Competitive Research: Identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own product or service.
Picture competitive research as if you are peeling an onion. As you peel away the layers, more and more is revealed to you. Using data gathered from the study you can produce a clearer picture of where your product and service stand in your related industry.
Competitive research is a fundamental building block to the product development process. It not only informs you and helps shape your business decisions but it also helps communicate the direction the design of your product should take. As Michele Levy, an independent brand strategy consultant, says, “Staying smart on the competitive landscape helps you make very practical decisions around product development, pricing, promotions, messaging, as well as where you fit in the brand landscape.”
- Increase your understanding on what customers are expecting from your product/service
- Bring to light new and possibly better ways to serve your customer
- Understand the content you need to be producing and the best way to represent that content to your customer
- Collect data to help you identify new opportunities your company may have at their fingertips
- Provide insight on how you are ranking compared to similar companies and products
- Better understand the ways a competitor’s product not only succeeds but also how it fails so you can avoid making the same mistakes
- Help envision a product that will meet the needs of your target users and stay on top of its target market
Competitors Don’t Sleep. Why Should You?
Ideally, competitive research should happen throughout your product’s lifespan. The technology industry is constantly growing and so are your competitors. In an age where startup companies are at the forefront of their related industries, it is important to keep an open eye and be aware of new trends and key players. Michele Levy states that “Keeping track of who your competitors are, what people are saying about them, and what they are saying themselves can help you differentiate your business and stay ahead of trends that could impact your business.”
Competitive research should be used as a tool to drive clarity and create a roadmap for your product to grow with, as your competition grows. Documenting and staying educated in the market will help give you a better perspective on what your users will be expecting from your services. It will also help you envision the future state of your product and lead you down the path to a memorable user-friendly experience that is on top of the competition.
Competitive research is a fundamental building block for developing a product. Not only does it drive clarity to where your product stands in your industry but it also lays down the fundamental stepping stones on how to better improve your experience. Like an onion, once you peel back the competition, what you learn could bring tears “of joy” to your eyes.
Jaime Levy (2015, May). UX Strategy. https://www.safaribooksonline.com/library/view/ux-strategy/9781449372972/ch04.html
Inc.com (2010, May 10). How to Conduct Competitive Research. https://www.inc.com/guides/2010/05/conducting-competitive-research.html
Adrian Dulgheru (2016, September 23). (Re)Search…Then Design.