How Can Competitive Intelligence Map Your Future Competition?

This article is called how can Competitive Intelligence map your future competition? 

When considering our business and market sector’s future, we tend to be drawn to new technology trends. What new piece of tech is going to make you and your customers life simpler? Or what new innovation is going to change the market?

Once you have considered new tech, the chances are you are then thinking about your competitors. The trouble is that you can be blindsided by new revolutionary tech and what your competitors are up to. After all, we do Competitive Intelligence, not Competitor Intelligence. 

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence is the collection, collation and analysis of information to help you find out what’s happening. Explain why it’s happening, outline how things could develop, and offer possible options to make better decisions. Competitive Intelligence maps the situation out so you avoid surprises, think more moves ahead, minimise uncertainty, differentiate and stay ahead of the competition. It’s an unspoken, hidden key to success.

What happens next is more about what your competitors are claiming to be working on and how flying cars will change everything. 

It would be best if you want to thoroughly understand your market is to also go beyond your own competitive sector. 

If you know what forces are driving market changes, you may find a pattern in the developing trends and needs. Take time to look at and analyse:

  • Technology trends
  • Rules and regulations 
  • Economic conditions 
  • Customer needs
  • Demographic trends
  • Competitors
  • Uncertainties

Which technology trends are going to have a positive or negative impact on your business? How are cloud storage developments, Machine Learning, Blockchain, AI, big data, mobile and wearable tech, virtual & augmented reality and the like going change your industry? And those sectors around you? Technology will always change the way your business will operate in the future.

Rules and regulations

What future rules and government regulations will affect your market? Keep a careful eye on political news for these. Regulation changes are to be expected as politicians like to claim to make a difference when in power. What new laws will be coming into effect in the market? And what additional regulations will the development of new technology and communications need?

Economic conditions

How is your market you are in fairing? Is it in a recession or experiencing rapid growth? What do the economists, central banks and government tell you the way the economy is going? Will the economic rules and regulations change? Are consumers confident and spending money? How are the interest rates and fuel prices looking?

Customer needs

Your customer’s needs are the most crucial aspect of your business. Nothing else matters compared to customer needs. It doesn’t matter how great your new gismo, how many Steve Jobs books you have read or how cool your branding is. If you don’t meet your customers needs, you are dead in the water. So, isolate the essential customer’s needs in your market. Look at where their pain points are and how the market is failing to resolve them. 

What’s happening to the people living in your market? How well educated are they? Is unemployment a problem, or is the political state of the country unstable? Is the population ageing? Or are millennials having children and settling down into careers? How do these trends affect your business and industry?

Competitors

What does the competition look like in the market? These could be household names, but it’s the smaller ones that can get under the radar that could do the most damage. And these smaller competitors are likely going to be a significant concern for you in the future. Remember, it is scarce indeed for a substantial competitor to wipe you out. It’s more likely that the competitor who could bring the most damage to you is not even trading yet. 

Better picture

As you analyse and collate the information you have found, you will begin to see a better picture. A clear sight of what’s happening in your market and future signals as they take shape. Discuss what you and your teams believe are the most important trends. Create lists on post-it notes and look for patterns. Determine the top 8 things you need to consider.

Then analyse these top 8 deeper. Understand what’s behind your choices? Determine how these will change your business and market in the future?

You don’t live and work in a static market. It is continuously changing, And these changes are only going to get faster and faster. Ongoing monitoring and surveillance of your market and the competitors within it needs to be done. It’s no longer just a nice idea. 

You create a picture of what’s happening in your market today. And as a result, you will begin to develop a context of what will happen in the future. Next week, next year and even the next decade.

You will understand what the differences are going to be? What are the warning signs you expect to see over time? 

How can Competitive Intelligence map your future competition?

Only time will tell which assumptions will turn out to be right or wrong. But as Jack Reacher and many others say, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst”. This article was called how can Competitive Intelligence map your future competition? 

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