The Value of Competitive Benchmarks

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At the end of the day, every brand wants to win, to claim their rightful share of the market. And to do so, brands have to know who they’re up against—especially if they want to beat them. With the recent launch of our Competitive CheckpointTM solution, we’re already seeing crucial ways our clients can improve their products and positioning by learning how their concepts stack up against benchmarks from a relevant competitive set, rather than outdated historical norms.

Competitive Checkpoint is an agile solution that fuses foundational research principles for concept testing with fresh ways of measuring concept success, advanced technology and automated analysis, and the expertise of our research service teams. By using this quick quantitative research to compare product concepts against current, in-market competitors, brands are able to evaluate market potential so they can confidently take products to market or craft shopper marketing based on current consumer insights. Here are just a few examples of how competitive benchmark testing can optimize your latest concepts:

  • Niche and subcategories: We recently worked with a CPG company in developing a new prepared food product with organic ingredients within a niche subcategory. By benchmarking their concepts against the current market, they uncovered that their concept performed well, but that believability was low relative to some of the existing competitive set. Benchmarking against historical norms, which can include products that never made it to market, may not have revealed this opportunity to optimize.
  • Rapidly evolving categories: Consumer mindsets surrounding food and beverages change rapidly, as do the products developed to satisfy customers. For example, not all consumers see a difference between electrolyte/vitamin-enriched beverages and sports drinks. Some consumers group sparkling beverages with fizzy drinks, while others group them with waters. In categories where consumer preferences are rapidly evolving, it’s critical to compare new product concepts to a diverse competitive set rather than obsolete norms.
  • Cross-over products: When a CPG client was developing a product they thought might overlap two categories, they used competitive benchmark testing to evaluate their concepts relative to five existing competitors in each of the categories. They obtained insights not only about the product concept itself, but also a definitive recommendation about the category in which they should launch. Typical concept testing based on historical norms—or even including just a couple of competitive concepts—probably would not have yielded such a definitive result.
  • Pre- and post-prototype for durable goods: A durable goods client wanted to test three new product concepts against existing competition: one concept was for a product already in market, and two were 6-18 months from launching and still without prototypes. By comparing consumer ratings for these concepts to a competitive set of in-market products, our client gleaned valuable and actionable feedback prior to investing in prototypes—and six months earlier than other types of concept testing they had used.

While we haven’t yet done a head-to-head comparison of results based on competitive benchmarks versus concept testing that utilizes historical norms, these four examples in just a few short weeks of our product launch demonstrate how crucial it is to gain market intelligence based on existing competition, rather than historical averages. To learn more about why competitive benchmark testing is the modern answer to today’s concept testing needs, check out the short video below.

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