Questions to ask when benchmarking your product or service with the competition

competitive benchmarking

In a rapidly evolving world, companies and their products become redundant very quickly. To remain relevant it is important to adapt to the dynamics of the market you play in by understanding where you stand in terms of the competition.

Competitive benchmarking helps you determine your market standing by comparing your product or service against the industry and competitors. This helps in highlighting the gaps or whitespaces you can leverage, possible threats you can mitigate, and help you make informed decisions such as selecting what features to offer, figure out how to competitively price a product, and so on.

Here are the questions to ask your research analyst at each step of competitive benchmarking.

1. What do I want to achieve through competitive benchmarking?
Different teams in an organization will have different challenges they need to address through a competitive benchmarking exercise. It is important to clearly define what you plan to achieve right at the start.

Sales and marketing teams, for example, might want to know if their product messaging and pricing aligns with their competitive positioning. Product teams may want to know the how their features compare, while strategy professionals might be interested in identifying the gaps or opportunities they might be missing out on. Brand managers may need to assess the health of their brand on an ongoing basis, get an understanding of markets they should focus on, areas where they may be falling behind their competitors or any new market they could launch in.

2. What does the market landscape look like?
Understanding the market landscape will help brand and strategy teams gain insight into the present market scenario, forecast possible changes, and how they affect you. This will help determine whether to capitalize on or mitigate the changes and how to adapt. To get a thorough understanding of the market landscape, it is essential to take into consideration the government policies, the market share of players in the industry, changes in per-capita income, and so on.

One of our clients, a leading fruit juice manufacturer, faced a situation where the government, in its priority market, prohibited the consumption of alcohol during certain hours of the day, owing to the rise in lifestyle-related diseases. This resulted in an increased consumption of fruit juices, which in turn, lead to increased competition. The client, therefore, needed to understand the potential growth of the fruit juice market, the market share of the competitor brands, type of packaging preferred by the consumer, and so on. This helped them determine the steps they could take to capitalize on this policy change by identifying whitespaces in the market and competitor strategies.

3. What are my competitors up to?
Just knowing who your competitors are is not enough. To stay ahead of the curve, it is important to understand, assess, and reassess on a continuous basis their positioning, priority business areas, investments, strategic partnerships, and so on. In today’s ultra-competitive business environment, it is critical to keep a watch on new entrants to forecast any disruptions that their offering could cause, and plan ahead. Keep a watch on the news they make, leadership changes, product or campaign launches, or any strategic partnerships. You will want to leverage this kind of intelligence to determine if there are any whitespaces in the market or competitive landscape that you could use, to inform pricing, positioning, and product decisions.

It is important to understand that competitive intelligence is not a one-time assessment but in fact a continuous process. It helps you understand the health of your brand on a regular basis in the face of an ever-changing market and the necessary steps you must take.

Netscribes has helped large multi-national brands and companies understand whitespaces in their competitors’ strategy and market, and provides insights to help them compete better. Speak to us to learn more about our market and competitive intelligence services.

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