Organizations often confuse competitive intelligence with competitor analysis. Analyzing the actions of your competitors is one aspect of the competitive intelligence process, but it includes various stakeholders such as customers, regulators, suppliers, and technology among others. Businesses can initiate their strategic planning processes based on the insights gained from competitive analysis. Often, companies that dominate the market space understand the importance of competitive intelligence and analytics compared to their counterparts who fail to leverage the benefits it offers. Competitive intelligence is the process of monitoring your competitors, understanding their market plans and behavior to devise and formulate better business strategies, empowering you to anticipate and mitigate potential risks and challenges. Organizations should first understand the concept and then try to fit it into their strategic planning process.
Competitive Intelligence – Information Sources
Competitive intelligence is gaining momentum across several industries such as medical device manufacturing, retail, and the gaming industry among others as it helps to understand the market and its competitive landscape. Organizations are increasingly leveraging competitive and market intelligence studies to gain insights about their competitors rather than an inside view of their rival’s strategy and market approach. The information sources used in a typical competitor study are press analysis and pricing research among others. Press analysis includes the analysis of publicly available information like financial information, senior management views and opinions, and change in management. Pricing studies or price analysis involves sifting through price lists and catalogs for product and service price information; thereby, using it to benchmark against their own prices.
Look Beyond Competitors
Companies often focus on the external environment, i.e. their competitors, and overlook the other stakeholders. Organizations should listen to their internal stakeholders such as employees and not disregard their ideas and proposals. The employees interact with customers and have an understanding of consumer trends and market demands. Therefore, it is essential for organizations to allow employees to participate in new product development. Competitive intelligence is successful when the business takes into account all of its stakeholders – internal and external, enabling them to create customer delight and enhance their customer service. Insights from employees and suppliers can help organizations focus on retaining their own customers before focusing on new customer acquisition.