A simple fact you need to know is that the successful brands you see out there, have, and are still tracking other brands to grasp the techniques they use in running their businesses. They combine the knowledge gained from other businesses’ administration and adopt it in theirs – that’s one of the major reasons why they are more successful.
Therefore, in this age and time, if you must have a savvy brand, you must partake in competitive intelligence. You would know when new brands come into your industry, and the opportunities and threats your brand could get from the existence of competitors. You would also know the fully-grown brands that are making waves in the market.
Trust me, competitors are already gathering competitive intelligence about your brand. They don’t wish that you should strive more than you currently are because it will distort their tactics. To have first-hand knowledge of opportunities and risks in your industry that could determine the success of your brand, you need to carry out competitive intelligence.
So, in this article, we’ll be sharing with you everything you need to know to be on top of every move your competitors make.
What is Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive intelligence is sometimes called “corporate intelligence.” It has to do with collecting, examining, and utilizing information gathered about competitors, customers, suppliers, government, and other factors that in one way or the other contribute to your brand’s success.
Many scholars have defined competitive intelligence, but a notable one amongst them was by a female scholar. She defined it as, “A process of monitoring the competitive environment by pulling together data and information from a large and strategic perspective, to predict and forecast what is going to happen in the competitive environment of an enterprise.”
It is more than merely going to the internet to search for companies that are doing better and trying to beat them at what they do, or conducting a survey to know how best you can utilize the advantage you have. With competitive intelligence, you’ll have to know the rising matters in your industry before others learn about them. This will help you to be one step ahead of them, thereby capitalizing on the knowledge gained.
Competitive intelligence enables brands to gain a more complete image of emerging trends coming up in the market and to give unique offers that will attract customers before competitors do. When you get the knowledge that competitors use and combine it with your first-hand knowledge of things that are set to happen in your industry, there will be a distinguishing gap between your brand and others that are continually falling behind and striving to catch up.
Competitors are currently going through your website’s traffic and keywords, as well as website updates and traffic sources, and you’re probably not returning the favor. You have the same opportunity to take advantage of their data as much as they do of yours. Take advantage of all the information slipping through your fingers and you’ll be at the top of your industry’s market.
Competitive Intelligence Tactical Benefits
Competitive intelligence tactics are important because it helps brands to study their environment and know the strategies to use in making things work in their favor. With good tactics and knowledge of what is to come, your brand gets a lot of benefits like making quicker and better decisions.
The benefits that will be derived are many, but the most important ones are shared below.
Quicker and Better Decisions
As a result of having insight into the conduct of your competitors, customers, sellers, and other market factors, you will be able to make better decisions that will touch the pain points of your audience. This transcends to an increase in revenue, profit, and goodwill.
Also, due to prior knowledge of yet-to-be occurrences and taking cognizance of facts that other brands fail to notice, you will be able to make faster decisions that put you at the forefront of the industry. This creates a good atmosphere in your company as employees and other stakeholders will be happy to see that their efforts are yielding results.
With strong tactics, you get the necessary information you need from diverse sources and integrate them easily. An example is the services rendered by Socialays – the AI-Based social media assistant receives, analyses, and responds to all the engagements you get on your social media accounts. It also categorizes them based on their emotions, which helps you to know the right action to take.
Reduction in Total Cost
With fantastic competitive intelligence tactics, you will be able to reduce costs. When you are well informed about the risks and opportunities in your business environment, you’ll be able to minimize your cost and avoid irrelevant expenses. Also, with a solid tactical system, you won’t spend much money on gathering information about your competitors.
However, effective cost reduction is highly dependent on avoiding risks, thanks to early warning signs and seizing of opportunities. For instance, expecting and tracking market trends will allow you to plan ahead. Making plans after events have happened costs a lot of money and sometimes leads to wasted effort.
If you want to venture into business with someone, you only get the best partner after you’ve thoroughly examined all your options. You get to choose a better business partner who will help actualize your ideas. When you end up with a horrible partner because you don’t have all the needed facts, you will amass more cost.
An advantage you get from having good competitive intelligence tactics is that stakeholders get to be more innovative and creative. With a basis of what is going on, or is set to happen in the market, employees and major stakeholders create solutions and alternative ways through which your brand gets ahead of other businesses. Also, after noticing a flaw in your competitors’ tactics, you can go back to the drawing table to devise a way through which you offer the audience what they want.
With competitive intelligence, you also create and save development projects until the environment atmosphere is suitable to contain your idea. Competitive intelligence makes you know what society demands and when you can launch your golden ideas in order to take maximum advantage. Monitoring your competitors, as well as suppliers and new participants in the market is critical for your innovations to fulfill their purpose efficiently.
Improves Sales and Revenue
Competitive intelligence will also skyrocket the sales you make and the returning revenue. With solid tactics, you will know the buying trends in your industry and the reaction of customers to new policies and prices. Then, you find a way to integrate all these parameters into a form that serves you and your customers efficiently. Through this, you get more customers and your revenue increases.
Also, competitive intelligence teaches you to look into competitors’ product offerings, their prices, and their promotion structure. This enables you to find out patterns that you can integrate into your system to get better results.
