With the competitive market of today and every industry increasing, many companies invest in market intelligence research to give them that edge. It is an ongoing process referred to as competitive intelligence. But what is it? Get all the insight here with a short version to decide how important it is for your business.
Competitive Intelligence (CI): What is it?
Competitive intelligence or competitor intelligence is a process in which you gather and analyze information about your industry, business environment, products/services, and competitors. The goal is to help direct your future strategies in the market.
CI is critical to building a successful strategy to give you the edge over other businesses. The business environment is competitive, and quality research using market intelligence can help your business thrive.
A fact is that CI is used by large and small businesses to help get them ahead of their competitors. With an indication of your competitive landscape, it gives you an advantage over those who need to keep up with the latest trends in the market.
Gathering information and analyzing processes helps you develop strategies to identify your competitive gaps and give you a complete competitive analysis picture.
How to Gather The Best Competitive Intelligence
Not all companies can invest in competitive intelligence professionals when gathering CI information. Hence, they need to collect the information in-house. Luckily, market research tools are available with online searches and other data-gathering techniques. You can even talk to your employees and customers. Here are a few places where you can find a competitive edge.
- You can get insights from company websites to see their target audience, product pricing, product/service benefits, etc.
- You can find press releases stating what new products companies produce and more.
- Another great place to find CI information is social media postings on companies sharing information about their products and services.
- Furthermore, you can look at online job postings and review your sales process to understand how sales teams work.
- View user groups on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn or at company review sites.
- Lastly, you can invest in an SEO or analytics tool to understand your competitors’ marketing strategies.
- You can also talk to people to gather information inside and outside your firm.
Still, you must remain ethical throughout the process and stay within the rules. For example, you should refrain from outright lying or misleading anyone during competitive intelligence research. So, if you have the funds, we recommend hiring a professional competitive intelligence agency to help.
Who Can Provide You With Helpful CI Information
You can talk to your sales team to learn information about the competition when they call on prospects and customers. Alternatively, you can send your employees to industry conferences to share insights into the market. Then you have vendors dealing in your industry or even customers who can share information inadvertently or intentionally.
Now, you know how crucial competitive intelligence research is for your business. But the main thing is to gather on that second word, “intelligence.” You may collect all the information you need, but it needs to be analyzed carefully and thoughtfully. Then, the available data can help improve your current marketing position to strategize the best way forward.