Models, Joel York describes the three most common SaaS sales models based on the relationship between price and product complexity. General competitor analysis tools. It shouldn’t consume too much of your time and resources. Today, every company is a, Stay up to date! Identify your competitor’s market positioning. The subscription economy has made it easier to switch to competing products. It can help you identify where the “enemies” are and how they’re approaching the business. Competitor analysis is a driver of an organization’s strategy and effects on how firms act or react in their sectors. How do you know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing without a benchmark? Analyzing your market and competition also helps you determine how your company and your product fits in the current environment. Is there a phone number you can call? That’s why it's useful to know how your competitors use social media channels and paid acquisition channels to reach their target audience. Porter's five forces of Competitive analysis proves to be a powerful tool to understand the competitiveness of the business environment. Why should You Should Conduct a Competitive Analysis? Next, jump to Link Intersection – a module that shows you the domains that link to more than one of your competitors. Eventually, focusing on your customers and gaps between supply and demand will serve you much better than focusing on the competition. Now that you’ve finalized a short list of competitors, you’re ready to begin the real work. A company rarely competes against just one competitor. Some companies solve the same problem for the same customer but using a different solution. Competitor Analysis Defined . Can you uncover a segment of the market that doesn’t seem to be fully served by competitors’ plans? How loyal are customers to your competitor’s product? Are they about to hire their first sales rep or content marketer? An effective GTM strategy requires a deep understanding of your ideal customer, market and competition, product offering and pricing, and channels necessary to reach your customers. There, you can find out what employees think about the culture, the team, the pay, the management – and those are often honest opinions because a lot of the feedback is anonymous. In fact, when customers are paying more, they expect more hand-holding throughout the process. And for info on key people, offices, and founding date, CrunchBase is a great resource. If content is part of your competitors’ strategy, it’s important that you analyze their blog and what they tend to write about. Contrary to our gut feeling, both red circles are the same size. How does your competitor describe its value proposition and benefits? Does the company publish amazing books that are also free? The goal of this article is to show how to create a 360-view of your customer and what characteristics you should consider when selecting your ideal customer profile and persona. The best way to get this information is from review platforms. in a search engine of your choice (the quotes will make sure you’re looking for an exact match, and all of the words in the query are taken into account). But it’s important to take a step back and look at your business objectively. (Go with five if you’re operating in a crowded market.). Do your competitors have any of these core barriers to entry? Have the founders launched successful products before? Your company can look bigger and further ahead compared to smaller competitors and can look unreasonably smaller and behind when compared to larger competitors. Problem (WHAT) If you are selling a high-priced, complex product then you should focus on competitors pursuing similar enterprise clients. The primary goal of a competitive analysis is to understand the marketplace and how you can differentiate from other players. Does he or she have a significant social media following? PublishNOW is a content publishing platform for marketers and writers to improve content engagement, content stickiness, and reach. From the SEO perspective, there are two most important things about competition you should focus on: the keywords they rank for and the backlinks they’ve got. Depending on the stage you’re at with your business, you can also add in a column for your own product to quickly see how it compares to competitors. Competitive analysis is an exercise of comparing your business, product, and service to companies and finding similarities and differences. Switching costs are a significant barrier to switching to a new product, which makes it a key part of your competitive analysis. What words and phrases does your competitor use to describe their company, product, and value? The competitors you pick for the analysis determine the insights you’ll get at the end, and the decisions you’ll make, based in part on those insights. Your competitors’ revenue and number of customers deserve a separate section in your spreadsheet. Send me email with comments and questions: myk[at] This article features 13 tools you can use to analyze your competitors’ marketing channels. The organization does a competitor analysis to measure / assess its standing amongst the competitors. The more comprehensive your view of the competitive landscape, the more effectively you can identify potential opportunities for your company. Companies with low priced and low-complexity products must focus on developing a self-service option so they can maintain a healthy relationship between customer acquisition cost (CAC) and customer lifetime value (CLV). Protecting your company with one of the core barriers is smart. Are the readers engaged? A Strategy Canvas is a chart that breaks down your competitors by various aspects of their businesses and products (the pricing and other aspects specific to your product category). On top of that, it can