Questions to ask yourself while conducting a competitive analysis
Releasing a new product without a prior conduction of a competitive analysis is like wandering off into the woods without any guidance: you still have a chance to find the right way, but in this case, you expose yourself to unjustified risk.
Worth mentioning, that despite this obvious fact, some companies fail, because they do not compare their product with already existing alternatives. They focus on a user experience alone and the needs of current customers.
In order to survive in the tight market, you have to stand out offering something your competitors do not. Moreover, you have to be sure that the market you are trying to enter is not too crowded.
Before starting to work on a project, ask yourself several questions:
1. Who are your competitors and how much market share do they garner?
2. What can you tell about their product?
3. Is there something new you can offer?
4. How do they sell their product?
5. How do they make their brand recognizable?
5. Can you use other marketing tactics for promoting your product?
Let us take the market of Mac optimization software as an example. It is interesting, since it is tight, but reserves a place for new players, since by optimization you can mean literally anything that improves a user experience in one way or another, and you can always extend your app’s functionality by adding features your competitors do not offer.
Today there are several big players in the market, such as CleanMyMac 3, MacClean 3, Detox My Mac, and CCleaner, already known among Windows users. However, their lesser-known competitors cannot be discounted (MaCleaner 5, MacBooster, and Macflypro, for example), as there is a chance for them to break out into the leaders.
If you are going to enter your niche of choice, you should carefully analyze the functionality of all the competitors’ apps, so you know what the core and additional features are, whether there are apps with the same functionality, how many they have and how it influences their progress in the market.
For instance, all the system optimization apps can remove cashes, logs and system junk, while some of them can also delete installation packages as well or protect Macs from malware and viruses. Considering the results, you can define what features are must-have and what features you can add to stand out. You should not implement all the options from your competitors. For instance, there are apps with a far more expanded functionality among Mac optimizers, like Remo MORE, that also has parental controls. However, such apps are often a subject of interest for a limited audience only, not to mention that it would be very difficult for you to deliver a high quality product with an enormous amount of features.
Then, you have to compare your competitors’ monetization model and pricing strategy. In the niche mentioned above, companies with a Premium model with or even without a free trial perform better than Freemium based ones.
After this, you should compare the communication channels used by other companies for their product promotion (reviews, description on marketplaces, articles on relevant websites, social media and so on). Thanks to this, you can define what strategy is more effective.
Worth mentioning, choosing the right voice for communicating your product is crucial for getting recognition among your potential customers. That does not mean you have to differ from competitors: in some cases, it is better to stick to the common communication style. In order to stand out while being understandable for your target audience, you can use other marketing tactics. For instance, you can come up with frequent updates (like MaCleaner 5), or experiment with pricing models.
A competitive analysis may show that your project cannot be successful within the market. This is one of the reasons why some companies hesitate to conduct it, being unconsciously afraid to give up the idea that seemed promising to them. However, it is better to learn it before you invest money, time and efforts into an unviable product.