Competitive intelligence is a form of research and marketing focused on analysing competitor information to drive informed decision making and business strategy – a necessity in today’s economic landscape. Data thus gathered provides insights on key aspects related to competitors, such as their brand presence and strategies. Availing of competitive intelligence services can help businesses determine future moves by leveraging information to gain competitive advantage.
Why implement a competitive intelligence strategy
Competitive intelligence programmes help companies gain intelligence about business workings and market trends.A recent survey by Crayon found that over 90% of businesses experienced qualitative and quantitative benefits after taking strategic decisions based on competitive intelligence insights.
Competitive intelligence proved indispensable for most of these companies since the strategy providers took an approach focused on growth and revenue. They built strategy models reflecting these objectives, most of which turned profits quickly.
How competitive intelligence boosts growth
Competitive intelligence can help companies determine their niche and unique offerings. Once they understand what they bring to the table, establishing a foothold in the market becomes much easier. Additionally, keeping track of the competition enables companies to ensure faster reactions, such as in adjusting pricing or introducing products or services that appeal to consumers; they can also determine the best time to introduce these.
How competitive intelligence boosts revenue
Making educated decisions based on competition automatically boosts revenue. Allocating resources towards hiring capable competitive intelligence service providers and implementing an effective competition strategy are, therefore, crucial, as understanding your competition and market can help mitigate risks better, cutting losses and increasing profits. Therefore, returns on investing in competitive intelligence are considerable and remain a primary marker of the programme’s success. Of course, such growth and revenue benefitsare only witnessed with proper implementation.
How to create an effective competitive intelligence strategy
Creating an effective competitive intelligence strategy requires some planning and an understanding of the resources you need. It is not enough to say you want a competitive intelligence programme – you need to dedicate time and resources towards building an effective one. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Begin with small, tactile goals based on existing customers and build up once you have a solid foundation. Today’s competitive intelligence services are usually scaleable, so you can show stakeholders how implementing it can help your business grow. This can seem counterintuitive if you are a big company, as you may not be immediately able to apply competitive intelligence across the board. But as a business manager, you probably also know it is important to walk before running. Therefore, you need to learn and pivot your business based on your evolving understanding of competitive intelligence.
Commit to the process
As with any other strategy, only dedication and diligence will allow your competitive intelligence strategy to yield results. To prove your strategy effective, you will need to dedicate time to it and not treat it like an ad hoc project. Map out the process and have a team focused on tracking competitors.
Ensure stakeholder support
Transparency with stakeholders is the backbone of any company’s success. Therefore, when building a competitive intelligence programme, nurture your relationship with your stakeholders through transparency. When sharing intel, be clear about the value the stakeholder stands to gain from such information. This understanding promotes better trust in the process and increased support.
Know your competition
This goes without saying, but the first step in mapping out a strategy is knowing your competitors and the market dynamics. Creating a tier list of your competitors helps determine the amount of research and analysis you will require and the resources you would need to dedicate. A dedicated competitive intelligence service provider often uses this time to examine uncommon data points, such as venture capitalist investments. Such an analysis provides a better understanding of the market too.
It is also always better to focus on direct competitors in the beginning. Your team is more familiar with these companies and can better understand the scope of a competitive intelligence programme using such a starting point. Once you explain this, you can gradually begin tracking the complete picture of competitive intelligence and glean all its benefits. Starting small and scaling up the services in this way can also help alleviate anyapprehension towards the new system, allowing better implementation.