Competitive analysis is a must-have skill for any product manager shipping products to customers, but what exactly is a competitive analysis? I will show that competitive analysis covers far more than PMs typically examine:
- Defining the right competitors. Any company that builds a similar or adjacent product that solves the customer’s needs is a competitor (i.e. Excel competes with project management tools, even though most PMs may not make that claim.) Company size and market dynamics help PMs prioritize competitors and figure out who to focus on.
- Examining the right vectors: look at the competitor’s hiring practices, recent hires on LinkedIn and their past backgrounds, any press or news-worthy events, use a competitive intelligence tool like Crayon, pay attention to pricing, packaging, and landing page flows, to make judgements about what matters to that product team.
- Once we know our competitor’s strategies, we can use them to inform our own.
- The key vectors of competitive analysis – what PMs should be looking at when they visit competitor websites or products.
- How to synthesize the above information into trends and predictions for what competitors are doing
- How to use competitor trends to inform your own product strategy and stay one step ahead.
I think many PMs do a surface level competitive analysis that locks them into playing a game of catch-up with their competitors (Google launched X so now we have to launch X). Instead, I will show several ways to take competitive analysis to the next level and stay one step ahead.