In previous posts, we have discussed the importance of positioning and market research in crafting a viable commercial strategy. In this blog, we will review an essential component of establishing a commercial foothold and verifying market opportunity: completion of a competitive and gap assessment. These assessments are used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of existing solutions that are in direct competition with your product. The results of the competitive and gap assessment are used to identify market opportunities for your product, which are then evaluated for commercial viability and used to guide your commercial team.
Though the assessments may seem straightforward, evaluating competition in the biotechnology space requires experience, commercial expertise, scientific competence, and a deep understanding of the commercial influences at play.
Where to Start: Evaluating Direct Market Competition
Biotechnology products are complex in science and often in concept. The evaluation of scientific merit takes longer and more expertise than in other industries.
To simplify this process, break the direct market competition into three parts:
Evaluate the Market:
- What are the potential market segments and applications?
- What technologies dominate the market?
- Who are the existing competitors in the market?
- Who has ownership of which market segments?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Evaluate the Technology:
In order to accurately evaluate biotechnologies and their place in the market, it is imperative to understand the scientific foundation of the product and its competitors. Our experts execute technical evaluations and translate the resulting insights to commercial guidance designed to maximize market opportunity. UBC’s PhD level scientists and sales and marketing experts execute literature reviews and evaluation of product proof points from both you and your competitors, positioning your product effectively.
As part of the product evaluation, the following questions are answered:
- Is your solution cost effective?
- What are the proof statements from your competitors? How strong are they? How do yours compare?
- What is the competitive advantage of your product?
- What data do you need to generate to be stronger or differentiated from the competition?
- What are the weaknesses of the products currently on the market? How important are these weaknesses to the market?
- How does your product address the competitor weakness? How is it represented in your proof statements?
- What are the top 5 gaps that this technology can solve that the competition can’t solve?
Determine Market Value:
Remember, not all markets are created equal. To determine the commercial strategy with the most opportunity, the identified market segments are evaluated using market assessments and literature reviews. We begin by answering the following questions:
- Is the market growing?
- Is there a need for the technology?
- What is the current state of the pain point of the target market?
- Are there solutions you are unaware of?
From the Experts:
The competitive and gap assessment is a comprehensive report on the existing market, technology, and competition surrounding your product. The assessments facilitate the examination of scientific and commercial merits of a commercial strategy before time and resources are allocated to external efforts, which saves biotechnology companies the money they need to properly execute and maximize ROI. Our experts have offered some advice to up and coming companies who are new to these assessments:
Avoid Head to Head Competition:
“If you can only do everything that an existing technology can accomplish, why would a customer take a risk on a new technology brought forward by a younger company?”
Avoid Areas of the Market Where Companies Already Have a Stronghold:
“Incumbent technologies must at least rival the technological strength of current solutions, but also address a weakness of that solution in a high value market.”
Demonstrate that Your Product Solves an Existing Customer Pain Point:
“Peer reviewed publications identify workflow, application, or product pain points and your competitive advantage to support technological claims.”
“It is crucial for companies to demonstrate knowledge of scientific experiments and solves for customer roadblocks through established customer support, reliable timelines, and low cost. Ensure that your team has mapped out a path of experiments to help customers achieve their desired endpoint in a timely and cost effective manner.”
Once direct competition has been evaluated, we must account for indirect competition in the market, as well. To learn more about indirect competition and the steps following the competitive and gap assessment, visit our voice of customer guide.