This article describes the planning process within Competitive Intelligence.
Planning is extremely important. Even before you start Googling, it is essential to understand what you need to do thoroughly. Why do you need to do it? And, what decisions you want to make based on the answers? This will help determine where you are now. And, where you want to be by understanding your marketplace, defining and measuring market information. Creating clear, as well as, relevant outcome-based Intelligence questions and much more.
Before you start collecting and analysing the information, you must be clear in what is it you are looking for and to ultimately achieve? Be clear where your pain is. It will create focus and enhance your chances of success by defining the problem you wish to solve.
It’s not as simple as collecting all the information you have on your rivals. All you get is data (history), snowed under with minimal direction as to what to do with it. Frustration will set in, and success will be measured by the amount of information you find, not the intelligence and subsequent action you derive from it. So, answer these initial questions:
Where are you now?
Who will be involved?
What threats do you face?
And, what do you want to find out and by when?
Getting Started model
• Why do you need to know the intelligence?
• How will you use the results? – Understand what current and future business decisions your firm wants to take
• Who will use the intelligence?
• What information is relevant, who needs it and how will you monitor it?
During the planning phase, try and develop 2 or 3 questions you really need answering. And, incorporating the above using this model I have developed:
Define the Issue
- Create a focused practical key question(s) and statement
- Understand if all parties understand and agree?
- And, what & when do you need to know?
- How will you use the Info?
- What do you already know?
Your competitive landscape changes all the time. Take time out to understand what you think you know is still valid. So ask:
- Are your clients, prospects, market and suppliers the same?
- What do you think of the market and the key players?
- What’s your opinion on new rivals strengths and weaknesses?
- What about that new service your other competitor has just introduced?
- Understand why is your service unique, and how are you perceived in the market?
- Which competitor has disappeared?
- Finally, has the market and your clients changed? How?
A planning process within Competitive Intelligence
This article described the planning process within Competitive Intelligence.