Developing A Strategy For Competitive Intelligence


Competitive intelligence from is a fair way to compete in business through information analysis.

This process is most time-consuming when it comes to gathering intel. This can include everything from watching competitors’ websites, to following their announcements, or social media engagements. This data is then analyzed by the company’s analysts or managers.

Identifying the competitors

Identifying the competitors is one of the first steps in competitive intelligence. This is more than just a simple Internet search. It involves a detailed enough picture of the marketplace in order to anticipate future competitors and see past market disruptors. This information is collected in a structured, disciplined, and ethical manner from both published and unpublished sources.

In this context, “competitors” refer to all of the companies that are in direct competition with your company for both sales and customer retention. This includes both your direct and indirect competitors, those who are in the same industry as you but offer different products or services. The key is to develop a set of metrics that you will use to judge each competitor. This can include revenue, market shares, customer retention rates and product innovation.

Once you’ve identified the competitors, you will need to understand their business models and how they compete. This will allow you to identify threats and opportunities for your business as well as determine what strategies to use. For example, you may be able to speed up the development of new products by understanding what features customers want and don’t want in competing products. You can also reduce risk by learning from your competitors’ mistakes.

The key is to make sure that the competitive intelligence you are gathering is useful and provides actionable insights. This can be done by using market research and social media monitoring. You can also conduct interviews and surveys, analyze sales data, and analyze patents.

It is also important to remember that much of the competitive intelligence you need already exists in your own business – it might be buried in your CRM, in your employee’s heads, or in the scribbled notes in the drawers of your salespeople. It is important to learn to prioritize the information that is most relevant for your business.

Many companies hire third-party firms to gather competitive information in addition to their own resources. These firms have the expertise and resources to conduct a more comprehensive research than can be done by internal teams.

Identifying the opportunities

Competitive intelligence (CI) is a discipline that has grown in popularity as the world of business has changed. CI is focused on understanding competitors, and in a similar fashion to knowledge management (KM), it aims to identify, analyze, and share information that can be used to improve an organization’s performance.

CI goes beyond the simple cliche “know your enemy.” It’s an exercise in uncovering the finer points of competitor business plans, how these plans are impacted by a variety of events, and how those plans may change over time. It also provides insight into potential strategic partnerships and ways to leverage the strengths of competitors to amplify business initiatives.

The first step in identifying opportunities is to create a list of competitors. This list should include both your direct competitors and companies that are important to your market, but with whom you do not directly compete for customers. You’ll then want to identify competitors who need to be closely monitored and pose a high-potential threat.

This set of competitors should be a combination of direct competitors and the top five to 10 indirect competitors. You should also identify some aspirational rivals from which you can draw inspiration, and a few perceived ones such as those who come up in sales discovery.

Once you have identified your competitors, you should prioritize them according to their importance to you and the time you can devote to monitoring them. Having a clear prioritized list will help you stay focused and not get overwhelmed. It will also allow you to allocate resources for monitoring the competition and providing your stakeholders with the competitive information they need to make informed decision.

Identifying the threats

Using competitive intelligence, you can develop a picture of the marketplace that lets you anticipate potential threats and see past market disruptions. It involves gathering actionable data in a structured, ethical and disciplined manner from both published sources and unpublished ones. It also involves identifying the threats to your business and developing strategies for mitigating those threats.

While you can use market research tools to gather CI, many businesses use a hybrid approach to assemble the data they need to monitor their competitors. This includes online searches, monitoring social media and even talking to customers and employees. It is vital that you ensure the information collected and analyzed is both reliable and relevant, and also compliant with the laws and regulations in your jurisdiction.

A well-developed CI plan can help you gain a better understanding of your competition and provide insights into potential market expansion. It can help you discover gaps in the marketplace and develop products to fill those gaps. It can also tell you when your competition is preparing to enter a new market, so that you can be ready.

The final step in the CI process involves reporting your findings to departments so that they can take appropriate action to avoid or capitalize them. If you discover that your competitor is running an ad campaign that has a different message than yours, then you can adjust the customer outreach to match.

Historically, competitive intelligence has had a covert quality, stemming from human intelligence models that were used by government intelligence agencies. Instead of simply gathering data, spies would pose as new customers and speak to rivals in order to gather competitive pricing and product information. This type of competitive intelligence has now been largely replaced by tools that enable companies to gather more data quickly and efficiently, with the added advantage of ensuring compliance with laws and regulations. This data can then be analyzed and used to identify the threat, understand its impact on your business and develop a plan for responding to it.

Developing a strategy

Developing a competitive intelligence (CI) strategy can be tricky. Understanding the purpose is important. This can help keep the project on track, as it can ensure that you’re collecting and analyzing data that’s relevant to your company’s goals and objectives. In addition, having a strategy can help you present the information in a way that’s most effective for your audience. This can be done by framing the data to tell a story, or by focusing on key metrics that are most important for your audience.

Although many companies use competitive intelligence as a way to gather information on their competitors, it has a much broader scope. It can be used, for example, to identify opportunities for differentiation. This could be a great tool to help you stand out from the competition, and increase your sales and revenue. Additionally, competitive intelligence can be used in strategic planning to identify potential threats and opportunities that could impact the business.

CI is a process that is ongoing. It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your industry so that you can quickly respond to any changes in your business landscape. It may be necessary to conduct research on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, or perhaps even more frequently.

It’s also a good idea to have a variety of sources for your data, not just competitor websites and social media. Focus groups and surveys can be great sources of competitive intelligence. Attending conferences and forums, as well as seeking out information from industry professionals, is a great idea. Finally, it’s a good idea to join competitive intelligence professional associations to network with other CI professionals.

In this way, competitive intelligence can help you get a clear picture of your business landscape and make sound decisions that will improve your chances of success in the marketplace. By taking a proactive approach to your competitors, you’ll be better prepared for the challenges and opportunities that are sure to come.

Jill Buch

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