Uncomplicate – How to perform competitor analysis

Uncomplicate by Freshworks brings you crisp and insightful videos which will focus on answering one tactical question around sales & marketing, support & collaboration, employee engagement, and growth. 

If you’re an early business, it’s easy to get caught under the pressures of competition. Many products and companies base their product roadmaps and marketing messaging based on what their competitors do. Companies watch their competitors cautiously, and sometimes fear that their customers will jump ship when lured by better marketing and a better customer experience. But that’s not the right way to view your competitors. 

Having a healthy approach to your competitors makes a product that much better, because you can learn about your customers from your competitors” says Marie Prokopets, co-founder of FYI.

In this episode of Uncomplicate, Marie talks about the ways in which you can use your competitors as a source of knowledge, and use the information to improve your product. As she rightly says, if we think of our competitors as alternatives to our products, they will prove to be a treasure trove of information that can be very useful for the growth and success of the business.

Publicly available sources

There is no dearth of sources that are available publicly, and your competitor’s website is one of the main sources on this list. From their websites, you will be able to know how they are thinking about their customers, who their main target audience is, and how they are positioning themselves in the market. 

Browsing through their home page, features, pricing pages, customer testimonials, will give you a fair idea of where you stand in comparison. It will also, more importantly, give you a clear picture about where your competitors are lacking, and what their customers are clamouring for.

You can also look at review websites such as G2 Crowd, which will give you more detailed insights into what customers think of your competitors’ offerings. Combing through such sites will give you information about what the customers enjoy, what they find lacking, what they seek to have more of, and other such valuable information. 

Marie on competitor analysis

You can similarly expand your lens to view journalistic accounts, product hunt websites, and other such places where you will be able to glean more insight into how your competitors products and services are impacting their customers. With big features and newer products being launched more often, staying on such sites will give you a lot of information about the customers’ experience, opinions, and responses. “And you’ll really get to see what people thought of that, as well as how the competitor presented that feature to the world.” says Marie. 

User testing

Marie says that this is her most preferred and most often used method of drawing insights from competitor behaviour. 

“So user testing is one of our favourite methods at FYI. What you can do is, essentially, user test a competitor’s website – it can be their homepage and important page on their site, or their entire product.” 

By doing so, you will be able to hear people walk their way through a flow, and tell you exactly what they think of the product and what problem it is solving for them. 

This exercise helps them decode the path that a user might take, and tells them where the flow is broken on the website and on the product. The questions you ask can be direct and focussed, and the answers are usually a wealth of information for you.

NPS Surveys 

It may seem like an old-fashioned idea but there is a lot to learn and unearth by using net promoter score (NPS) surveys. The insights gathered from these surveys are quite detailed and unique.

For example, you can ask “How likely would you be to recommend this product to a friend?” and set the scale starting at 0 (not likely) and ending at 10 (very likely). You can further follow up with, ‘What is the most important reason for your score?” 

Such questions will tell you how people feel about your competitors. “..in the document segment, which is where FYI plays, we learned that most of the existing document apps have very low NPS scores. It’s actually one of the industries with the lowest NPS scores, yet these products are just gigantic and used by millions of people.” 

NPS teaches you a lot about your customer as well as your competitor. And of course, you can couple NPS with product market-fit surveys, and what is lacking in your current product to create the ‘aha’ moment. 

If you go by Marie’s three-fold approach to viewing your competitors, you are sure to find a balanced and useful method of engaging with them. All it takes is a simple switch of perspective and a little tweaking of some practices, and your competitors become a source of information and not a source of threat.

This blogpost was co-written by Vinithra Madhavan Menon. The blog was edited by Sushma U N