A market is a competitive place. Businesses always try to gain a competitive advantage over other businesses. The only way to survive is to do better than other businesses in your line of production. To do this, you need to know what your competitors are up to do better to attract more clients. This is where you are able to get all the competitive intelligence benefits.
What is Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive Intelligence, also known as corporate Intelligence, is the capacity to obtain, evaluate, and apply actionable data about competitors, consumers, and other market elements to help a business gain a competitive advantage. Competitive Intelligence is crucial because it aids firms in comprehending what their competitive environment is all about and the challenges and opportunities it brings. Businesses study data to develop efficient and productive business operations.
Additionally, market leaders can use competitive intelligence to see beyond the horizon and build their business strategy on market projections backed by data. Competitive intelligence benefits companies as it allows you to gather, analyze, and act on information about your company’s competitive marketplace. This knowledge might include any aspect of your competition environment, including the market, the products or services, the supply chain, and so on. Simply put, competitive Intelligence is the continuous monitoring of the elements that influence your capacity to form and retain a competitive advantage.
How Does Competitive Intelligence Work??
Competitive Intelligence is, by definition, the collection of actionable data from a variety of sources ethically. In a perfect world, a company would use competitive intelligence to develop a clear picture of the market to see ahead and respond to issues before they occur.
Competitive Intelligence goes beyond the adage of “knowing thy enemy.” Rather, it’s a comprehensive review process in which companies investigate the finer details of their competitors’ business plans. Competitive intelligence benefits companies by not excluding the customers they serve and the markets they compete in. In addition, competitive Intelligence examines how a broad array of situations can affect rival organizations. It additionally shows how suppliers and other stakeholders may be affected and how new technology can swiftly disprove any assumption.
Competitive Intelligence aims to assist business owners in making better-informed decisions and improving organizational performance by identifying threats and opportunities before they come to be. To put it another way, one competitive intelligence benefit is to keep businesses from being caught off guard by external influences.
Types of Competitive Intelligence
Competitive Intelligence can either be tactical or strategic.
1. Tactical competitive Intelligence. Tactical Intelligence is more short-term, and it aims to help with challenges like gaining market share or boosting income.
2. Strategic competitive Intelligence. Strategic Intelligence is concerned with more long-term topics, such as the company’s significant threats and opportunities.
On the other hand, corporate or industrial espionage is the use of unlawful and immoral means to acquire an unfair competitive advantage over your competitors.
Elements of Competitive Intelligence
Competitive Intelligence aims to give businesses a competitive advantage in the marketplace. To truly acquire all the competitive intelligence benefits, a company’s entire workforce must have access to intelligence that will affect them. This will allow them to change, respond, and enhance their division.
While you may think that competitive Intelligence is simply tracking your competition, you need to track more to acquire full competitive Intelligence that will help move your business a step further. The list below shows the core elements of Competitive Intelligence that will ensure a comprehensive collection of all the necessary information you will need to give you a competitive advantage.
1. Sector intelligence
This tracks what happens in large groups of companies. Companies with comparable principal business operations, such as health care, finance, information technology, and communications, are grouped to form sectors. Social Intelligence, therefore, examines these category companies’ large-scale economic swings and adjustments. It offers access to these trends because each sector has its attributes and risk profile.
2. Market intelligence
This involves collecting data on your whole market. A market is more specialized than industry because it is the meeting point for buyers and sellers. Market intelligence illuminates a company’s position, its competitors, customers, growth possibilities, and present or potential issues it is likely to face. These details can help you identify and develop a competitive strategy for your business’s goods and services.
Businesses confront numerous obstacles when navigating the landscape of a B2B or B2C market. Market intelligence is a critical technique that must be monitored regularly if a company is to do business successfully and stay competitive.
The following are issues that organizations may face that would need market intelligence.
- A lack of insight into the clients’ needs
- Expansion into previously untapped or underserved markets
- Take a look at your existing products and services vis a vis those of your competitors
- Identify competitors’ strong and weak points so you may improve your product or service to be more valuable than theirs.
Market intelligence may help boost the position of your business, its products, or services across many platforms by providing better insights into your customers and market needs. It can point you in the right direction for allocating additional resources to fulfill your goals, expand into new markets, and spot trends among your customers, competition, and other players.
3. Competitor intelligence
This focuses on understanding the movements and decisions of competitors in your industry. It is designed to keep track of how your competitors are creating their products, providing services, how they are marketing, closing deals, and the overall competitiveness of other companies in your sector. It also allows you to compare your products and services to those of your competitors.
As competition becomes more intense, Competitor Intelligence becomes more important. Understanding your competitors’ entire approach to getting deals in your area can help your business rethink its strategies and, as a result, increase income for the company.
Understanding where you fit in the market, gaining new consumers, and keeping existing customers are challenges that can cause your company to gather competitive Intelligence.
