In business you can never afford to lose sight of your competition. That’s a good mantra for every product manager to remember. Staying abreast of what’s going on throughout your market is key to keeping yourself competitive. Today, we’re going to briefly discuss two general views of competitive analysis that can sharpen your view of the market.
Two Vantage Points of Competitive Analysis
Essentially, a product manager can look at the market in one of two ways:
- Near Real-Time
Point-in-Time presents a consolidated view of competitive information gathered from sources that are mostly available to the public. By its very nature, it is information from the past. Even though this information is dated, it may provide strong indicators of where your known competitors will be headed in the future.
What Differentiates the Near Real-Time Approach
Like Point-in-Time, Near Real-Time is also retrospective. However, unlike Point-in-Time, it is a cross-functional system. It shortens the lag time and gives something closer to a real-time look at the market landscape.
Typically, before you can develop a Near Real-Time analysis, you must first develop a Point-in-Time analysis. You build on what you discovered through Point-in-Time to develop the Real-Time analysis. Through it you want to keep a keen eye on your competitors’ movements in the market.
To achieve the Near Real-Time view, you’ll need to work closely with other functional areas in your company. Together, you’ll need to develop a disciplined system for tracking your competitors’ moves. You’ll depend on these people to funnel information about competitors’ actions into your product management group.
Watch Out for the Unknown
No matter which approach you take to competitive analysis, keep your eyes open for new players in your market. I’m referring to start-up companies, threats from adjoining verticals, and large companies. Large companies regularly buy their way into markets through partnerships and acquisitions. The sudden appearance of an unforeseen threat can significantly damage your business.
In my next post I’ll delve deeper into market view, what to look for, and where to gather information you need for a truly useful market analysis.