User Research is Inseparable from Market Analysis and Competitive Product Analysis


The analysis of the market usually revolves around three aspects: market size and policy analysis, competitive product analysis, and user analysis. Some companies will assign these jobs to one position, while others will be divided into market analysis positions (also called business analysis positions), competitive product analysis positions, and user research positions.

In some companies, a product manager does all of this work. Especially when a new product project needs to be established, the product manager needs to give a background description of the market environment, competitive product situation, and user situation, so as to provide supporting reasons for product opportunities.

Usually, the content of each section is just a part of the PPT page and spliced up and down to form a report. Few people will match and combine these sections with each other, such as frying a dish, forming the prototype of product opportunities. Some people even have product ideas and use favorable materials from all aspects of market analysis to package the results.

1.  Product opportunity is the result of analyzing the market, competitive products and users.

Extensive market analysis includes macro-environmental analysis, micro-competitive product analysis and user demand analysis. These three aspects are the source of product opportunity and the prerequisites for the feasibility of product opportunities. Therefore, after analysis of the market, competing products, and users, market and product opportunities can be inferred, or the rationality of some opportunity ideas can be verified. Among them, market, competing products, and user analysis are all objective analysis, while market opportunities are subjective judgments that reflect certain insights.

The reality is that many enterprises often use seemingly objective market analysis data for packaging and persuasion due to resource competition, financing needs, or catering to the boss.  

 The reality is that many companies often use seemingly objective market analysis data to package persuasion due to competition for resources, financing needs, or catering to bosses. The purpose is not pure, which will naturally change the taste of professional analysis. Many packaging methods, such as using false data, one-sided information, weakly related data, etc., to achieve intentional corroboration. As a result, many people forget the original role of market analysis, and it is difficult to identify an objective and professional market analysis report.

In market analysis, macro environment analysis and competitive product analysis are often put in front of all materials to pave the way for the situation, then to user research and analysis, pave the way for demand, and finally comprehensively analyze the advantages and disadvantages of all parties to obtain product opportunities.

A good market analysis is like an ingenious jigsaw puzzle that helps each other, reveal the essence of the market from all dimensions, and then predicts market opportunities.
  • In such a puzzle, macro-environmental analysis is like spreading out the territory of this market, and we can see the boundaries of the territory and the trend of development;
  • Competitive product analysis is like showing the division of forces in this territory and the advantages and disadvantages of the enemy;
  • User analysis is like introducing the temperament and activity habits of the "lamb" in this territory;
  • Product opportunities are derived from this, and possible effective action plans to set foot in this field and raise lambs in captivity.
This is actually like a military combat analysis. It is not a matter of first thinking about which piece of meat to eat, and then using market analysis to persuade or lure others into action. It is a very rigorous, objective and comprehensive analysis, and then relying on a deep grasp of the situation, deduced the best combat route.

2. User research should reflect the cause and effect of market analysis and competitive product analysis

The user research work of many companies includes market analysis and competitive product analysis, which enables user researchers to have a deeper understanding of market changes and product conditions in addition to the user's perspective. With the subdivision of job types, user research positions are increasingly being stripped of this work.

When the type of work is segmented more carefully, the good thing is that it can make the professionalism of the type of work more in-depth. A master of user research and a master of competitive product analysis must be very different. The bad thing is that the two posts will have less understanding of each other's work output value, or even do not understand each other.

Just like the metaphor of the overall market analysis above, if it is a military combat analysis, the market environment analysis is an illustration of the territory and development speed, which is the soil of the user-generated environment. Just like the epidemic will lead to a boom in the E-commerce industry, the Ukraine crisis will also create a crisis in the oil industry. Market environment analysis is to judge whether the industry has market vitality.

User research requires assumptions. The more targeted and truthful assumptions are, the more focused the user research will be, and the more direct and effective conclusions can be drawn. The source of this hypothesis is not only the keen discovery of past users by user researchers, but also the discovery of market analysis and competitive product analysis to a large extent. Because of the existence of the market and the existence of competing products, there is the existence of user needs, and the existence of user types, and the existence of user pain points.

Market analysis can help to understand the status quo and stage of market development, so as to predict the changes and derivatives of user needs. Competitive product analysis can help to understand competitors' strategies in terms of products, channels, and marketing, so as to infer the user characteristics of competing products and the degree to which they meet user needs. In this way, in the process of user research, we can analyze from a valuable perspective and conduct research in a focused manner.

Each user research is also a selection process. The research purpose, research object and research content need to be screened according to the necessity. One study is often impossible to solve all problems, but enterprises expect to solve problems as much as possible. Therefore, it tests the ability of researchers to plan and control research topics.

Those who are good at using market analysis and competitive product analysis research conclusions will better understand how to use user research to solve problems that cannot be solved by market analysis and competitive product analysis.
In practical work, whether user research is more integrated with competitive product analysis, or competitive product analysis is more integrated with user research, or are eventually absorbed by product managers, in addition to the requirements of organizational system, there is also an implied competition of analysis ability of various companies. At least, researchers should not only see their own responsibilities.
Therefore, the requirement for the horizontal expansion ability of T-shaped research talents is actually the absorption of the value of the surrounding types of work. User thinking must integrate market thinking, business thinking, and product thinking. A good researcher or entrepreneur must be a combination of these thinking.
As for how to derive product opportunities, or how to review your own products, there are many types of opportunity models in analysis, and these models are actually analytical thinking models. What kind of model is applied to different industries is actually different, not just applying the SWOT, pyramid, and five elements of user experience.
How to use accurate analytical thinking to gain an accurate insight into a market is the strength of a research analyst.

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