Successful products (or services), are historically backed by thorough market research on competitors and customers. To understand a competitive landscape, there needs to be an extensive grasp of customer needs and issues that companies are trying to address. At the same time, today’s consumers want change much faster than in the past and companies need to be agile enough to quickly adapt if they want to constantly distinguish themselves from the competition. While traditional market research tends to become outdated quickly, social media tools enable access to almost 3.5 billion active users around the world. Consumers actively share their authentic and unsolicited opinions and experiences online. Tapping into that pool of real-time information we help our clients to identify the key market trends, enabling them to build products that drive competition.
Using social media insights we help our clients exploit consumer feedback to optimise product and service offerings. We first set out a number of parameters we want to track, including key words associated with the product. These define the key questions we aim to answer, and can often validate or supplement existing research, as well as offering a more comprehensive and faster route to understand customer requirements. This helps us to focus in on the priority concerns of customers, target next-level questions and gain real competitive advantage through an extensive and current data set on customer preference.
After conducting a competitor analysis, we use social media insights to deep dive into the sentiment and topics that are associated with each competitor. This enables us to create competitor profiles and distinguish the market ‘drivers’, ‘followers’ and ‘laggers’ in the industry. We can often prove or disprove hypotheses quickly, enabling acceleration of key features which can be substantiated or withdrawal of plans where there is clearly limited customer appeal. The use of language analytics helps to distinguish between sentiment and intent, again showing a clear path to priorities where customers intend to follow through on an action (such as buying a product, switching accounts, complaining about a service).
Over a period of days, we combine the industry drivers and competitor sentiment analyses to understand the gaps between the evolving customer needs and current market offerings (including existing competitors). This data driven approach allows us to build a successful strategy for our clients’ products. This is then fed into the roadmap planning and prioritisation discussions, providing a more informed basis on which to deliver new features, products and services with a higher probability of achieving their commercial aims.
Example output from high-level data sampling for relevant social media conversations:
As part of the process we help clients answer key questions:
- What are the key needs and problems we are trying to address?
- What are our competitor profiles? How do we distinguish our company from them?
- How can we adapt the company strategy to encompass faster evolving consumer needs?
- Which product or service features are most important? What should be part of my MVP?
- What are the Critical to Quality elements of the product / service? Which elements distinguish the leaders from the laggers?
- Is there a gap in the market that customers feel is not currently served by an existing product/service?