Competitive Intelligence is an essential component to developing a business strategy. You can research knowledge about the current state of your industry, your competitors, and their products. It provides insight into marketplace dynamics and challenges in a structured, disciplined, and ethical manner using published and non-published sources.
Competitive intelligence information can be found in a great many sources. i.e., company issued promotional materials, regulatory filings, employment ads, trade shows and conferences, trade associations, annual reports, local papers, Standard & Poor’s, Dun & Bradstreet, trade publications, and if it is a public company, check out a website called Edgar. Also check indexes, abstracts, directories, reference works, newsletters, and government publications, a company’s website and social media. These are all known as Secondary Sources, in other words, material already posted or published.
You can also use some Primary Sources such as personal interviews, telephone surveys, or mail surveys. For competitive intelligence to be effective, you must determine exactly what it is that you need to know. Once you have established objectives, you need to build in milestones that can be measured periodically to gauge the progress of your program.
You can learn a competitor’s earnings, revenue, product features, product performance, new technology, new markets, M&A activity, divestment, changes in marketing direction, new philosophy and market trends such as whether the market is declining, static, or dynamic.
Once you have all this information, you can compare one competitor to another and to your company to see how well you compare. Knowing what a competitor is doing in the marketplace and how well they are doing it, can affect your future decision-making. Using this information wisely and effectively, can make a big difference in your bottom line.
Franklin Cooper © 2019