By conducting both customer and competitor research, you can set your product or service up for success right from the start. It helps you build a community, guide your sales and marketing teams, develop your product roadmap, and differentiate yourself from the rest of the competitive landscape.
In this episode, Kristen Schafer, Sr Integrated Marketing Manager at Faithlife, shares some tips and tricks for conducting customer and competitive research, as well as some advice for aligning sales and marketing.
What we talked about:
- Tips for approaching customer research
- Tips for approaching competitive research
- Increasing sales and marketing alignment
Customer Research & Launching a New Product
Every company conducts customer research differently. But one thing is the same for every one of them: you can’t launch a new product without some sort of in-depth customer research.
So what does Kristen and her team do at Faithlife? How do they get started?
First step is figuring out as much as they can about WHY the customer is interested. A lot of great products never make it to market because while they might be great, nobody is interested in them.
So the first step is figuring out WHY the customer is interested and what pain points the product is going to help alleviate.
Second step is getting on the phone with as many customers as possible. While it may seem obvious, so many products go to market without sufficient communication with customers.
Get them on the phone and ask them questions. “We built this thing, what do you think? What stands out for you?”
You can even use these early conversations to test marketing messaging. Take note of what lines stick and what lines don’t, but have those conversations as early as possible before you get too deep into the strategy.
Doing Your Competitive Research
Once you’ve had those conversations with your customers and are confident that the product that you’re building is going to be well received, solve their problems, and help them lead better lives, you have to differentiate your product from your competitors.
How do you think about competitive research in a saturated marketplace?
Start by following every competitor you can find on social media. Why? Because you will be inundated with their advertisements. You’ll get a front row seat to their products and how they’re marketing themselves.
Your newsfeed on all of your social media apps every day will be a daily digest of what your competitors are up to.
Second, get on their mailing lists.
While social media algorithms change every day, the tried and true mailing list is completely up to the company. Companies often show up differently in direct communications than they do on social media, so it can be a great chance to really take stock of who they are.
Third, create a spreadsheet of your competitors.
Keep track of what you think their value propositions are, who their target market or target customers are, and their high and low price points.
While it may take a few hours, you’ll start to see trends in the market.
And staying ahead of trends in the market is only going to help you in the long run.
Want to hear more? Listen to the whole interview, and get in touch with Kristen on LinkedIn.