also serve as a benchmark when you analyze the sentiment behind the mentions of your own brand and product. The enterprise sales process is reserved for highly complex products sold at a high price. Rank Tracker will help you with the keywords. This is a commonly accepted view in the Valley. It’s time to plot your own product on the canvas and see how it compares to the competitors. How much revenue was it generating? If applicable, it’s also important to analyze your competitors’ sales strategy. In fact, in many cases, the biggest competition in the SaaS and tech industries is coming from indirect competitors. Freemium vs Free Trial vs Hybrid Customer Acquisition Model in SaaS: See all 6 posts In other words, the competitors you select determines how you will perceive your company and the final analysis. For example, an alternative to Uber is a taking a walk or taking a taxi or riding a bike. A competitive analysis is an important aspect of the research. How does your competitor market its product? The regular competitor analysis helps you stay ahead of others. For all the talk of the data-driven workplace, you’d be surprised how many product decisions are driven by petty internal politics or a micromanaging HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion). So today, you can use it in your business to plan to come up with strategies that place you at a better position with your competitors. Go-to-Market Analysis (Customer Acquisition Analysis), Research can help orient your business in the marketplace, Research can help you identify the quickest path forward, Research can help you unearth overlooked gaps and opportunities. Because enterprise products provide so much value and prospects take longer to evaluate the product, companies must adopt a complex selling process and longer sales cycles. Navigate to the tool’s Ranking Keywords module and type in a competitor’s URL. The goal of the competitive analysis is to gather the intelligence necessary to find a line of attack and develop your go-to-market strategy. How do customers perceive your competitor’s product design, quality, and price? A strong report shows exactly what a company must out-compete … To look for job openings, check your competitors’ websites and job search sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. Some competitors solve the same problem with the same technology but focus on a different customer. It involves the evaluation of strength and weaknesses of your competitors and your business. All you need to do is sign up for Awario (there’s a free 14-day trial available), create an alert for the names of your competitors’ CEOs or other key figures (don’t forget to put the names in double quotes to search for an exact match), and select YouTube as the source for the search. Looking at the geography of your competitors’ mentions will let you figure out which markets they are focusing on the most (and, with any luck, find an area that isn’t too saturated yet). Focus on what your customers are telling you, whether through feedback, interviews or their in-app behavior. Discounts for students or non-profits? Sample Battlecard: PublishNOW vs WordPress To help you dig deeper, I have two hacks to share that go beyond a simple Google search: Hack #1: Set up alerts for competitors’ interviews and conference presentations. Such a switch usually results in business interruption and the need to retrain staff, among other unwelcome effects. Direct Competition = same customer + same problem + same/similar solution. Strategic messaging is the most visible part of your marketing, including your copy and brand. Don’t use competitive analysis to make decisions on what to build next. 28 min read, 21 Feb 2017 – A lot of their features and functionality have started to overlap. Does your competitor support multiple environments (e.g., web, iOS, Android)? We can’t fully grasp the pains and challenges of a decision maker without looking into his/her organization —  and their stakeholders. Want to know what tech stack your competitors are using? Do your competitors have a referral strategy? What is your competitor’s customer count? You can easily find a company’s “biographical” information on sites like Crunchbase, LinkedIn, Owler, and AngelList. Mergers or acquisition is one of the easiest ways for companies to enter a new market or get rid of a competitor. You change a headline message on your homepage, then your competitor retaliates with a new message of their own. Almost every product category is made up of over a dozen different players. Now that you’re done collecting company information about your competitors, it’s time to dive deep into their go-to-market and customer acquisition strategy. Otherwise, you will spend tons of time on competitive research with very limited insight to show for it. BuiltWith is a great (and free) tool to figure out the tech stack that a competitor uses. Strategic messaging is a value-based communication framework that companies employ in all interactions with stakeholders — employees, prospects, customers, partners and investors. That’s not the only reason why measuring the sentiment behind the mentions of your competitors is important. We’ll look at influencers endorsing your competition, publishers they work with, and media platforms they guest blog on, if any. This allows you to calibrate where you fall along the spectrum. Slack is a great example of a company that has a network effect, having successfully created widespread demand through word-of-mouth referrals and a highly engaging product. That’s usually just enough to get a ballpark estimate of market share in the SaaS industry. If so, in what industries? To fully understand or duplicate a competitor’s strategy is constructing a competitor analysis tools complexity for a.. 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