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What Product Category Analysis Is & Why It's Important

Friday, December 01, 2023

What Product Category Analysis Is & Why It's Important

Product Category Analysis is often talked a lot about when it comes to research. Now as you all know, research is a crucial piece to do because that is where most of your offer, marketing, and copywriting comes from.

But most still do not know what Product category Analysis is…so let’s tackle that first, and then I’ll show you why it’s important.

Product category analysis is an essential aspect of market research and strategic marketing, focusing on examining a specific category of products in the market. It involves analyzing various elements related to the products within a category to understand the market dynamics, competition, consumer preferences, and trends. This analysis is crucial for businesses to make informed decisions regarding product development, marketing strategies, and market positioning.

The Key Aspects You Look For When Doing a Product Category Analysis

The Key Aspects You Look For When Doing a Product Category Analysis

Market Segmentation: This is where you divide and conquer. You can't target everyone and expect to win. You need to carve out your niche. Who are your customers? What are their pain points? What makes them tick? Segment your market, and you tailor your firepower exactly where it needs to go. It's like a sniper – precise, effective, no wasted effort.

Competitive Analysis: Knowledge is power, and nowhere is this truer than in understanding your competition. What are their strengths? Their weaknesses? What are they offering, and how can you do it better? This isn't about copying them; it's about outsmarting them. It's a chess game, and you need to be thinking three moves ahead.

Consumer Trends and Preferences: The market is a living, breathing thing. It changes, it evolves, and so do your customers. What are the latest trends? What's falling out of favor? Your job is to be a trendspotter, to anticipate what your customers want before they even know they want it. Stay ahead of the curve, and you'll lead the pack.

Pricing Strategies: This is where the rubber meets the road. Get your pricing wrong, and it's game over. It's not just about covering costs; it's about understanding the perceived value of your product. Price too high, and you'll scare them away. Too low, and you're undervaluing what you offer. Find that sweet spot, and you'll hit gold.

Sales and Distribution Channels: You've got to meet your customers where they are. Are they shopping online? Browsing in stores? Direct sales? Each channel has its nuances, its strategies. You need to be present, be impactful wherever your customers are. Miss a channel, and you're leaving money on the table.

Regulatory Environment: This is the minefield you need to navigate. Regulations can be a headache, but they can also be a weapon. Understand the legal landscape better than anyone else, and you can use it to your advantage. Compliance isn’t just a necessity; it’s a strategy.

Technological Advancements: We're in a technological arms race, and you need to be armed to the teeth. Whether it's production, marketing, or sales, technology is your ally. Embrace it, leverage it, and use it to outpace your competition. Stand still technologically, and you might as well be moving backwards.

Product Lifecycle: Every product has its journey – introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Knowing where your product stands in this cycle is critical. Are you pushing a rising star or flogging a dead horse? Your strategies will vary dramatically depending on where you are in this cycle.

Performance Metrics: In business, what gets measured gets done. Sales volume, market share, profit margins – these aren't just numbers on a spreadsheet; they're the vital signs of your business. They tell you where you're winning, where you're bleeding, and what needs fixing.

SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats – this is your battle plan. Know your strengths and play to them. Recognize your weaknesses and shore them up. Spot the opportunities and seize them. Identify the threats and neutralize them. This is the blueprint of your strategic war room.

Examples Of Product Category Analysis

Examples Of Product Category Analysis
  • Smartphone Market - Take a look at smartphones. You've got budget phones, mid-range phones, and those high-end gadgets that cost as much as a small car. Each segment targets a different consumer. Budget phones aren't just about cutting costs; they're about meeting the needs of a price-sensitive segment that still wants technology at their fingertips. The high-end phones? They're not just selling a phone; they're selling status, cutting-edge technology, a lifestyle. Understand your segment, and you own it. That’s called Market Segmentation, which is one of the elements we touched on above.
  • Fast Food Chains -Oh by the way, I think McDonald’s has THE best process out of all of them, and it’s not because of the food.

    Generally speaking, every fast food chain we might name has a better burger than McDonald's, and nobody ever beats ‘em. How come? Because if you go to any of those other places, their process sucks. There's chaos at rush hour. They've never fixed it. Burger King's been through every advertising agency on the planet at least four times. They keep trying to fix their problem with advertising.

