Competitive intelligence Case Study: New Markets Created From Old Ones

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Competitive intelligence case study new markets created from old ones

We were asked to take a look at a market opportunity for a subsidiary of a major European specialist manufacturer. This is a competitive intelligence case study new markets created from old ones. Over ten years ago, they had acquired a U.S. competitor, and things were toddling along nicely. They were not pulling up trees but making reasonable profits trading using their established brand name. It was always agreed to rebrand once they were ready, but it never happened. The parent company wanted to spark some life into the business. They considered a rebranding and looked at other markets for their business.

Competitive intelligence for new markets

The key reason for considering new markets for their U.S. company was simple. Their traditional customers were just that. Traditional. They relied on personal banking real estate, and it was clear that even in the U.S., bank branches have a limited shelf life in many states. And at the very least, a few banks were looking to add to their property portfolio. Our client’s U.S. company built their reputation by knocking on the right doors and building established business relationships. And they were keen to keep the situation as it was. 

On the other hand, their products are very traditional but incorporate the latest technology. So they asked us what they should do in the U.S. We had already done a European-focused project, so they knew and trusted us.

But the same old story showed its head again. They had previously had their fingers burned by management consultants providing nice-looking reports. You know, the expensive reports with a prestigious logo and many pie charts and graphs with no substance or insight but a six-figure bill.

Thoughts on why things can do wrong

Quick thoughts on six-figure fees and subsequent poor results. We do find some have in the past have been taken to the cleaners and sold a Ford Fiesta for the price of an Aston Martin. So prospective clients can be wary, and we believe this is due to several things, including:

  1. Lack of experience: It’s not every day that a company asks a supplier to provide a quote for competitive intelligence. We will never take advantage of a client, quote a six-figure sum, and then do a basic job just because we could get away with it. Plus, there are so many platforms out there that confuse things further by claiming to do competitive intelligence when it’s obvious to a trained eye that they don’t.
  2. Expectations: They think they know what they want, but they are not used to defining their insight needs. It’s so easy to expect everything on a market or a competitor. But what’s everything, and how do you know when you have it? So from the beginning, expectations for all sides must be clear. The prospective client must be aware of what’s possible and what’s impossible to achieve. 
  3. Limited focus: So they think they know what they want, but it’s not defined. The supplier will start a project without everything defined and clear to everyone. They are keen to get the deal over the line and will say yes to every client request. Without defining, asking why and creating robust questions to answer. Without clearly defined questions, any project is likely to fail. 
  4. Technology: They buy access to a platform and ask now what? So it’s important not just to give clients access to a platform; let them get on with it. Yes, use some technology but are never dependent on or blinded by it. 

Back to the case study

So back to the case study. We took the time initially to define what they wanted to know and what decisions they wanted to make from the resultant insight we would find. We created some fabulous conversations to allow us to get the best return for their investment and trust in us. 

We got to work looking for suitable sources and attempted to speak with them. Once we had reached a limited picture, we fired up the OSINT and secondary research collections to confirm or deny initial findings and to enhance what we found. We then conducted further primary research to verify secondary research and gain opinions on where the industry was going. 

Our basic findings

We told the client that the U.S. & Canadian marketplace is in a perfect position to be addressed with a new & focused approach. Focusing on two specific propositions in the first instance will enable rapid expansion into six defined areas. We also found that:

  • The sales & distribution structure is fragmented. 
  • There are too many distributors (and types of distributors) for the same products.
  • The main industry channels are OEMs, distributors, wholesalers, integrators, installers & direct end users.
  • OEMs – B2B customers requiring custom design, technology & other solutions used by integrators & installers in their own projects or sold to users.
  • Two major retail & wholesale influencer groups carry their kind of products.

We suggested that they engage with independent sales partners as a fast & effective solution to ensuring reach across the U.S. & Canada.

  • Engage local sellers with existing relationships
  • Create a unified service management process to help them make money
  • Back up the products with a strong media presence driven by value drivers & compelling content
  • Retain a key account team to handle national accounts and support locally based partners (& vice versa)
  • Promote aligned e-commerce that links into accounts managed by partners

What to do next

We stated that the recent macro in habits & expectations had created shifts that require new strategies to fulfil the expectation. Previous paradigms will probably be sustained in the short term. Still, they will not deliver market success or sustainability in the long term.

  • Online trading is growing faster, & the leaders will be those agile enough to engage meaningful digital value propositions.
  • If masterminded in harmony with the overall strategy, E-Commerce will create fast brand awareness & provide cohesion (not separation) from terrestrial sales channels.
  • The potential U.S. market for their new product line is around US$193m
  • The target regions’ potential market for the three target use cases.
  • And other more confidential details

We found that few players in the U.S. and Canada have masterminded both online and terrestrial business growth. With Amazon’s expected growth of online-only sales, it was a perfect time to look seriously at online sales of their traditional product groups.

The way forward

We suggested that they create a new & unique omnichannel offer that coordinates all market channels into a unified brand awareness with B2B & B2C being serviced by: 

  • Key account business developers
  • Independent Sales Partners
  • E-Commerce value propositions
  • Strong media promoting brand & value propositions
  • To provide an easy crossover of marketing resources & build brand awareness with omnichannel. Applied across the eight North American regions & focused upon three market channels.

Our proposed and accepted strategy consisted of the following: 

  • Ominchannel definition & organisational strucutre
  • Isolating the opportunity & defining the market
  • B2B & B2C growth strategy
  • The Vital Challenge of Generating Interest
  • Create retargeting programs & key drivers for customers
  • SEO, influencer marketing & mobile first.
  • How to do it

The result

Our client had a robust understanding of their current competitors’ plans, suggested markets to move into and a strong business development strategy to implement.

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