In most businesses, the need to know what your competitors are doing is a given. In the social gaming space, however, competitive intelligence (CI) is either an afterthought or not even considered critical. That thinking at best leads to a sub-optimal product and at worst facilitates losing your market to another product.
Why Competitive Intelligence is important
Good competitive intelligence is invaluable to all companies, including those in the mobile and casino gaming spaces.
- CI shows you the minimum quality level acceptable for your game. In the mobile space, most users will try multiple applications and then settle on one, a winner take all environment, though in casino they may play two or three. Thus, your potential customers are also playing your competitors’ products and deciding which one to invest their time in the future. If your game is clearly inferior, weaker graphics, slower tech, etc., you have lost.
- Your competitors are not stupid and you should learn from them. Internally, they are looking at the same opportunities and problems you are trying to tackle. By understanding features and initiatives they are taking to improve, they can inspire you on ways to manage the situation. Not that you want to copy everything they are doing, but understand how they are approach problems and if you have a different approach make sure your solution is better before deploying it.
- You can learn from their mistakes. It is great to make mistakes because it means you are trying unique initiatives; it is not great to repeat mistakes as that has no value. What is even better is if somebody else makes the mistake to learn from them without having the cost.
- You ensure you are value competitive. A car company would not never release a new model without understanding how its price and features compare with other cars. It would base the price on the competitive feature set, including branding, and then price their car so it is a reasonable option for consumers. Very few people will purchase an auto when they can get a comparable one for half the price.In the game space, companies mistakenly believe users are price inelastic. Many players, particularly those likely to monetize, understand what they are spending money for and how much they will get for it. The value is often in play time (e.g., I will spend $20 in a bingo app to play an extra hour). If the player feels your game is much more expensive than comparable games, they are less likely to spend in your app and will shift their spending to competitors (and you will see lower revenue from higher prices).