For every business, there are competitors – and these competitors have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. You can use that information to your advantage in order to beat the competition by applying competitive intelligence principles to your business strategy. In this article, you’ll learn how to define your goals in terms of competitive intelligence so that you can identify new opportunities and even get ahead of your competitors before they know what hit them.
What is competitive intelligence?
There are a lot of ways that businesses can gather information about their competitors, including snooping around online, using social media, analyzing news articles and other publicly available information, or creating a fictional competitor—essentially just pretending that another company does what you do but doing it really well—so you can get an inside look at how they operate. The purpose of all these tactics is to gain insight into how your competition operates in order to gain an advantage over them.
Competitive intelligence, or CI, refers to techniques used by companies to gather information about their competitors that they can use to increase the chances of success for their own business endeavors. CI experts analyze data about competitors’ businesses using publicly available records and reports, as well as through more clandestine means such as industrial espionage, which can be illegal if it involves gaining access to trade secrets or other sensitive information belonging to the competitor without permission from the owner of the data being stolen.
Why you need it
Businesses are increasingly reliant on technology, and as a result they’re becoming more complex. The connectedness of our world means that it’s harder than ever to compete without staying on top of new developments—and even potential threats—to your industry. Competitor monitoring is essential if you want to stay ahead.
You’ve probably been using competitive intelligence for years without even realizing it. You just didn’t know what it was called or how valuable it could be in helping you run your company. Competitive intelligence is not just limited to publicly available information that can be found online. While some companies may rely solely on social media, public forums and industry events, others may choose to hire private investigators or buy out competitors entirely (like Google did with Waze). Either way, any information that helps you better understand and anticipate your competition is good information.
Competitive intelligence or corporate intelligence is the process of gathering and analyzing information about competitors in order to gain an advantage over them. Some forms of competitive intelligence include social media monitoring, company profiling, and benchmarking, as well as traditional market research methods such as surveys and secondary research reports. Competitive intelligence can be used to gain an advantage in pricing, marketing, strategy and product development decisions, thus improving performance and helping your business stay ahead of its competition.