I can't find any reasons to support the use of Competitive Analysis in building an efficient persona. User Persona essentially talks about different profiles of user and their goal, frustrations, motivations etc. How are the competitor's activities contextual to the user we are looking at?
I can't find any reason why Competitive Analysis is required to build an efficient persona.
In case it matters I don't use competitive analysis when creating User Personas but I value it when it exists. Often times UX teams are paired with marketing teams and we have joined personas.
So you, as a UX person, may focus on one aspect of his user journey but the marketing and other teams will include others concerns. Marketing may bring in that this user cares about the backstory of the clothing designers. For instance
- Gay Man
- Race: N/A
- Age: Mid-20s to late 30s
- Comfortable as a trendsetter. Wants to be recognized as a trendsetter.
- Brand whore.
You may add that he wants
- numerous pictures and
- willing to read more in depth descriptions and
- will often review what's in his shopping cart and
- wants to be able to save things for later.
Business (traffic) may add that he wants next day delivery.
Business (returns) may add that he's a serial returner.
All these bits of information play a role in his persona.
Why would you want to add a competitive analysis? It's one more part of the customers backstory; one more way to understand how he perceives your brand and your policies. If he likes your store but hates your return policy that's an important thing to know.
Competitive analysis is often used to identify the point(s) of difference between your own products/service as compared to your competitors.
As a result, if there are significant points of difference, one may assume that these address (or appeal to) different user needs/wants. This can further help identify specific mental models or user behaviours, which can help add data points and enrich the personas that you develop as part of your research.
Having said that, just because there are significant differences, it doesn't necessarily mean that they affect the choices of users. The reverse is also true in that the competitor analysis may not reveal any significant differences but in fact are unable to uncover factors or characteristics of different user types/groups/profiles.
In summary, I think competitor analysis provides an additional set of information, and it is up to the designer to assess the value that the information provides when creating personas.