To have a full grasp of your market situation. To know where to look. You need to understand the 4 parts of the Competitive Intelligence time machine. It’s essential to break Competitive Intelligence down into four. As follows:
The first part of the 4 parts of the Competitive Intelligence time machine is Hindsight.
- Identify mistakes and avoid them in the future
- Create sustainable strategies based on facts
- Know who and what you are dealing with
- Understand your customers’ needs
- Understand your competitors’ motivations
Now take advantage of what you have learned
It allows you to learn about where you are now and what you have learned from your actions. The tendency to perceive events that have. Now with the emergence of ‘Big Data’, Machine Learning and AI. They bring challenges. Especially as they are the latest buzzwords and sold as magic bullets. Press a button to solve all your problems.
But data is instrumental no matter the size of your business. Every organisation has masses of data. But like everything in life, the tools are only as valuable as the person using them, what you tell them to do with the data. And how they use and interpret the data.
Hindsight should combine a select collection of the best data tools around. Plus, most importantly, human management and analysis. Ensuring you know what’s happened and how you can predict what could happen next in your business.
Speak to the right people. Map and join the dots and look for patterns to reveal themselves. Build a picture showing what’s happened with objective analysis. And investigations, market research and skills based on hard-won experience.
2. Insight – What’s happening now, and how is it going to affect you?
- What is your market share, and how to increase it
- New operations, systems and technologies you could utilise
- Key players in your industry that could advantage your business
- Views, attitude and opinion that affect your opinion in your industry
What do you need to know?
You can’t get the better of your competitors and market if you don’t know where or who they are. So many do not know their market well enough and are missing out on business. Also, some dismiss competitors as irrelevant and not as good as them. Build a picture to give you a birds-eye view of your market. Draw a very detailed map of your competitors’ Intelligence and tech.
And suppliers, regulators, products and many other things which could impact your business. Identify and isolate weaknesses in your competitor’s defences. Reveal their strengths to tackle.
Insight on who and what is your competition?
The names of your immediate competitors may be well known to you. But does that tell the whole picture? It would help if you also considered the stories behind their names. What makes them tick, and how do they really manage their business. Is its real-world structure the same as the one it presents to the public? Then there’s the competition which is not so clear at first glance. The world is changing all the time. Companies continually need to add to their products to increase income.
Are there businesses unknown to you at present? Ones that are beginning to impinge on your territory? What about new market entrants? Also, are you entirely up to speed with how they might threaten your current position?
Where are your competitors weak?
It’s easy to know where your competitors are strong. They’re only too happy to tell the world all about their unique products, value and service. But where are they weak? What are they hiding from the market and their (and your) customers? It’s essential to identify your competitors’ Achilles heel. In our experience they all have one. It may take a bit of digging. You may need to ask questions where they’re not normally asked. But knowing your rivals’ weaknesses is one of the most powerful marketing assets you can have.
How deep does it go?
You research. You network. And you keep your eyes and ears open by listening to your suppliers and your customers. But such inquiries can only ever take you so far. The reality is that such an approach is restricted to asking about only what you know. An effective way to gather Intelligence is to forget everything you think you know. And start again from scratch.
That means questioning everything and everyone. Your competitors’ customers, suppliers, and employees past and present. It means conducting in-depth research into their finances, processes and organisation.
Foresight – What’s going to happen next? How can you create growth and increase business profits?
- Create growth and increase your revenues with Foresight
- Develop and secure your business by recognising new opportunities
- Identify threats from competitors and changes in the market
- Forecasting market shifts and trends ahead of your competition with Foresight
- Differentiate your business and future proof your model
Play to your strengths with Foresight
With Foresight, you play to your strengths. You defend your weaknesses and build an accurate picture of your competition. And understand what they will do next. Dig deep into your competitor’s minds. To create a profile of their characteristics and behaviour. It encompasses revealing the basics of their personality. And also, dig deeper into their mindset to help you predict their future actions.
Speak to the right people. Map out what’s happening. Join the dots, find the patterns and see themes reveal themselves. And build a picture showing what’s really going on. With objective analysis, investigations, market research and skills based on hard-won experience.