    They have a process problem. Nobody can get the food out fast enough and put the money in the register fast enough at rush hour; they're running into each other. The guy getting a milkshake is trampling over the guy getting the fries. Whereas in McDonald's - boom, in and out. Right and consistent. All across the country. Great process. You've got McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy’s. Each one is trying to outdo the others with a signature product – Big Mac, Whopper, Dave's Single. They're constantly analyzing each other, tweaking their recipes, their prices, their marketing. It's a burger war out there, and the winner knows their enemy better than they know themselves.

    This is your competitive analysis. Everyone’s got a special doohickey or so they say. When doing your research, look at the top guys and what products they have, which are currently best sellers. You can model them, do not copy them, but model them. Make them better. Now I don’t recommend being the cheapest, because It’s a race to the bottom, but I would make it more expensive than their products. Use my Magnetic Marketing System to learn how you can charge more for your product.

  • ​Look at the Airline Industry. You've got economy, business, and first-class. Each offers a different experience at a different price point. The pricing isn’t random; it's carefully calibrated to match what each segment is willing to pay for the value they perceive. Get this balance right, and you're flying high. So your pricing strategy matters. And if you want to go deeper on price strategy, we hosted an event just on price strategy called, Mastering Profitability in the new economy, or you can buy my book No B.S. Price Strategy: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoner Guide to Profits, Power, and Prosperity.
  • Sales and Distribution Channels: Fashion retailers are a great example here. Some focus on brick-and-mortar stores, others on online sales, and many do both. The key is understanding where your customers prefer to shop and tailoring your strategy accordingly. Miss out on online retail, and you might as well be living in the stone age.
  • ​Regulatory Environment: The pharmaceutical industry is a textbook case. Navigating regulations here is not just crucial; it's a matter of survival. Those who understand and leverage these regulations can innovate faster and get their products to market legally and more efficiently.
  • Technological Advancements: Electric cars, anyone? The automotive industry's shift towards electric vehicles is a prime example of leveraging technology. Companies like Tesla didn’t just jump on a trend; they anticipated it, led it, and now they're at the forefront of a vehicular revolution.
  • Product Life-cycle: Video game consoles go through clear life cycles. Companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo launch a new console, build up its market, then gradually phase it out as they prepare for the next big thing. Timing is everything here. Move too early or too late, and you've got a disaster on your hands.
Product Life-cycle

8. Performance Metrics: E-commerce platforms thrive on metrics. They track clicks, conversions, cart abandonments, customer lifetime value – you name it. This isn’t just data; it's the pulse of their business, telling them what works, what doesn't, and where to go next.

9. SWOT Analysis: Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ constantly perform SWOT analysis. They're always assessing their strengths (like original content), weaknesses (like higher subscription costs), opportunities (like expanding into new markets), and threats (like new competitors entering the market). This isn't just planning; it's survival.

Why Product Category Analysis is Critical

The main reason why you do a Product Category Analysis is because you see who's buying, what they're buying, and why. Without this, you're just guessing, and guesswork is not a strategy. Think about finding those gaps in the market. That's where the gold is buried. It’s like finding gold needles in a haystack. Product category analysis is your treasure map. It shows you where to dig. Miss this, and you're leaving money on the table.

If you're not keeping pace with trends, you're not just standing still, you're sinking.

Product category analysis keeps you nimble, keeps you ahead. Remember, in the race of business, it's not just about speed; it's about direction.

Differentiation – this is your sword in the battle of business. In a world where everyone is shouting, you need to make sure your voice is heard and remembered.

Understanding your category helps you craft your unique pitch. Your USP matters more than you think, a unique selling proposition, which dates to the 1950’s and, of course, I have taught for nearly 40 years. In fact, you should answer this question, “why should our customers buy from us over anyone else?”, because It's not about yelling louder; it's about speaking smarter.

And then there's pricing. Get this wrong, and it's like building a house on quicksand. Your pricing strategy needs to be on point. Product category analysis gives you that precision. It's about finding that sweet spot where your value and the customer's willingness to pay meet.

So there you have it. If you have any questions about Product Category Analysis or how to do proper research you can always go to or join our NO B.S. Community by getting inside of our NO B.S. Newsletter.

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