Three Ways to Look in Every Oyster But Only Keep the Pearls
When you’re benchmarking a product or service against a competitor, you need to cast a wide net to gather as much information as possible, but equally important, you need to keep the scope manageable. That paradox lies at the heart of the balancing act that makes high-quality competitive benchmarking possible:
- Look beyond feature comparisons. Of course you need to know what your offering can do that theirs can’t (and vice versa), but a holistic understanding of its competitive identity must look deeper, to include a customer’s pre-sale, sale, and post-sale experience.
- Identify key differences and discard the little stuff. This advice may seem obvious, but many competitive intelligence organizations err on the side of exhaustive comparisons full of minutiae that probably have little or no effect on decision making by potential customers.
- Focus on the factors that impact customer perception. The value of a comparison within a benchmarking study is directly related to how much influence the factor associated with it has over the perceptions of customers, in terms of the offering itself or the company that offers it.
This is the first installment of a three-part blog series to improve benchmarking of products and services against the competition. The second post, “Three Product Job Requirements Beyond Bells and Whistles,” shows the importance in the “job” an offering performs in shaping its competitive position, and the third, “Three Ways Customer Experience is Bigger Than Your Product,” discusses factors beyond the product or service itself that should be considered in benchmarking.
By Sean Campbell
By Scott Swigart