Learn the power of Competitive Intelligence: The Unseen Edge

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Learn the power of Competitive Intelligence: The Unseen Edge. Competitive Intelligence 101, part 1.

This is the first of a rapid series of articles to introduce competitive intelligence and its power to disrupt your competitive advantage positively. To turbocharge your 2024 with article one – Learn the power of Competitive Intelligence: The Unseen Edge. Competitive Intelligence 101, part 1.

Unlock the Power of Competitive Intelligence

Staying ahead isn’t just about what you know in the fast-paced business world. It’s also about knowing what your competitors are up to. That’s where competitive intelligence comes in. The secret sauce can give your business the edge. Unlike traditional market research, competitive intelligence dives deeper. It offers you a panoramic view of the competitive landscape.

Academics will tell you, armed with their pointy sticks, that it’s not just about your competitors. It’s about your market and all the other stakeholders influencing you and the market. This is true. They are bang on. But we have found that 90% of our clients ask about competitors. And the customer is always right, so we’ll talk about competitors for now. 

It’s not just about collecting data; it’s about making sense of it. What are the patterns? What’s the bigger picture?

Not Just Data, But a Story

Picture this: Your main competitor has suddenly reduced prices. Traditional market research might tell you that, but competitive intelligence explains why. Are they clearing stock, responding to new market entrants, or changing their business model? Competitive intelligence turns raw data into a compelling narrative about your competitors: 

  • Strategies 
  • Intentions
  • Weaknesses

Real-World Game Changer

Let’s take a page from Apple’s playbook. Back in 2001, they weren’t the first to think of digital music players. But through an effective collection of insights, they realised the market was cluttered with complex devices. Apple’s insight? People craved simplicity. Enter the iPod – simple, sleek, and a game changer.

This was not just a product launch; it was a masterclass in competitive intelligence. By studying its competitors and understanding market needs, Apple recognised that we were craving a more intuitive and stylish way to listen to music on the go. While others focused on technical features, Apple saw the unmet need for simplicity and style. A finding rooted in competitive intelligence. At the same time, Sony was looking at how to create a bigger compact disc capacity. To cram more music onto each disc to play on their new Walkmans.  

Practical Tips to Get Started

Start with a Framework

Establish a structured approach to gathering, analysing, and utilising competitive intelligence. This may involve setting up: 

  • A dedicated team. 
  • Assigning competitive intelligence tasks to different departments
  • Appointing a quality competitive intelligence agency to support them

Look Beyond the Obvious

Start with public sources – websites, press releases, and financial reports. But don’t stop there. Attend industry events, network, and gather insights from informal conversations. Talk to people.

Look beyond financial reports and company websites. Forums, social media, patent filings, and job postings can provide insights into their strategies and plans. Talk to people. 

Connect the Dots

It’s not just about collecting data; it’s about making sense of it. What are the patterns? What’s the bigger picture? This is where your strategic thinking comes into play. Oh yes, and talk to people.

Analyse Competitor Behaviour

Understanding your competitor’s actions is crucial. Are they launching new products, changing their pricing strategy, or entering new markets? Each of these actions can provide clues about their overall strategy.

Read More: Can You Use SWOT for Competitor Analysis?

Use competitive intelligence to spot emerging trends in your industry. This can include changes in consumer preferences, technological advancements, or regulatory shifts.

Ethics First

Remember, competitive intelligence is about gathering insights ethically and legally. There’s a fine line between competitive intelligence and corporate espionage. And if you do find a secret, ask yourself what you can do with it. 

Leverage Technology

Use tools and platforms to track competitor activities, market trends, and customer sentiments. AI and databases are your allies here. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Alerts can help track online mentions and competitor activities. Try Klue out, too. But remember, they are not your only allies, and they often let you down. It’s easy (and frustrating) to sit on a laptop all day and “leverage technology”. But talking to or messaging people who will know the answer is just as powerful. 

Turn Insights into Strategy

The ultimate goal of competitive intelligence is to inform strategic decisions. It may be a new marketing strategy. Or a product innovation or entering a new market. Use your competitive intelligence to guide these decisions.

Stay Agile and Adaptable

Competitive intelligence insights should help you stay flexible and responsive to market changes.

Keep It Continuous 

Competitive intelligence isn’t a one-off project. It’s a continuous process. The market evolves, and so should your understanding of it.

Understanding Competitive Intelligence

At its core, competitive intelligence involves gathering and analysing information about: 

  • Competitors
  • Market trends
  • Industry developments

All to support strategic decision-making. And it’s different to basic market research. Market research is an aspect of competitive intelligence. It looks at general market trends and consumer behaviours. Competitive intelligence digs deeper into the specifics of what your competitors are doing. And how that impacts your strategic positioning.

Learn the power of Competitive Intelligence: The Unseen Edge

In conclusion, competitive intelligence isn’t a luxury in today’s cutthroat business environment. It’s an absolute necessity. Not that you have to use an agency. You can do it for yourself. Competitive intelligence is the difference between reacting, strategising, and following and leading. Start incorporating competitive intelligence into your business strategy. Then, watch as you gain insights and foresight into the ever-evolving market dynamics.

Stay tuned for our next article, where we’ll dive into the art of gathering intelligence. That’s ethically, effectively, and efficiently. Remember, in business, knowledge isn’t just power; it’s profit.

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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.

This is a drawing of the Octopus Intelligence Logo By Octopus Competitive Intelligence, Due Diligence, Competitor Analysls, Market Analysis, Competitor Research and Strategic Business Development to beat your competitors, increase sales and reduce risk


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