Competitive intelligence is often neglected. Although executives confirm that gathering, analyzing, consolidating and sharing intelligence about sweet spot customers, competitors, strategic partners supports them in strategic decision making.
What is competitive intelligence?
For companies to gain situational awareness, they look at their market from different angles. They collect market information and listen to opinions from key stakeholders. Doing this regularly provides a continuous stream of fresh insights into what drives the market. Additionally, it allows to notice and eventually better understand the tactics implemented by key competitors.
Competitive analysis is more than just collecting information about stakeholders and technological developments. It is a continuous assessment of competitive strengths and advantages. It provides the strategic context to identify and act upon business opportunities as well as threats. The purpose of competitive intelligence is to stand out of the crowd and emerge as the best choice for your target audience.
How competitive intelligence works
Competitive Intelligence is a deep-diving exercise. It looks beyond product, price, and promotion. Companies need an open mindset to avoid blind spots. Just comparing product features limits their view and understanding of the market.
Building Competitive Intelligence drives organizations to analyze competitors’ business strategy and the markets in which they operate. They move beyond direct competitors, map the value chain and analyze the enabling network. They analyze the digital footprint, the go-to-market and communication strategy of their key players in their business landscape.
Efficient and ethical competitive intelligence requires
- collecting information about relevant companies in your market
- tapping into a wide range of sources in an efficient and ethical way
- analyzing this information to assess competitive strengths and weaknesses
- understanding opportunities to leverage the competitive strengths
- analysing the probability of threats and sketching scenarios to counter competitive pressure
- prioritizing concrete actions to strengthen the competitive positioning in line with business strategy
- sharing action plan and underlying analyzis to ensure collective action
Leveraging Competitive Intelligence is a continuous process. Market reports are great literature, occasional market surveys are valuable when validating intended decisions. However, they don’t provide an ongoing strategic basis for competitive intelligence. Tools as DataScouts(tm) are built to provide continuous monitoring of the market. They automate the data collection and aggregation, provide alerts and early signals of emerging technologies and market trends.
Competitive intelligence within your organization
Competitive intelligence activities may differ substantially between individual companies. There is not one size fits all. The maturity of the company, the uniqueness of the product or service, the internal processes define the best approach to build and leverage market and competitive insights.
- Early stage startups aim to disrupt their industry and work hard to bring a unique, innovative product or service to market. Speed is the name of the game.
- Selling commodities requires large scale operations in order to drive cost down.
- In fast-evolving markets, the margin for errors and setbacks is decreasing, missing the train might become very expensive.
- When economy is slowing down and politics get involved, companies are facing external barriers to their business growth.
Within every organization, competitive intelligence means different things for different people and departments. To become an asset to small and larger enterprises, Competitive Intelligence needs to tap into the collective intelligence of an organisation.
The ultimate goal of competitive information is to make better-informed decisions at every level of the organization, by discovering risks and opportunities as early as possible.
Organizations that embrace Competitive Intelligence as a core competence take strategic decisions more quickly and effectively. Detailed knowledge and insights into the dynamics of their market, allow them to continuously re-assess their market position and take action in due time. Competitive intelligence shortens response time to strategic challenges as it provides a framework for consistent decision-making.