Kit+Video: Competitor Analysis and Market Research Template

Today’s topic – How to do Competitor Analysis and Market Research.

Welcome to another free resource for The Wandering Pros. My mission is to help you succeed as a freelancer or a small business. Guides like these exist to enable you. To offer more, and better, services and solutions for your client. If this helps you in your quest to be exceptional – please do share with others. Unlock the kit by clicking here.

Why Provide Market Research as a Service?

Providing Market Research and Competitor Analysis as a service is a perfect add on for the offerings you provide. Typically speaking as a freelancer or a small agency who works with startups – a lot of your clients or stakeholders will be looking for insights into the market from the get go. 

Since you will already be helping them with design, development, and other areas – adding market research to get started on the right foot – just makes sense.

In this guide, I will break down what are the key components that should be part of your offering and how you can go around developing the necessary materials required to offer a service that helps you grow.

Please watch the attached video for further explanation and insights.

Breakdown of Market Research deliverables

Below are the various sections you should base your deliverable on. Each client or stakeholder has different wishes, but the list below will cover the basics for the most.

When it comes to presenting the outputs, you have freehand on how to compile all your findings and share it with the client. I recommend a 2-3 pager document with structure catering to the following deliverables.

Direct Competitors

This is the list of the direct competitors that exist for the business. In simple speak, direct competitors are the entities who offer the same product and services, in a similar market, at a similar price point

When doing research on competitors, always be sure to take into account all three of these elements and don’t go beyond the scope of it.

Also make sure to verify direct competition with the client as you are scoping out the list. My go to tip for finding competitors is by getting comfortable using some SEO tools like Ahrefs or SEM Rush. For any online businesses, making use of what is indexed online, is the quickest way to start your search.

Secondary Competitors

The scope for finding secondary competitors is quite similar to direct – only difference being the market. Secondary competitors usually have the same product BUT either target a different market or a different price point.

A common example would be a budget vs premium product within the same category, such as cars. Even though the product is similar in function, both brands will cater to different needs at different price points.

Finding secondary competitors can sometimes be tough given the industry you are researching for. My best suggestion is to filter your initial research and divide up your findings based on the differences in market and price point.

Again, SEO tools will be your best bet to get started for online products and services. For offline, get comfortable using google maps.

Indirect Competitors

Lastly, indirect competitors – flip it around. They have a similar market to yours but might have a different product and/or a different price point. To put it simply, they have certain aspects that you should aspire to have in your own product or service as you are committing to the research.

As someone working on this research, finding good indirect benchmarks is probably the hardest part of any competitor analysis. You need a wide understanding of the industry you are researching to know different aspects that just make sense.

A common example of this would be gamification. Knowing that things like scoring systems, leaderboards, achievements work well in games – a lot of apps recently have started to integrate the same aspects into their products, such as food ordering apps, e-commerce apps, healthcare apps, etc.

Analysis Parameters & Key Takeaways

Got the list for your competitors? – Now the fun part starts.

Ideally, I would recommend to write down your key takeaways for all the competitors you have shortlisted.

  • 2-3 positives about the competitors generally speaking
  • 2-3 negatives about the competitors generally speaking
  • 1-2 points on general user experience and findings about the various competitors

This will help you drill down further when you are doing an Analysis based on parameters.

So what are the parameters for analysis?
Fancy speak for different aspects you want to rank.

Below is a diagram that gives you a list of parameters you can work with, this isn’t conclusive and the parameters could be versatile depending on your client or stakeholder needs.

Link to source:

My rule of thumb is to stick to a maximum of 5 parameters. 

If you are doing a competitor analysis for a product based business then my go to are User Experience, Design Sense/UI, Unique Selling Props, Content and Messaging, and Pricing points.

If you are doing a competitor analysis for a service based business then go for Customer Reviews, Service Areas, Client Onboarding process, Content and Messaging, and How they work/Contract policies.

Once you have shortlisted your parameters, you make an excel sheet, and rank everything with your notes and scores. This will be better understood on the attached video.

SWOT Analysis

Moving on to SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis). A term every ‘business’ person knows. Thing is, what makes a good SWOT is the groundwork you have put in so far. That is what separates you doing the SWOT for your client/stakeholder VS they doing it themselves. The out of the box perspective you have built doing all that competitor research and parameter analysis will help you write a SWOT unlike others.

The breakdown of SWOT is pretty standard as you can see below:

Only thing you need to work on is catering the answers to your client’s business. My tip for doing an effective SWOT is to gather your research and have a call with the client to go over various questions. Think of it like a mini discovery.

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Elevator Pitch

Done a lot of leg work so far – let’s get creative. Writing elevator pitches that just resonate, can be hard. But the pitch framework makes it easy for anyone to write one.

The Elevator Pitch framework helps you answer the following questions about your business:

FOR (target customer), WHO HAS (customer need), (business name) IS A (market category) THAT (one key benefit). UNLIKE (competition), Business (unique differentiator).

●      For – who is the target customer for our business. We need to have a specific category to offer a good fit for our services and working style.

●      Who – we need to identify a need that Company X promises to fill out

●      The – what is the name of the business

●      Is A – specific category of services we are offering or the product features we will be offering

●      That – what is the benefit we are providing to other companies (not same as features)

●      Unlike – Who are our competing businesses

●      Our business – What sets us apart from competition

Example: Salesforce (CRM solution)

FOR small businesses without a CRM solution, WHO need to control their costs, Salesforce Is A CRM solution THAT is financially flexible with low initial cost.

Unlike Siebel or managing customer relationships manually, Salesforce is quick to setup and easy to us

This example is a bit dated, but it does a good job of explaining elevator pitches that disrupt the market.

Market Trends and Learning

Finishing everything off with market trends and learning of all the effort you have done so far.
A one pager focusing on what needs to be a high priority when working on detailing out the product.

Every product and business will have different trends to look out for. What matters most is for you to tie the trends and learnings into an offer that you can cater to in the long term.

As an Agency or Freelancer, the goal of the market research is to provide your clients with all the information they need and then to provide a way forward.

Get the Competitor Analysis and Market Research

As a solo freelancer or early-stage design/development agency, working closely with clients is the best way to foster long term relationships that make something beautiful.

Getting started on the right foot is important for any client or stakeholder – providing a market research service ensures that. 

When a great team meets a lousy market, market wins.
When a lousy team meets a great market, market wins.
When a great team meets a great market, something special happens.

Understanding the market is the key behind success, no matter the product or business you have.

This guide will help you navigate the complex landscape of the market for your client’s business or product.

What’s included:

– A proven format that worked for over 50 projects and clients
– A filled sample demonstrating how to apply the template to real projects
– A 10+ minute video guide explaining how to maximize the template’s effectiveness

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