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The Product team’s guide to market
and competitive intelligence.

7. Making market and competitive intelligence actionable in your company

Enabling each department and team to grow.

Welcome to Chapter 7! During this guide, we have gone over a basic understanding of market intelligence, analysed current state, mapped out the competitive landscape, and used that knowledge to discover your niche and build your product. In this chapter, we will go over; sharing market and competitive intelligence with the rest of the organisation.

This chapter has three main sections:

    1.  How to create the patterns to share this information across the company.
    2. What each department needs out of the information.
    3. How to preserve a culture of agility and prevent it from being a culture of watching others.

How to share competitive and market intelligence across the company.

After you put all that great work into understanding how you can lead your market, you need to share those insights. This is essential as these insights have a direct impact on both your business strategy but also the success and positioning of your product.
Here are a few recommendations on how to put these insights to work:

 

1. Competitive Intelligence Distribution Group

If you have followed our guides on visualizing competitive intelligence through a SWOT matrix, or other analysis, you will have a crucial group of strategy people in the organization that are stakeholders in actioning this research. Create a distribution group of these individuals and share updates on a weekly or monthly basis as you uncover new intelligence through Rival.

2. Wiki/Intranet

If you have an intranet or Wiki, place your analysis there and update it often. This is also a great place to put your competitive battle cards as sales, marketing, product, and development can all benefit from this one-stop insight into specific rivals. If it is a challenge to keep everyone updated to changes, and you don; thave an intranet, try a slack channel (or other company-wide internal messaging tool) with updates as new information is found and linking back into your intranet/wiki. I have previously set up “market_updates” as a channel in previous companies for this very reason.

“If it is a challenge to keep everyone updated to changes, and you don’t have an intranet, try a slack channel.”

3. Stakeholder meetings.

Try having regular stakeholder meetings on competitive intelligence or blend it into existing product stakeholder/business strategy meetings. In this meeting, you can quickly review changes to competitors, and the market and the new insights pulled from that information. Then tie it back by showing how it has impacted or changed different visualization or priorities in the business.

What competitive and market intelligence means for each team in your organization.

Competitive and market intelligence benefits all sectors of your business; it helps you craft better products, arms sales, and marketing teams, gives further context to your development and design teams and provides guidance into navigating your business into a blue ocean.

Let’s break down those benefits across each area of your organization.

Competitive and market intelligence for your Product team.

When you gather competitive and market intelligence, you learn where there are gaps between your rivals and your customers through online forums, reviews, marketing documentation; you also learn more about your customers from how the competitors in your market are adapting and changing to meet those needs. These changes extend beyond product features to strategic hires, market positioning, and more.

Competitive and market intelligence for your UX, design, and engineering teams.

Understanding the customer problem and how different market players are responding to that problem allows your UX/design/engineering teams to think of how to deliver a need better than what is present in the market. There have been many times where I have sat down with a product designer, and we have reviewed different ways certain functionality is already delivered. This inspires the team not to repeat mistakes, but also to find out how we can provide a smoother or better experience than what is in the market today—all for the benefit of our customers.

Understanding the customer problem and how different market players are responding to that problem allows your UX/design/engineering teams to think of how to deliver a need better than what is present in the market.”

Competitive and market intelligence for your marketing teams.

The positioning, language, and marketing techniques that are resonating with the market allow your marketing team to leapfrog to what is working already—allowing them to invest their time in delivering a strong message, instead of playing catch up. Working with the product team, the marketing team can craft stronger communication to assist with launches, copy, collateral, competitive positioning across your product and organization.

Competitive and market intelligence for your sales teams.

The information you gain is where your market communicates, what gaps they feel are unaddressed. Their pricing/product information improves the way your sales team can sell—combined with the ability to quickly craft reusable and auto-updating competitive intelligence and battle cards, to arm your sales team in head-to-head or overall sales campaigns.

The information here is often shown in “Battlecards,” which are small information packets on each of the competitors that your sales team may encounter. Your team needs to be able to articulate the difference between your product and theirs. 

Competitive and market intelligence for your executive teams.

In our articles around doing a SWOT analysis, competitive matrices, or other strategic analysis, you can find many techniques to apply this intelligence to crafting a better business. Using this intelligence helps you drive your business into “Blue Oceans” or low-competition areas where you can address valuable customer needs quickly, efficiently, and in a way that accelerates your business growth.

Knowing your competition and market is not a one-time activity. To keep reaping the benefits, you will need to invest in ongoing monitoring and discovery. 

Building a culture around market awareness

You always hope to be slightly ahead of a host of established and brand new companies that are pushing for the same market, same customers, and the same advantages. Unlike a decade ago, the average time it takes for a company to go from birth to compete with established players is now under three years.

To survive and excel, companies need to preserve the culture of agility and use that ability to maintain their unique advantage continually.

“The average time it takes for a company to go from birth to compete with established players is under 3 years.”

To build that culture of agility and awareness. A level of information needs to be shared about how our market is evolving and how are competitors are adapting. This allows constructive thought around understanding the mistakes our rivals made (and not make them!), predict the market trends, and establish how your product could excel.

The first step is to share the information on the market as it is. What do competitors have? In terms of features, size, offering, target markets, price points, positioning, reputation? Once that high-level information is ingested, you can move on to the next three steps.

  • How can we bucket them in terms of their similarities?
    These five companies are “blank” companies, etc. 
  • Once you have those groupings, what is the map of their similarities and differences? Depending on the complexity of the market, showing them as overlapping blobs can help you illustrate the gaps or weak points in the market.
  • Where are we unique? How can we protect it and grow it? How are those spaces filled between where these companies are, and where the need lies.

With all this information brought together, as well as a system to keep it up to date (Rival), the entire company can see how it has a path to success. It also helps guide the mindset while some features, selling points, etc. are great. They may not be the path to building a 100 million+ dollar company.

Only by knowing what is unique in your offering, can you protect it and grow it.​

At the executive level, a deeper understanding of integrated market trends and competitor changes is needed. These can be a part of regular stakeholder meetings or executive strategy sessions. At a higher level, you can also see the direction the different companies were going and predict their movements; because you are looking month-over-month instead of as isolated events. This means you could sell against our competitors more accurately, win more of those deals, and also plan a roadmap and growth plan in a way that gave you the advantage.

While there remains another chapter that acts as a glossary of some of the terms, this is the end of the basic guide. 

This guide is grown continuously and updated, so bookmark this guide or link to it for future reference. If you have any questions, recommendations, or disagreements with the content, please reach out to us.

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