Competitive intelligence is the systematic, legal research and analysis of competitors and competitive industry dynamics – market data and industry activity (customers, market strategy, broader market context, etc.) – for market advantage. Use competitive intelligence to enhance your own market strategy.
Competitive intelligence is appropriate in every phase of market conditions. The time is always “right” to position your firm for success. When economic conditions are strong, use market research and competitive intelligence to develop your long-term market strategy. During economic downturns; it’s tempting to not pay for “extras” like market research or competitive intelligence (“we can’t afford it right now”). Actually, what you can’t afford during economic downturns is to give up hard-to-keep market share due to not having recently developed or not continuing to develop competitive insights – thus giving up the ability to position your firm competitively.
Competitive Intelligence: Primary Research
Interviews with knowledgeable industry stakeholders, quarterly investor calls, etc.
Competitive Intelligence: Secondary Research
Public competitor data (quarterly investor reports, competitor websites, etc.), professional databases (i.e. corporate librarians!), employee recruitment assessments (LinkedIn, job boards, etc.), trade shows, media searches, social media assessments, etc.
Competitive Intelligence: Actionable Analysis
Research becomes useful when evaluated for what it means to your bottom line.
As the author of Competitive Intelligence Workbook (2001), I literally “wrote the book” on how to pull together competitor data to interpret what the data means competitively.
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