How should the product manager disassemble competing products?
Before starting to make a product, it is often necessary to do a competitive product analysis first. By understanding the market situation and the advantages and disadvantages of competitive products, it is helpful to understand the market situation and accurately position its own products, so as to suit the remedy to the case and build its own products. How should the product manager do a good job of competitive product analysis? I believe this article can bring you inspiration.
"Know yourself, know your enemy, and you will be invincible". When designing products, we often need to "refer" to the design of competitors. How can we disassemble competing products and "take the essence and discard the dross"? In this article, we will talk about how to disassemble competitive products.
02 Background investigation
This step is often overlooked in competitive product disassembly. The growth of a product cannot be separated from its growth environment, the team and the company behind it. Therefore, when conducting a background investigation, we can understand the "mental process" of competing products, so as to better understand why they have grown up like today. When conducting background investigation of competitive products, we can usually carry out the following aspects:
• Company: Knowing the company that developed the product, you can know the strength of the company behind this product. The information about the product development company is easy to obtain from the official website. After obtaining the company information, we can understand the overall strength of the company through the search engine, enterprise credit query website, and equity structure, and can also evaluate the strength comparison of our company and the other party.
• Investment and financing situation: The investment and financing information of general Internet companies can be seen on the official website and some Internet portals (such as 36 Krypton). Understanding the investment and financing situation of products can tell the other party's capital resources, and also understand the other party's resource competitive advantage through the capital side. For example, if a certain strategic investment is obtained, it can not only bring funds but also resources. At the same time, we can also understand which product features the capital prefers.
• Team: Many companies will put their core team information on their official website. Through the composition of the team, we will know the strength of their team and the focus of their products. For example, some are technology-oriented, some are operation-oriented, and some are product-oriented.
• Business coverage area: It is usually more obvious at the B-end. If there is regional overlap between your products and competing products, you need to be particularly careful, because you can seize customers at any time. At this time, it is more necessary to "know yourself and your enemy". At the same time, we also need to pay close attention to the dynamics of competitive products and follow up on some popular functions of customers.
The growth of a product cannot be separated from its growth environment, the team and the company behind it. Therefore, when conducting a background investigation, we can understand the "mental process" of competing products, so as to better understand why they have grown up like today.
03 Product positioning
Many times, competitive product disassembly is just to understand the functional level of the product. In fact, this is just putting the cart before the horse.
If you do not understand the product positioning, then the understanding of the function is likely to stay on the surface. The positioning of the product reflects the value proposition of the product, the target group of the product and the business model of the product, which are most worthy of our learning.
How to understand the positioning of products? Generally speaking, good products will publicize their product value propositions on their official websites or on public occasions, such as the "connection" of WeChat and the "convenient life" of Alipay.
It should be noted that the positioning of the product will be adjusted in the development process. For example, Alipay was only a payment tool in its early days, and "Zhituofu" is its positioning, which aims to cultivate the user's sense of trust. The positioning adjustment of a product exactly reflects the future development direction of the product.
Many times, competitive product disassembly is just to understand the functional level of the product. In fact, this is just putting the cart before the horse. If you do not understand the product positioning, then the understanding of the function is likely to stay on the surface. The positioning of the product reflects the value proposition of the product, the target group of the product and the business model of the product, which are most worthy of our learning.
Next is the target group of the product, which can also bring a lot of inspiration to our product design.
For example, I once saw one of our competitor products, some of the interface layout buttons are big and some small, and many colors, which is not beautiful at all. From the aesthetic point of view, it is definitely unqualified.
However, their customers think it is easy to use. Why? Because their target group is the grassroots employees in the traditional industry who have little study and are older. They make the commonly used buttons bigger and more eye-catching, which is convenient for these people to quickly find the corresponding functions. Therefore, the analysis of the target group of product positioning will enable you to understand why their interaction and interface should be designed like that.
04 Product core process experience
Before sorting out the functions of competing products, my habit is to experience the core process of this product first, so that I can have a clear understanding of the main process. The next function sorting can better understand the business logic relationship with the main process.
While experiencing the main process, we can record our questions, highlights and shortcomings (which may not be shortcomings but may have to do so for special reasons), so that we can be more focused when we have a deeper experience later
05 Product function structure
The product's functional structure is suggested to be sorted out in the way of functional modules. The horizontal is the functional module, and the vertical is the functional level. Through the vertical and horizontal dimensions, we can quickly understand the overall functional structure. At this time, it is suggested to have a complete experience of each module and record it in the way of a mind map. Here is a sample mind map.
06 Features of the product
Sorting out the features of the product is a part of the in-depth experience. When we find that the design of the competitive product is excellent, we can record it first through video recording and screenshots, and then write down our own experience. When we design or optimize similar functions of our own products, we will have a reference source.
Of course, it should be noted here that not all features of competitive products are applicable to our own products. It is still necessary to combine specific scenarios and customer groups.
07 Defects of the product
It is also important to understand the defects of competing products so that we can gain some advantages in competition.
However, it is important to note that if it is some marginal defects, then do not be too seized. For example, the fact that the applet login does not use WeChat's quick login can only be said to be a defect at the experience level, and will not cause much impact.
What we need to grasp is the defect of the core business function of competitive products. If this defect can be avoided, it will greatly improve the competitiveness of our products.
08 Understand the channels of competitive products
Having said so much, then how to obtain competitive product information? Generally, there are several channels:
• Trial accounts of competitive products: Currently, Internet products are becoming more and more open, and most leading enterprises will provide trial accounts. Some can be used by directly registering online, and some can be tried only after the offline confirmation. If it is offline confirmation, you need a little skill. You can pretend to be the target customer who is interested in them.
• Operation manual or video of competitive products: Some products will provide an online operation manual or video. If there is no trial account, you can only retreat to this way to understand the functions of competitive products.
• Product launch (presentation): Through the product launch of competitive products or their presentations at some exhibitions, we can also understand their product features, functional modules, template groups and other information.
• Competitive customers: This is usually difficult, but if your product has already entered into competitive customers, and if you have a good relationship with customers, customers will be willing to share the products they have used before. This kind of information is actually very useful because it comes from real user experience and is very deep. For example, we have customers who are willing to show us the functions of the products they used before, and also tell us which functions they think are good and why they think they are good. This kind of information can be very valuable. Through the feedback of real customers, you can make your products have precise power point.
• Industry analysis: There are many domestic platforms that provide industry analysis, and the leading enterprises usually appear in the industry analysis list. Although we can't understand the details through industry analysis, we can understand the overall trend and some business statistics of competitive products.
• Online documents or videos: You can find some related documents (such as product promotional materials, and operation manuals) of competitive products on the Internet through search, as well as some operation videos recorded by competitive customers themselves, which is also an effective source of information.
After the disassembly of competitive products is completed, it is suggested to form a summary report, which can be in the form of Excel or PPT. It is recommended to use the PPT format to facilitate sharing and discussion with other team members, and to evaluate the competitive products from multiple aspects to avoid one person's one-sided view.