Researching the Competition

Researching the Competition: Three Tips for Beginners

Aug 15, 2022

Your competition can be your greatest asset. Today we’re sharing why you want to resist the human urge to view your competitors as your foes and how you can start methodically researching the competition today, no fancy tools necessary. #BigThingsStartSmall always.

Tip 1. Know the type of competitors you’re researching

There are two types of competitors: direct and indirect.

Direct =

  • Same market
  • Solving the same customer need
  • Same solution (aka offers same products or services)
  • Example: Uber vs Lyft

Indirect =

  • Same market
  • Solving the same customer need
  • Different solution (aka offers different products or services)
  • Example: Facebook vs Club House

Of course, you want to know who your direct competitors are but be sure not to overlook your indirect competitors. These companies offer good insight into features, products, and needs that may have been overlooked in your market.

Tip 2. Your competitors are your greatest sources of learning so capture your findings. Here’s how…

At AppThink, we have a spreadsheet with 15+ direct/indirect competitors that records the following:

  • Company Name – Self-explanatory
  • Type – Direct or indirect competitors
  • Website – So you can refer back
  • Admire – What do they do that’s inspiring? What’s working for them? What do you want to imitate?
  • Opportunities – What are they missing? What can you do better?
  • Revenue model – How are they making money? How much do they charge for their product or service? Do they sell to individual consumers (B2C)? Do they sell to other businesses (B2B)? Do they sell to both?

Tip 3. Become  their customer

If possible, become a customer and purchase your competitor’s product and make sure to :

  • Document the customer journey (ie. What was onboarding like? How were you engaged?)
  • Create a swipe file (aka take screenshots and/or document the marketing assets your competition uses that you believe are effective)

Other things to investigate:

  • Social media activity and engagement
  • Crunchbase profiles (If they have one, you can see if/when they raised funding and how much. This can be one signal of their traction)

Remember: Competitors aren’t your foes, they are your data points… and sometimes your friends.

article by Kellie Clark

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