Competitor intelligence is critical to your business’s future since it allows you to stay competitive within your industry and ultimately stay ahead of the competition. With competition intelligence, you can learn what your competitors are up to, track their moves, and devise counter-strategies to help your business become more competitive, satisfy your consumers’ needs and prospects, and win more deals.
Competitor Intelligence enables the various teams within your business to understand how competitor teams manage their business choices.
4. Innovation intelligence
This involves developing and combining ideas and procedures in novel ways to solve challenges. To stay competitive and expand in ever-changing industries, all organizations use innovation intelligence to acquire an early-market advantage. Innovation Intelligence is critical to the success of any company, whether it is an incumbent or a disruptor. It assists companies in dealing with quick shifts in consumer habits, the surge of competition from many industries attempting to expand their reach, identifying demands for new services, and changing their marketing strategy to stay competitive in their specific markets.
5. Sales intelligence
It is the application of data and technologies to assist salespeople in concentrating their efforts on acquiring ready-to-sell customers, generating leads, creating customer personas, better managing their data, and more. Businesses change daily, and sales require systems that can keep track of them. Salespeople sometimes focus on accounts that don’t have current needs while conducting one campaign quarterly. Sales Intelligence constantly scans the market for indicators of buyer willingness. It also researches key accounts to give targeted and personalized outreach.
6. Procurement and Supply Chain intelligence
It involves acquiring and analyzing data related to your suppliers’ and vendors’ contracts to make competent purchasing and category management decisions. Procurement and supply chain intelligence is critical for a company’s competitive advantage since it aids procurement and supply chain departments in identifying cost-cutting and risk-reduction opportunities. It also aids in attaining advantages such as increased credibility, risk evaluation, trend detection, and supplier verification.
7. Environmental, Social, and Governance Intelligence
This focuses on knowing how your company’s operations affect the environment, societal issues, and government affairs. It keeps track of your ecological impact, as well as where your industry and rivals are headed in terms of sustainability and the influence on the environment. Competition’s social welfare and other humanitarian activities, as well as relationships with international and national governments.
For firms to respond to changing perceptions about environmental, social, and government ties, ESG Intelligence is critical. As other organizations modify their business models, customers expect more ESG impact, and the scene shifts toward sustainability; it’s critical for businesses to keep track of these shifts to stay ahead of competitors and implement the change that consumers seem to demand. Businesses cannot ignore ESG because ESG Intelligence enables them to keep up with the developments.
Benefits of Competitive Intelligence
When your company conducts competitive intelligence, it stands to gain several benefits, which include but are not limited to;
– It can help you obtain competitive information.
The approaches at the heart of competitive Intelligence provide one-of-a-kind, evaluative data sets that lead to more competitive company activities. Competitive Intelligence unearths detailed information about business activity from its most credible sources more than any other method. This will allow your business to view itself more clearly, allowing you to recognize what you are excelling at and where you are falling short compared to other industry competitors.
– It can help you keep an eye on industry trends and make predictions about the future.
In-depth competition intelligence advises businesses on the improvements they can make today to boost their future performance. On the other hand, external market information can provide you with predictive insights into upcoming industry trends, expectations, technology, innovators, and other factors. For many people, the ability to have foresight is a competitive edge in itself.
– Improves decision-making within the business.
Data-backed insights can assist you in streamlining your business’s initiatives. You can assess your business’s current strengths and capacity gaps, then re-prioritize your expenditures and activities to address those gaps directly. There is less waste and indecision, which is the optimal combination for achieving higher returns on investments.
– It helps your business boost products and service speed to market.
The time it takes for a product or service to go from concept to public sale is referred to as speed-to-market.
Average speed-to-market timeframes vary by industry, as do the variables involved in developing, testing, and releasing a new commercial product. The more complex a product’s or service’s environment is, the more important it is for a business in that industry to enhance its speed-to-market outputs while maintaining quality. Market-focused Competitive Intelligence can help you stay ahead of your competition when it comes to this.
– It can help you predict your competitors’ behaviors.
Competitive Intelligence was created to allow businesses to compare their activities to those of their competitors. Your company can better forecast a competitor’s conduct throughout business domains using the knowledge gathered through aggregating, synthesizing, and execution and then beat them to their game.
– It can help you engage with your customers more competitively.
Knowing how your competitors deal with their customers can provide you with insight into how to better engage with your own to maintain customer loyalty. You can use tools like Socialays, which will keep you informed on any activity on your social media platforms to ensure that you can engage your followers at all times.
Here Are Some Tools to Monitor your Competition’s Online Activities
1. Google Alerts
Google alerts are a tool for monitoring mentions. This is a very basic and straightforward tool that will provide reports directly to your inbox. You’ll get a report if you want to know each time your competition is mentioned on any online platforms, whether as a link or just a mention. You can also keep track of keywords, and how much information you track is entirely up to you. You can make the best use of Google Alerts by getting your competitors’ backlinks, monitoring keywords, and monitoring social mentions for your company.
