Competitor Intelligence Research & Market Intelligence is an essential aspect of any business. However, there are a few things to take into consideration when conducting Competitor Intelligence Research & Market Intelligence.
Hazard ahead and why the concern?
Companies take Health & Safety seriously, but when was the last time you sat down to discuss what competitive threats you are going to encounter over the next five years? Which competitors concern you the most? Why is that? What you think they do better than you? Is what you know about them correct? Get members of your team to independently complete a simple SWOT analysis on your competitors and then bring the results together. The competitors you should be most concerned about are the ones you never see.
When attempting to forecast the actions of your competitor, avoid the natural tendency to assume they think and act like you. If you want to know how your competitor is going to react, try to perceive threats and opportunities as they would see them. To do this, you must get to understand their values, misconceptions, bias, assumptions and, if they are from another country, their culture.
Just the facts, please
When viewing competitors/markets articles, to create excellent analysis, make a list of what you see. Don’t link any of the information together or read anything into it. Just record what you see. After listing and untangling the facts, after each item, ask:
- What does it mean?
- What should be done?
- And what are they not saying?
Nothing should be a surprise to you
Just using Competitive Intelligence so you can copy your competitors is not the answer. Most companies don’t want to be the same as their competition. They want to be better. Do you know your competitor’s real strategy, which customer segment they are focused on and how they differentiate themselves from you?
Never dismiss your findings that challenge your conclusions, opinions or experience. Please don’t throw out conclusions because initial results fail to support them. A divergence between sources information gives you an excellent opportunity to dig deeper and find better Intelligence.
Denial is the number one enemy of good Intelligence
Denial is a great tool to produce a poor strategy and encourage questionable decision making. Indeed, sometimes you can not see the wood for the trees, but by refusing to accept Intelligence, you may struggle to find the forest in the first place. A good starting point is to ask these questions:
- What are they planning?
- What does your competitor do? – Not as simple and straightforward question as it seems.
- Do their actions match their words?
- Where do they compete, which customers and niches?
- How are they going to fight in the future?
- Are their strategic objectives achievable and will they clash with yours?
- What options do we have to compete in this changing world?
- How will you differentiate against them?
- Can you isolate vulnerabilities to exploit?
Finally, Competitor Intelligence Research & Market Intelligence is important, and a number of things need to be taken into consideration. However, this article described how Market Intelligence is just as important and Health & Safety. Isolate which competitors you are most concerning and never assume they think and act like you. Also, we offered a couple of techniques and many questions to help with your Competitor Intelligence research.