Written By: Vishesh Kumar
What’s all this hullabaloo about competitive intelligence?
It is 4-5 times costlier to bring a new customer on board than retaining an existing customer. This is an age-old axiom, but still worth repeating, we guess. So, the ability of a business to hold on to its customers over a specific period is as important or maybe even more so than new customer acquisitions. Businesses typically employ a stock of resources and plans of action to ensure customers stay glued to their services. Improving customer service on a continuous basis via loyalty and reward programs and seeking customer feedback proactively are some proven ways businesses can hold fast to their user base. In hindsight, however, all these seem like an old bag of tricks as far as customer retention is concerned. Who doesn’t know that? There is hardly anything distinctive about them, so what is the point? Researching competitor strategies, deriving deep and accurate data, and suffusing your customer retention initiatives with those insights is the new normal in customer retention. There is a profusion of competitive intelligence tools in the market to assist with these efforts. Picking the most optimal applications is key to success on the customer retention front. The art and science of disassembling – figuratively, of course – competitor products and shining a new light on their pricing, features, and marketing has reached a new level!
Challenges/Importance of the Service/Function
Online sentiment analysis
Enterprises, for instance, make use of a variety of text mining and social listening tools to extract insights from online conversation around competitor products. The idea is to find chinks in the competitor’s armor that can be used to good advantage. Sentimental analysis tools represent an inflexion point in competitive intelligence gathering. These are capable of extracting words, phrases, and various linguistic elements from product reviews and social media posts to determine the overall sentiment of customers (positive, neutral, negative) towards a certain product. Positive reviews serve as strong pieces of evidence that a product is worth its money and significantly influences the buying decisions of potential customers.
In-depth competitive intelligence
Competitive intelligence platforms go several extra miles beyond merely “scraping” content from a certain number of competitor properties on the Internet. Competitor intelligence platforms have a more broad-spectrum approach to harvesting data, versus web scraping. In the first place, they hoover up data from diverse sources like news media, interviews of competitors’ executives, sector experts, trade shows, financial statements, and government records. Notably, these tools are backed by AI, machine learning algorithms, and natural language processing techniques. So, these are capable of processing vast amounts of structured and unstructured data on pricing, product launches, customer choices, market trends, and various competitor activities. Based on historical and current data, competitive intelligence tools provide businesses with the recommendations they need around competitors, customers, and the market, so they can differentiate their products and woo more customers.
Managed competitive intelligence providers
Nearly 80% of product marketers are involved at some level with competitor intelligence at their companies. Almost three-quarters of all businesses have at least two dedicated competitive intelligence specialists on board. However, there is growing demand for competitive intelligence professionals. Increasingly, businesses are reaching out to third-party managed competitive intelligence providers for in-depth insights to help bridge price gaps as well as track the competitor’s targets and R&D priorities.
How IR can help you/IR offerings
In-depth and accurate data on the competition is crucial for any business that wants to stay in business in the medium to long term. To stay ahead and remain in reckoning, businesses often must take a bite out of the competition. There is no other way to do it! Our competitive intelligence is crafted to do just that: outperform the competition in every way possible way. In-depth, accurate, relevant, and real-time data is the “holy grail” of competitive marketing, but it’s hard to come by! Curated data is at the heart of our competitive intelligence framework. With a unique combination of primary and secondary research as well as research frameworks perfected over the past more than two decades, our competitive intelligence solutions help businesses keep up the pressure on competitors. Notably, they help businesses drive significant market share and improve sales conversion rates. We provide a single-view dashboard that brings together data on competitors pulled in from multiple sources. These include internal and external knowledge sources, such as press releases, product launches, media citations, and lots more.
Success Story, how we helped our client:
A North American pharma discovers the “holy grail” of bottom-line growth: Competitive intelligence
Our client is a notable pharmaceutical business based in Western United States with a thriving product line of anti-inflammatory drugs. The client has experienced normalized revenue growth over the last decade. The prevalence of various degenerative diseases and the need for pain relievers have contributed to the client’s revenue growth. Growing demand for over-the-counter medications and easy accessibility to these drugs, thanks to the widespread presence of retail pharmacies, are key factors propelling the company’s sales. The trend could be expected to continue well until 2029, though market saturation is a challenge that market participants in the sector must actively tackle.
Many of the client’s range of therapeutics require child-resistant caps and tamper-proof seals, apart from other secondary packaging (e.g., boxes, folding cartons, trays, wrapping films). Secondary packaging is essential in the pharma industry to prevent contamination as well as comply with consumer safety regulations (PPA, CPSC). Besides, such overlay packaging, on top of the primary packaging (such as blister packs, glass bottles, and vials), provides added protection for pharma products during storage and transportation. They also shield the products from light, moisture, and air, thus contributing to increased shelf life. Secondary packaging accounts for up to a third of the client’s total packaging costs, and a significant share of this overlay packaging is handled by a third-party provider. The client sought to explore and harness major technology trends and best practices in secondary packaging followed by key competitors to achieve significant cost efficiencies. In June 2022, the client began to collaborate with our experts in competitive intelligence.
Applying a balance of primary and secondary research, our experts delineated the evolving landscape of secondary packaging in both the US and Europe for the benefit of the client. Over phone calls with a cross section of respondents, our competitive intelligence teams considered the very latest developments in secondary package design, labeling, packaging sustainability, and compliance requirements. The respondents included seasoned professionals carefully picked from packaging practices, besides heavy-duty users who account for a significant share of pharmaceutical packaging sales. The respondent pool included experts shortlisted from functional areas in packaging such as sales, marketing, and package development and processing. Various company, industry, and advocacy websites (like Contract Packaging & Manufacturing Association, Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council, Consumer Healthcare Products Association) and public databases were some of our secondary research sources. With extensive research, our experts successfully identified the most sought-after packaging designs by competitor businesses. We also identified industry-leading best practices in medication adherence packaging, which basically puts all the medications a patient needs into a single convenient package. Our team also cherry-picked the best examples of sustainable packaging, chiefly from the American and West European pharma landscape. Furthermore, our competitive intelligence study also detailed the cost efficiencies, improved throughputs, and worker safety that could be derived through adoption of robotic process automation in secondary packaging. Besides identifying key trends in the market, our competitive intelligence solution enabled the client to pare operational costs by a third.
Summary of Case Study:
An American pharma business is bang on competitor trends and cost reduction targets. Already, operational costs are down by a third, while processing efficiencies and workplace safety have seen significant upswings. Our competitive intelligence solution is proving to be the holy grail of bottom-line improvements for the pharma business. By making timely and customized insights available to decision makers when they need them, our competitive intelligence tools help clients make gains in hotly contested markets.