Case Study: Competitor analysis of a fast-growing adjacent segment of assessments in United States higher education

May 12, 2017

Client Situation:

While working with a longtime client in global education services, we were tasked with profiling top competitors in a fast-growing segment of assessments for higher education in the United States. Since the specific category of assessments fell outside of our client’s core business areas, little was known internally about this adjacent market segment other than a few competitor names and products. Obtaining more information for our client’s research team on key market participants, such as their product offerings, market presence and recent events, was the first step for it to begin evaluating any potential opportunities in this space.


We were provided with a short list of a few products of interest and some key questions to answer, such as detailing product feature sets, identifying market traction with available metrics, analyzing their respective marketing positioning and obtaining pricing or distribution information. The methodology we employed for these competitor analyses involved using a combination of targeted secondary research utilizing public sources such as marketing materials, press releases and news articles and also proprietary commercial research databases.

Taking the information available from competitor marketing materials painted a recognizable picture of each competitor assessment, but it was often necessary to fill in the intelligence gaps through primary research with competitor firms and their customer institutions. The findings presented in the final deliverables were informed by research from a variety of sources, all of which were taken into consideration during our analysis process, contributing to our conclusions on the key competitors and their products in this nascent higher education market space. Additionally, the appendices of each competitor profile provided a collection of important metrics and data as well as an organized list of sources for hassle-free sharing of the information throughout the organization.


In addressing our client’s key research objectives for different competitors using a standardized methodology, we were able to put  a quick means of comparison between a number of competitor products all in one place. This benchmarking exercise revealed information in important dimensions such as pricing and market traction. The final deliverables allowed the research team at our client organization to easily make sense of this nascent but growing market segment with minimal need for further research, editing or analysis, which allowed them evaluate potential opportunities with counterparts across the organization.




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