Competitive intelligence is a form of analysis that helps companies or other organizations make strategic decisions. It involves collecting and interpreting information about a company’s competitors to help them identify strengths and weaknesses, avoid threats, and gain an advantage over rivals. This definition generally includes research on the competitor’s industry, products, management structure, marketing strategy, tactics, and other critical factors to measure performance against competitors. It is vital when a company has limited access to the market or when direct competition is absent from the market.
Competitive Intelligence Tools Used By Leading Companies:
A company’s intelligence is built on employee interactions, competitor analysis, and industry research. The key elements that companies use to form a intelligence strategy are:
1. Employee interactions
A company’s employees can provide a wealth of information about its competitors. Customer service representatives may be able to give detailed accounts about a competitor’s products or services and pricing and delivery conditions. Information security professionals can supply data on how a competitor’s network is configured and how they protect it. Technology professionals can provide information on the technical performance of competitors’ products or services.
2. Industry research
Many leading companies have developed in-house capabilities to assist them in this intelligence research. It allows them to create detailed reports on the market, competitors, and established and new markets. They can regularly review published materials that shed light on their industry while using databases and tools to track developments in the industry. They may also conduct surveys and polls to get market feedback and gauge public sentiment on specific products and services.
3. Competitor analysis
This element of a company’s intelligence strategy concentrates on current and future threats. They also use this information to determine a competitor’s brand strength, pricing, distribution channels, marketing tactics, customer loyalty, target market, product/service quality and reliability, patent issues, and legal affairs. Analyzing these factors can determine which strategies will help them succeed while avoiding pitfalls that could put them out of business.
4. Key players
Its intelligence is used to identify key players that directly influence the industry. Companies may use this information to establish strategic relationships and develop corporate alliances, or they may use it to identify new competitors that could quickly take market share from them.
A company’s intelligence activity should include monitoring technological changes. If a company doesn’t follow the technological trends, it will not be able to operate in the market, can be taken over by others, and eventually will collapse. Technology is key to a company’s competitive intelligence strategy, but it must also have a plan for leveraging technology as part of its competitive intelligence.
Research and insights are critical for companies’ long-term goals but may also involve risks of the competition stealing the company’s valuable information to compete with them in the future. By understanding a competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, the company can exploit these vulnerabilities while avoiding weaknesses. Some of the steps that companies use to gather information on competitors include:
Competitive intelligence is collecting, organizing, and interpreting information used to make business decisions. Business leaders need strategic insight into what’s happening in their industry and ongoing knowledge about how their competition is currently performing. Competitive intelligence can help them stay ahead of the curve, maximize their opportunities, reduce risk, and build a stronger and more profitable business.