Also, how are they going to behave and perform after they have received an investment? Do their claims able the market you are investing in hold up? Reveal what you could get yourself into. So you are forewarned, able to take precautions and sort things out should the sticky stuff hit the fan.
How are you protecting your future?
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘future-proofing your business. But what does it actually mean? It certainly doesn’t mean creating products for tomorrow. Tomorrow is unknown.
To us, protecting your future means staying light on your feet. It means having the agility to respond to the changing expectations of your customers. Have constant access to Competitive Intelligence to react to any new moves on their part.
And it means keeping a close eye on your markets. You’re not meeting a need that is on the wane but instead meeting needs that are on the rise.
How is your marketing evolving?
Just when you think you’ve got a handle on your market, bang, it’s gone and changed again. It’s hardly surprising. New entrants from abroad often bringing a low-cost alternative to the market. They tend to shake things up a bit. Companies going bust leave a void for others to fill. And mergers can introduce fresh competition into your market.
Every market evolves and adapts to changing consumer and business needs. The question is, how much do you know what is happening behind the scenes? Have you really got the full picture of your market in terms of its reach and makeup? Or are you too close to see what’s coming over the horizon?
What unique space can your business occupy?
Every business should have a purpose. And this purpose should give rise to how your brand is perceived. But how is your brand perceived?
What opportunities do you have for standing out from the crowd? In short, what is the unique space you can own in your market?
Having the Intelligence means you can define your unique market space. You can then occupy that space. Defend it against all your current competitors and new market entrants.
This means digging down into what you do and how you do it. And presenting this position in a meaningful, compelling and dynamic way.
How are your customers changing
Consumer expectations are growing all the time. When once we may have thought they wanted quality, then they wanted value. When we thought they wanted value, they suddenly valued service. Before we knew it, service was no longer enough. And new experiences became top of the consumer shopping list.
What does this mean for your customers? How are you responding to the promise of immediate gratification? Like what is being delivered by so many online businesses.
And how are you making plans for meeting future consumer trends? The seeds of which are being sown all the time in all kinds of places? If you are to outlast your competitors, you need to really know what your customers want. Make yourself even better by refining your products.
4. Oversight – How are we going to act on, resolve and manage the results?
The final part of the 4 parts of the Competitive Intelligence time machine is Oversight.
- Combine everything you find from Hindsight, Insight and Foresight
- Create a cohesive operating action plan
- To make sure you never get caught short
- Be always ready to pounce on opportunities with Oversight
What are you going to do about it?
To produce any progress and move forward, you must use what you know. That’s not just everything about your competitors. It’s also your customers and your market. Translate your knowledge into engaging propositions and action. It’s fine having the Intelligence. But to work hard for you, you need to communicate your purpose to the world, so the world knows what you’re all about.
To do this means defining your offering in a simple, memorable, yet highly desirable way. In our experience, many businesses can exploit gaps in the market. The holes that they didn’t know were there. By defining their offering – even if this means adjusting it.
Use Competitive Intelligence to create a clear picture of where you are now and where you want to be. And offer the options open to you.
Make it happen
The three most prominent elements that can significantly impact your business are:
Ensure your business is resilient, robust, scalable and ready for the fight. And, build your growth plan by aligning your resources for:
- Business strategy and product development
- Pricing and distribution
- Sales, business development
- Marketing and communications
- Reputation and risk management
Make the right decisions
Competitive Intelligence will help you make the right decisions. Rather than jumping on the latest fad or merely copying a competitor. It is about determining your needs. How you can neutralise potential problems and maximise previously unforeseen opportunities. Provide strength, advantage and clarity by:
By supporting and integrating changes to your organisation, operations, systems, policy and strategy
Then enabling strategy makers, board members and senior leaders to make effective decisions.
The 4 parts of the Competitive Intelligence time machine
This article explained that you need a full grasp of your market situation. To know where to look. You need to understand the 4 parts of the Competitive Intelligence time machine? It’s essential to break Competitive Intelligence down into Hindsight, Insight, Foresight and Oversight.
Picture is of a Number 4 by tim-hufner huefner-design.de