The Pros and Cons of Custom Competitive Analysis Research
All brands, regardless of industry, are competing for consumer support and loyalty. How can brands best understand their market share? Competitive analysis research can be a brand’s blueprint to gauge how they stack up versus the competition. This research can measure a product’s awareness, satisfaction, and loyalty while also comparing the metrics to those of similar products. Though the research has immense value, conducting it can be tricky. Here are some pros and cons to help determine if competitive analysis research is the best fit for your brand.
The Pros of Competitive Analysis
See where your brand stands against competition
It is imperative for any company to pinpoint who its competition is in the market. Otherwise, how can you measure the success of your product? Competitive analysis can help answer a number of questions about how your brand is perceived compared to the competition in the market. How aware are consumers of your brand vs. others? Which brands in your competitive set lead in ad awareness? And ultimately, which brands do consumers prefer? Answering these questions sets benchmarks based on other products to assess their own success.
Understand consumer choices
Just as important as “what” brands consumers buy is “why” they choose to buy them. If a brand is a leading choice among buyers, it is important to know what works so that the company can continue to provide these attributes in its products. Conversely, if a brand seems to be playing catch-up to the competition, companies will need clear direction on improving their offering. It is crucial to include probes within your competitive analysis to gain a strong POV of why or why not they are purchasing your brand. This will allow you to better assess the top attributes that lead to purchase and loyalty and the pain points that deter a consumer from picking the product.
Measure growth with tracking research
Knowing how your brand compares to the competition at a given moment can be helpful, but tracking the changes over time takes competitive analysis to the next level. Integrating a competitive analysis into an annual or bi-annual brand tracker can reveal consumer behavior changes as companies adjust their products and advertising. Though this can benefit any brand, this methodology is especially useful for companies that are not currently the top consumer choice. Tracking a competitive analysis over time can help these brands make adjustments based on consistent consumer feedback to allow them to grow and ultimately overtake the competition.
The Cons of Competitive Analysis
Picking the wrong competitors can tank your research
To run a successful competitive analysis, the brand in question needs to be compared to the proper competitors. A company may want to compare against as many brands as possible, but overcrowding a survey with too many options can flatten the research results. Additionally, brands may have different competitors in different markets, making a national study tricky to create and analyze. Companies should consider conducting preliminary research to uncover the true competitors to include in the analysis. It’s also smart to always include a question on unaided awareness to pinpoint additional brands that can be included in future waves.
You may be unprepared to take in what you find
Sometimes research needs to be the humbling voice in the room. The nature of a competitive analysis could bring in negative sentiment toward your product and an outpouring of praise for a competitive brand. Sorting through such results can be disappointing and difficult to accept. For this reason, it is important to design your survey to give you strategic results and clear calls to action. As a result, your brand will likely see improvements in future waves.