In this blog post we will take a look at one of the more common types of competitive intelligence project: a competitor's product launch.
A company will often be aware that a competitor's new product is coming down the line, but not know when it will be launched, its pricing or what features it will have. Those are usually the three pieces of information that such a project will hinge on but, for the sake of completeness, there will often be a number of less important questions to answer. These may be about R&D spend, marketing investment, or who is driving the launch process.
The kind of questions you might need to answer are listed below (taken from our RFP template).
- When will the product launch?
- What are the features of the product?
- How will it be priced?
- At whom is it targeted?
- What R&D investment is behind the product?
- Who is in the product launch team?
- Will there be distributors/resellers involved? Which ones
- What will be the company’s go-to-market messages?
- How much will the competitor spend on each media channel?
- How will go-to-market messages be targeted by customer segment?
- How will the competitor manage each go-to-market channel?
- Will the competitor use marketing partners? Which ones?
Product launch research can be frustrating as it involves a lot of tilting at windmills. It will be difficult to sort rumors from facts, as evidenced by the usual debate around Apple products. And for something like a launch date that can change fluidly, even the competitor may not know for sure until very close to the date itself. The binary nature of the information (for example, you either got the date right or not) makes errors highly visible, particularly if such information will be used to plan a counter-PR campaign, for example.