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3 Competitive Analysis Frameworks Every Product Marketer Should Know

Picture of Ellie Mirman
Ellie Mirman on Wed, Apr 17, 2019

As part of analyzing the competitive landscape and turning that intelligence into impactful resources for sales, marketing, or product teams, product marketers consume a lot of data. From gathering intel on competitors’ product pages to diving into their help sites to examining job postings and case studies, every bit of competitive intelligence data is critical to a product marketer’s analysis. But how do you actually analyze the data to ultimately come out with takeaways and action items to help your team win against the competition? Here are three competitive analysis frameworks that every product marketer should know.

Competitive Analysis Framework #1: Comparisons

While a feature comparison sheet is not the end goal of such an analysis, it can be a helpful place to start to understand the scope of each competitor’s solutions and how your solutions stack up. Similarly, you can apply a comparison framework to pricing, positioning, product launch strategies, and markets served. Comparisons allow you to see, side by side, similarities and differences between you and your competitors. This, then, enables you to craft a differentiated and effective product marketing strategy.

Get the Guide to Competitive Intelligence for Product Marketers

A comparison-based approach to competitive analysis allows you to visually see how you stack up against a competitor or set of competitors either side-by-side or in a competitive matrix. Examples of competitive matrices include:

  • Win / Loss Matrix - graphing your win rate against each competitor and grouped by type of competitor
  • Feature Comparison Matrix - visualizing your feature coverage against your competitors’ solutions
  • Competitive Landscape Overview Matrix - grouping competitors based on size, target market, or other factors to more manageably take in a landscape with many competitors

Competitive Analysis Framework #2: Groupings

When it comes to large amounts of data - such as blog posts or website pages or case studies - it can be helpful to categorize or group these inputs to identify trends. Are 90% of a competitor’s case studies in the healthcare industry? They clearly have a focus in that market. Are most of the competitor’s product features focused on content publishing and user permissions? This shows their product focus has been in these areas. Groupings established by tagging or categorizing pieces of competitive intelligence allow you to get out of the weeds of the data and see the forest for the trees.

Grouping competitive intelligence data by type, industry, or other key factors, allows you to make sense of large quantities of data. This type of analysis allows you to, for example:

  • Determine your competitors’ customer segments by analyzing which markets they’re speaking to in their content, or markets they’re highlighting in case studies or product pages
  • Analyze your competitors’ product focus by seeing which areas of their product are most built-out and which use cases are not addressed
  • Identify thought leadership focus areas by tagging blog posts and other educational content by topic

Competitive Analysis Framework #3: Hints of the Future

Sometimes it can be helpful to zoom in on seemingly minute pieces of intelligence in order to get hints of a competitor’s future strategy. A small change to their boilerplate or the subheadlines of a product page can signal major positioning changes with more initiatives to come. A few bullet points in a job description for a product manager role can reveal the company’s product strategy, giving you an incredible view of where they hope their solutions will be months from now. These seemingly small details can be incredible hints of future strategies, allowing you to craft a winning strategy of your own.

This micro-approach to competitive analysis is not one to look over. So often, we think analysis has to do with large amounts of data all lined up in a spreadsheet. But analysis also includes honing in on the one data point that reveals a lot about a competitor’s strategy. This approach leverages, for example:

  • Job postings that can reveal upcoming product investment or marketing growth areas
  • Website headline changes that can reveal SEO strategies and positioning shifts
  • Landing page form field changes that show indications of a company’s sales structure and process

While capturing complete competitive intelligence data is a necessary precursor, it’s the analysis of that data that’s critical for making competitive intelligence impactful for your organization.

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Topics: Competitive Analysis

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