Socialisinder is a social media competitors’ analysis and reporting tool. It shows you how your competitors’ material performs on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It also includes the time they post, engagement metrics, how their audience has grown since creating their page or profile, and their overall online presence. Social Insider is just one of the competitive intelligence benefits you by giving backstage access to your competitor’s content strategy, how they boost their posts, and the ratio of their boosted to non-boosted posts through machine learning algorithms.
Ubersuggest is a tool for monitoring keywords. It is a comprehensive search engine optimization tool that includes keyword research, competitor analysis, and SEO analytics. It can be used to develop fresh content ideas, research keywords, and discover what your competitors are up to. You may also collect data on keywords and traffic while browsing the web using the Ubersuggest Chrome plugin.
The best uses for this too include;
- Examine how your competitors’ content and keywords are performing.
- Looking for keywords to target.
- Getting ideas for new content.
- Looking for new competition.
You can track your competitors’ online businesses with this all-in-one tool. Whereas most tools focus on a specific specialty, Computers.App examines various aspects of your competition’s online marketing strategy to provide you with a comprehensive picture of their activities and help you identify possible growth opportunities. It allows marketers to watch their competitors’ website updates, social media activity, email campaigns, SEO performance, adverts, and more to gauge their lead generation.
5. Social Blade
Social Blade is a tool for monitoring social media follower counts. It can help you view real-time social media statistics about your competitors, such as how many followers they have and the number of uploads. This tool gives you a rapid overview of the situation to develop a more effective social media strategy.
BrandMentions is a brand monitoring and reporting tool that allows you to track and participate in online discussions in actual time. It’s ideal for competitor tracking, controlling your business’s reputation, brand monitoring, media monitoring, and content marketing, among many other things. It boasts one of the largest web mention databases globally, covering both the web and popular social media networks. The software provides real-time website traffic tracking, instantaneous mentions, and hyperlink alerts, fully tailored and automatic reporting, sentiment analysis, statistical data, and great coverage of countries and languages globally, among other major competitive benefits.
SpyFu is a competitor keyword research tool that can show you the number of keywords your competitors rank for. It also displays how well their keyword focus matches yours. SpyFu offers you a report of your competitors’ most profitable search terms and adverts that you can download. With the help of various available metrics, you can develop a much better strategy for your organic search campaigns and the paid ones to compete with those of your competitors.
A newsletter is an online tool that helps your monitor your competitors’ email marketing newsletters. It compiles your competitors’ newsletters and webpages into a user-friendly dashboard, allowing you to sift through their communications. Owletter’s analytics detects changes in your competitors’ email volume, as well as trends that can help you maximize when to send your emails. This tool is a data-driven and efficient alternative to maintaining a dummy email account to help you track your competitors.
7 Tactics to Research Your Marketplace Using CI
1. Conduct a win/loss analysis
A win/loss analysis requires an interview with new customers, and those prospects you lost to competition are required for a win/loss analysis. The idea is to figure out what drives their decisions. Inquire about new clients and prospects that you may have lost to the competition. Other than finding out what drives their decisions, you can gain useful information from them to better your product development, alter existing products or services, change your marketing strategy, figure out how your competition is effectively ousting you, and so on.
2. Talk to experts, both internal and external.
When engaging experts, take a cooperative approach. You can find knowledge and information about the industry anywhere. People who work for you are likely to be knowledgeable about your business and connect you with other contacts who can further help you with valuable information. Thank your experts and provide them with any information you find that could be useful to them. Your knowledge pool will benefit greatly from this two-way communication and connectivity.
3. Use trade shows to gather information.
Industry experts, potentials, and competitors enthusiastically converse on expo floors at trade shows that will certainly give you tons of competitive intelligence benefits. Trade shows are the largest pool of competitive intelligence. Attending such shows with an open mind can provide you with a wealth of information. Before the trade show, establish a game plan. Examine the exhibitor floor plan, including all the presentations, to determine the most efficient use of your time. Jot down the questions you’ll ask the various speakers. Another competitive intelligence benefit is that knowing all the information will give you information that would be beneficial later on.
4. Keep an open mind and be observant.
Most people believe that gathering competitive intelligence is only possible from competitor exhibit areas and formal meetings. Still, the greatest intelligence is sometimes gathered in less professional settings like coffee shops, hotel cafes, elevators, and cocktail parties.
5. Create an information database
Create a database with all information you have collected on your competitors and the market that can be readily accessed. Keep the database updated. Additionally, create a database of contacts, both internal and external to your firm. They can provide you with valuable information about your sector, the market, and your competition and make it searchable! This instant access dramatically reduces the research time at the same time reaps all the important competitive intelligence benefits.
6. Keep it legal
Make sure that you gather information in an ethical manner. Lying to obtain information about your competitor may put you in a legal battle that may cost your business. Make sure that anyone you hire to gather information follows the same standards as those held by your business.
Competitive Intelligence is crucial to businesses that aim to gain all the competitive intelligence benefits in the highly competitive market. As industries grow and more people get into business, the competition stiffens, and as such, you should be able to have the upper hand when it comes to your competitors if you are to survive.