How do we Conduct a Competitive Intelligence Project?

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How do we conduct a Competitive Intelligence project?

We are often asked how do we conduct a Competitive Intelligence project. Every project is different, but we tend to follow this sort of process to achieve an exceptional end product for our clients:

We custom-build every project

More than that, we custom design every target approach. We can create cover stories, set up models to capture data and source appropriate analytics. And then interview current and past personnel, suppliers and end-line customers of our target. We can set up market-facing attractions and use media in different ways to gain insights and evidence.

You can’t steal a lead on your competition if you don’t know where or who they are

Nor can you meet market needs if you have no knowledge of what these are. As you know, too many companies find it too easy to dismiss competitors as irrelevant. Others do not know their market well enough and are missing out on business. It’s a dangerous game to play.

The key to good Intelligence is asking great questions. 

We usually start by drilling down to find out what you really need to know by agreeing on a set of questions. The best questions give you answers you can act on. The process will be dependent on the subject and depth you would require, but the methodology usually looks something like the following.

We begin with activities to understand the market you work in

We look at the information available, define the industry-specific terminology and develop sources with an initial secondary research sweep. And we will create a realistic cover story and endeavour to answer the required questions. 

Filling knowledge gaps

We consider not having as much experience as you in your industry as an advantage. It allows us to get away with asking deliberately daft questions. The fact is, we always find someone keen to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

Asking the big questions

We then develop a more extensive investigation using primary research methods. In other words, we talk to people. Our comprehensive primary research capabilities and sources differentiate Octopus from general research companies. Representing around 70% of the data gathering, primary research takes place via in-depth face-to-face, telephone interviews, questionnaires, and receiving demonstrations of their products/services. Certainly, 100% of part one of this project will be primary, using local researchers. 

Talking to relevant people

Octopus will speak to industry executives, key players, customers, former employees and government agencies. Key opinion leaders, market analysts, expert observers, competitors and other knowledgeable sources. And even internal team members. We can also attend relevant trade shows.

Digging deeper

We may use some of our elicitation techniques to get interviewees to open up. The way we build our intelligence activities gives us access to in-depth information from highly credible sources and allows us to deal with critical issues associated with your key questions and your sectors’ future direction.

It’s about the analysis

We then correlate, cross-reference, challenge, and analyse the information gained in these conversations. We use structured analytical techniques, breaking all the information into smaller pieces. 

What’s going on? 

We can then sort and look for patterns and trends. And use tools like Analysis of Competing Hypothesis(ACH) to isolate all possible explanations of what’s going on. We work hard to apply ‘Occam’s Razor’ in often complex environments – favouring clear and concise simplicity and avoiding unnecessary complexities. We define the who, what, where and when, and how of the situation.

Presenting our findings

We provide you with useable Intelligence and options you may wish to take in a report, presentation, or regular Red-flag bulletins. Where appropriate, we will also make use of the visual mapping of each competitor. If required, we are able to work with you to make the most of our findings.

At the outset

We prefer to establish a ‘Statement of Work’ (SOW) so everyone is in agreement and is aware of the necessary details, timings, costs and so on.

How do we conduct a Competitive Intelligence project?

In conclusion, a successful Competitive Intelligence project requires a lot of groundwork, research, and organisation. By following a transparent process and taking the time to understand the client’s needs, we can provide them with an informative and insightful report that gives them a competitive edge.

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What is competitive intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is the finding & critical analysis of information to make sense of what’s happening & why. Predict what’s going to happen & give the options to control the outcome. The insight to create more certainty & competitive advantage.

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