What is Competitive Intelligence?
As any experienced business owner knows, no company can operate in a vacuum.
No matter how good your products or services, no matter how loyal your customer base, you need to be alert and attentive to the current landscape of the marketplace that you operate in.
Otherwise, sooner or later, it will become impossible to adapt to the changing environment, and you will succumb to your competition.
That’s where competitive intelligence can be so useful.
But what is the definition of competitive intelligence? And how can you get good competitive intelligence about rivals’ strategies?
Let’s answer the important questions below.
What is Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive intelligence, otherwise known as competitive research, is the process of collecting information about businesses, marketplaces, and key trends in an industry.
While this competitor intelligence definition is the simplest way of describing the process, it can get quite complicated, as competitor intelligence encompass collecting information from a range of sources, and there are ethical principles that need to be adhered to.
For competitive marketing intelligence, it’s vital to perform thorough and in-depth research about the landscape of the marketplace, tracking what the competitors are doing, as well as spotting trends that could reshape the situation in both the near and the long-term future.
Once the information is gathered, it must be analyzed and structured in a way that allows the company to develop a strategic and data-based plan about how to tweak their practices and approaches in order to maximize the chances of success.
Using insights from gathering competitive intelligence, it becomes easier to make informed decisions that will not only help optimize the processes and workflow within your company but will also help you gain an advantage over competition that doesn’t possess the same information.
What Is It Used For?
When first considering performing competitive research, it may be unclear what the purpose of competition research is in the first place.
As it turns out, there is actually a range of competitive intelligence examples as far as how it may be used to grow and improve your business — since it’s a wide-reaching practice, the number of applications for the insights that you can gain is virtually limitless.
For one thing, they can become the centerpiece of your entire business plan or overall strategy, helping you to clearly establish your position in the marketplace and take a stance against the competition in the most effective way possible.
Another powerful application of competitive intelligence is using it to pinpoint the angle you should adopt to better position yourself against a specific competitor. If you feel like you don’t have an effective approach for competing with a strong player in the marketplace, performing competitive intelligence research can be immensely helpful at showing you potential venues that you could use, which you may not have seen before.
Finally, if you’re preparing for a product launch or entering a new market, performing a thorough competitive intelligence analysis can help you make sure that you take into account the current conditions, and avoid making costly mistakes.
How Does It Work?
The exact process behind competitive intelligence gathering will depend on which department or person at a company performs it, as well as the goals that it aims to accomplish.
However, no matter what the underlying purpose, the process always involves a deep dive into the competition, discovering how it operates, how it attracts customers, and how it positions itself against others.
Since the ultimate goal of competitive research is to gain valuable insights that can be used to make better decisions, it requires a thorough and in-depth approach that looks at the competitive landscape from all angles and determines the safest and most promising course of action.
Are There Different Types of Competitive Intelligence?
At this point, you may be wondering – is competitive intelligence something that your company needs? Well, the short answer is that there isn’t an industry or field where competitive analysis isn’t absolutely integral to both the short-term and long-term success of a company.
We already talked about a few ways that competitive intelligence can be used to gain an advantage, but the truth is, there are dozens of other applications, some of which will only become apparent after the process is completed.
There are two main types of competitive intelligence — tactical and strategic.
Tactical intelligence focuses on the short-term goals and obstacles and tries to provide answers to specific questions or problems that need to be addressed.
Meanwhile, market research and strategic intelligence gathering looks further into the future, evaluating the best courses of action in the long-term and assessing the most promising opportunities, as well as some of the biggest threats that need to be considered.
Competitive intelligence is important now more than ever — the digital age of marketing has made gaining insights and improving decision-making processes more accessible than ever, so if you’re not doing it, it won’t be long until you lose your edge over the competition.
At Luth Research, we have the experience and the technology you need to perform thorough and in-depth competitive intelligence research, providing you specific insights that you can use today. If you want to learn more, contact us.