The latest buzzword in the digital world, competitive intelligence, is enabling businesses to expedite their market growth. Competitive intelligence is now being viewed as a crucial element when building business strategies. Understanding the competitor’s motivations and behaviors help build stronger product development, pricing, and brand positioning strategies. The key is to identify challenges and acknowledge the white spaces to build a strategy that creates a difference.
Building a strategy without CI is like planning a product launch with promotions. As per data shared by the Crayon 2020 State of Competitive Intelligence Report, 94% of businesses are investing in competitive intelligence.
But why are businesses spending so much to apply competitive intelligence in their business strategies?
To understand why competitive intelligence is creating quite the stir, let’s dive in.
Definition: What Is Competitive Intelligence?
The information-gathering and analysis method is integral to every successful business strategy. It helps a company to understand where it stands within it’s market ecosystem, make data-driven decisions, and determine competitive gaps to avoid unprofitable operations. This information-gathering and analysis method is known as competitive intelligence or corporate Intelligence.
Competitive intelligence is the ability to gather, analyze, and use data collected on competitors, customers, and other market factors contributing to a business’s advantage. Competitive intelligence analyzes the markets and competitor activities to provide actionable intelligence. Ultimately, the goal of CI is to provide the administration with valuable insights to reinforce informed business decisions.
Competitive intelligence can encompass anything and everything concerning the competitive landscape – products, market, supply chain, etc. It acts as a constant monitoring system of force that enhances the ability to build and maintain a competitive edge.
How does Competitive intelligence work?
Competitive intelligence involves the collection of data ethically from published and unpublished sources, including:
- Online searches like competitor’s websites, job postings, and social media platforms
- Press releases
- Organic stream of data collection like calling prospective customers
- Collection of data through industry events, conferences, and trade shows
Competitive intelligence goes beyond the available in-house data. The key to carrying out effective analysis is to look outside the company and at all external sources. This enables businesses to paint a detailed picture of the overall competitor strategies, anticipating possible threats and possibilities before they arise.
Competitive intelligence acts as a bridge between information and action, enabling organizations to:
- Monitor industry trends, consumer expectations, emerging technologies, and track changes to position themselves better
- Predict the competitors’ next moves and counter them with qualitative and quantitative data
- Identify future threats that may arise in the industry
- Discover new opportunities for business growth
- Improve sales pitches to win close more deals
- Benchmark themselves to identify the gaps and build a new plan of action for improvement
- Take strategic business decisions, armed with actionable insights
- Enhance market defense capabilities
Conducting regular CI helps businesses stay ahead of the game, allowing them to keep on top of industry trends and formulate better business practices. When utilized to its full potential, CI equips businesses with the most accurate course of action to perform their fundamental functions.
Importance of Competitive Intelligence and Analysis for an Organization
With the changing market and trends, businesses need to stay updated to stay ahead of their competitors. A successful business can’t be built on guesses and assumptions. With competitive intelligence, businesses can understand their competitors’ behaviors and actions.
Knowing this attitude and objectives enable enterprises to shape their product development, pricing, and brand positioning. The basis of a company’s marketing strategy, competitive intelligence compiles and analyzes data about the industry trends, environment, and rivals.
CI helps to:
- identify and analyze industry trends to determine their future moves;
- obtain knowledge and insights into customer expectations, trends, and technologies;
- analyze their strengths and weaknesses;
- allocate resources;
- improve ROI;
- boost the process of product development and launch;
- predict the actions of their competitors;
- make the right business decisions.
How can Competitive Intelligence Benefit Your Business Performance?
At the very core, competitive intelligence is information. It is industry-specialized data about the competitors and their marketing strategies. This actionable information offers businesses the critical insight to boost their marketing performance. Competitive intelligence provides details on what you, as a business, should be doing to make the marketing operations more efficient.
Let’s explore the great benefits of utilizing competitive intelligence while building business marketing strategies:
Capture Competitive Insights
Competitive intelligence creates evaluative data sets, thus offering insights into heightened competitive business activities. This allows businesses to picture themselves with a clearer vision and understand what they’re doing successfully or what’s keeping them behind.
Better Decision Making
With CI, businesses can study their strengths and capability gaps and re-prioritize their investments and efforts.
Improve product and service Speeds-to-Market
Speed-to-market is the time required by a business to examine and understand how their product or service moves from the initial ideation to public sales. With CI, companies can enhance their product/service speed and market efficiently by using the data gathered from their intensive research.
Track Industry Trends
Competitive intelligence navigates businesses through the shifts they can make to improve their future strategies. It also provides external market information offering predictive insights into the emerging market trends.
Predict Competitors’ Behaviors
With the data obtained from competitive intelligence, businesses can better predict their competitor’s attitudes across business domains and plan to beat them effectively.
Determine Strategic Priorities
Competitive intelligence presents data-backed actions and possibilities for businesses. It helps in illustrating how that opportunity can benefit their strategic preferences and provides objective defenses for future business investments.
Competitive intelligence assists in removing all the guesswork from marketing strategy planning and building effective plans backed with accurate insight.
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Is CI the future of Market Research & Data Management?
Competitive intelligence is not vital just because of the competitive advantage it offers. With digital technologies rapidly making the market competitive and agile, competitive intelligence is becoming a tool to plan an affront strategy for the competitors and defend oneself from them. Here are a few reasons why the implementation of CI is likely to become a standard practice for businesses:
- With improved business activities, the expectations of consumers are also increasing. Customers now expect faster delivery of their products and services with quicker communication. CI is needed for providing such efficient customer service.
- Organizations have banks of data on their hand but with no time to identify which is relevant. With CI, businesses can organize and focus on relevant information. But not only helps to prevent information overload but also maintains the firm’s digital sanity.
- Competition is evolving globally. Companies now have the means to market their products without geographical restrictions. This implies that businesses need to be proactive in defending their market share.
Competitive intelligence compiles actionable information collected efficiently and ethically. Businesses are successfully employing competitive intelligence to cultivate a detailed portrait of the marketplace to respond to challenges and problems.
- Competitive intelligence is the ability to gather and use data on factors that affect a company’s competitive advantage.
- Organizations scrutinize the collected data to develop effective and efficient business practices.
- Competitive intelligence can be categorized as myopic-oriented, tactical intelligence that helps build focused strategic solutions.
- CI streamlines the data gathering process, making it more convenient for businesses.
Competitive Intelligence: For the Win
We live in a highly competitive environment, where businesses want a competitive edge. Competitive intelligence is a requisite if businesses wish to survive in this age of information.
Competitive intelligence plays an integral role in ensuring a company’s success. It helps market leaders catch a glimpse of trends over the horizon and establish their business strategy on these data-backed predictions.
Businesses should not consider CI as some nice-to-have or complementary aspect to their business strategy. Instead, competitive intelligence should form the very basis of any marketing strategy. Backed with accurate insights, businesses can distinguish themselves from their competitors and align better with their buyer’s requirements and expectations.
Competitive intelligence is meaningless if implemented occasionally. This differentiation process offers a far greater chance of winning. And if given the probability of going down the wrong road when building an effective business strategy.
The only deciding factor in determining the success of your business is by staying ahead of time with what your competitor is going to implement. Having a strategic response ready is imperative to stick to that winning goal. Being caught by surprise by your competitor’s strategy can be fatal.
S.G. Analytics is your one-stop solution for all Competitive Intelligence Services. Contact us today to make informed and critical data-driven decisions that will enable you to achieve breakthrough performance.