Competitive intelligence teaches you how to position your brand and the geographical location and the category of people you are to focus more attention on.
For the marketing and sales department to sell more products, while in the market, they must carry out research, surveys, and interviews to know what is trending amongst the customers, and how the organization’s current plan can be tweaked to satisfy the needs of customers.
How is Your Competition Using It?
Some businesses focus mainly on having the best result for the time being, and then they plan for the future, while some, make strategic plans that will influence their long-term goals.
You have to know how your competitors operate in order to figure out if their tactics are worth imitating.
There are basically two ways through which you can effectively apply and monitor competitive intelligence. They are:
- Tactical competitive intelligence (short term)
- Strategic competitive intelligence (long term)
How to Perform Competitor Analytics?
Competitor analytics enables you to weigh all your competitors by identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes, the industry might not be favorable to you, so regularly, you have to keep a tab of other businesses in order to know how they are carrying out their business.
As a brand that wants to top its industry’s chart, competitor analytics is an integral part of being successful. Below is the step-by-step guide on how to perform competitive intelligence effectively.
Know Your Competitors
The first step is to know who you are up against. You are about to go into a battle, so to be well prepared, you must know the people you are up against. Know how their products look like, where they are located, the customer base they are after, and every other detail about them.
Basically, you can have two types of competitors – direct and indirect.
Direct competitors are perceived as the most dangerous. They produce the same product as yours, target the same customers you are after, and they offer them the same benefits you give.
Indirect competitors on the other hand, are brands that sell identical products but target a different customer base, or they produce and sell several products but share your customer base with you.
Whichever competitor-type you end up having, make sure you carry out thorough research about them as it won’t only reveal them to you, but it will also reveal some facts you are yet to notice about your customer base or your products.
Examine Your Competitors’ Online Activities
We are in the 21st century and more than half of the world’s population uses the internet. In fact, over 90% of this population uses their mobile phones to access the internet. So, to be a successful brand, you must have a solid online presence. Your customers should be able to see your products, make purchases, and get more insight from you from the comfort of their homes. With solid digital marketing strategies, your brand will easily be at the forefront of relevance in your industry.
To beat your competitors in this, analyze their online presence. How well can their websites and other online platforms be accessed? Is it easy to use? How long do they wait before they provide answers to customers’ questions? Check for all of these and learn from your findings.
You can employ the help of Socialays, an automated responder that reads, analyzes, and replies to customers almost immediately after they send their requests and questions. The AI-Based social media assistant also groups customers’ engagements to show the percentage of positive and negative comments. All these fuel your ability to make relevant decisions.
Examine Online Reviews
A lot of details about your competitors are revealed in the review section. That’s where you’ll see the satisfied customers who give accolades to the business and customers who seem to be bitter because they got below what they expected.
These reactions reveal what a business is not doing right. Check the review section and take note of loopholes, work on them, and offer the upgraded version to the customers. By doing this, you become more relevant than your competitors.
Also, you should take note of the good feedback, go back to your drawing table, and make better output.
Make Enquiries from Competitors’ Customers
Apart from the online reviews, track down customers who had one or two bad comments to give about your competitors, enquire why they were not satisfied, and pitch your business to them. However, you must have a strong strategy in doing this because they might still be angry and it wouldn’t sit well with them if you’ve come to tell them about a similar product they once had a bad experience with.
Humans are attracted to emotions, so the first thing you should do when you meet them is to ask them why they feel your competitors’ product is not good enough, and then you sympathize with them. While doing this, you are not only learning about the shortcomings of your competitors, but you are also building a friendly relationship that could lead to a business relationship. So, make sure that your conversation with them is constructive.
Conduct SWOT Analysis
SWOT is an acronym for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats.
SWOT analysis is a method of identifying your company’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. This data can be used in your company’s plan to help you reach your goals. To determine if a factor is internal or external, consider whether it would exist even if your company wasn’t in existence. If it does, it’s due to an external influence.
After completing your research i.e., after you’ve known and examined your competitors, combine all the findings you gathered and work on them. Thoroughly examine their strengths and weaknesses and use the information obtained to improve your business while focusing more on aspects where they failed.
Also, take note of the opportunities and threats that are posed. Check your internal and external environment for factors that make way for your brand’s success. Also, check for limiting factors that could act as a constraint or lead to more cost.
Make Use of Research Tools
Conducting competitive intelligence can be sometimes difficult and time-consuming. This is more obvious when you have many competitors to deal with. You might not have enough time and resources to examine them all by yourself. Fortunately, there are research tools that serve the same purpose.
These tools can aid in the identification of competitors, as well as the tracking of their content and analysis of the results. Using research software allows you to save time as it reports the most accurate results for your brand. Examples of these tools are Spyfu, SEMrush Market Explorer, Crayon, Owletter, and BuzzSumo.
Competitive intelligence is a broad topic that encapsulates all the marketing strategies you can adapt to succeed in business. It goes beyond merely taking note of rival businesses and how they operate.
Every business that wants to have more sales and build a better customer base must keep up with trends. Brands shouldn’t be caught unaware; they must be ready for events that are set to happen.
With sufficient knowledge of the factors that influence your business – competitors, customers, suppliers, government, and any other market factor, your brand will do exceedingly well.