What’s Meant by The Term Competitive Intelligence?

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What’s meant by the term Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence involves gaining a good understanding of your competition. And prepare for future strategies competitors may pull out of the bag. Strategies that could potentially get them ahead of your company. Competitive Intelligence enables your company to grow by gaining relevant knowledge and insights to ensure long-term success. This article asks what’s meant by the term Competitive Intelligence?

Despite you knowing how powerful Competitive Intelligence is, not everyone understands it. It’s often confused with Business Intelligence or Market Intelligence. This means that it’s important to distinguish it from the other two, as it’s very much its own thing. And like all things out there, it is constantly adapting and evolving as time goes on. Using insights and real-time data to make good, decisive decisions.

By using Competitive Intelligence, a business will perform so much better. This is due to obtaining relevant knowledge to build better strategies. Seeing where your market is heading will give you a head’s up on any trends that may start to appear and any trends that involve the actions of your competitors. You conduct market analysis.

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.

Differentiating Competitive Intelligence 

As mentioned before, Competitive Intelligence is different from Business Intelligence. But, you may not know that all three forms of Intelligence can work together in some cases. Many companies can use all three to their advantage, especially with a clear view of their external environment. Let’s remind ourselves of the details of each one.

We have Competitive Intelligence

We have Competitive Intelligence. As we’ve discussed, this is when you gain information on your competitors. To give your company something to use to their advantage when it comes to getting ahead of them. Competitive advantage is provided through analysing the data collected. Learning what to do in the future, identifying any risks or threats, and working out how to combat them. You conduct market analysis and competitor analysis within Competitive Intelligence.

Moving on to Market Intelligence

Moving on to market intelligence. Unsurprisingly, it focuses primarily on what’s happening in the market rather than market specifics like a particular competitor. A company’s entire external environment is analysed, noticing specific trends in the market. This approach also examines the regulatory environment, leaving no stone unturned. We argue that Competitive Intelligence and market intelligence are the same, and Competitive Intelligence is market intelligence.

And finally, we have Business Intelligence. It focuses on your organisation at its core. Rather than analysing external factors, like your competitors, Business Intelligence highlights internal factors. This could be anything from your finances to your employees. Learning more about your business could open up more doors to success as it will isolate. Something you may previously have been unaware of.

How to properly conduct Competitive Intelligence

To succeed when it comes to beating your competition, there are three stages to follow. Let’s first discuss the first of these three stages: ‘ collection’. This stage involves the collection of information to gain insight. 

Although this first stage may seem complicated, it is vital. After all, without gathering any intelligence, what can you do? Besides, there is always help if you need it. From the likes of technological automation, for example. This may even prove to be a more effective method of data collection.

However, this tech will not replace human input and thinking. Well, at least not yet and for a considerable time in the future. The biggest issue is knowing when to stop collecting information. And where to look for the info. There’s more place than competitor marketing and their social media reports. 

Now, the second stage is ‘discovery’. Where the information you have found is collected and brought together and analysed, anything within the data that is proven to be of value is exploited. This will, of course, provide you with a boost, a real advantage against your competitors.

And finally, we have the third stage – ‘collaboration’. This is when you get to benefit your company. And by company, we mean your entire organisation. The insights that you now have from analysing your collected data are shared. Making sure everyone is in the know will ensure that the wisdom you have acquired is used fully. A whole business must be in on the act to beat a competitor. 

Would Competitive Intelligence prove to be the right approach for your company?

A Competitive Intelligence strategy is key if you want to beat your competitors. You benefit from building one. A company that adopts such a strategy has to accept that they are at significant risk of getting beaten by others. As you can imagine, this would have many consequences and could deny them any long-term success.

Competitive Intelligence is the best way to beat your competition. It’s essential to stay ahead of your competitors in a saturated market. Businesses can also use tools to keep ahead. Competitive Intelligence tools are designed to help you prosper in the face of competition. But these tools can’t make the right decisions to combat competitor actions. They can’t make wrong ones either. They can’t make any decisions at all. 

Is Competitive Intelligence really as important as some say it is?

Competitive Intelligence is very important. Perhaps more important than it has ever been before. There’s never been a better time for you to adopt a Competitive Intelligence strategy. The external environment is constantly changing, adapting and growing as time goes on. And with competitor marketing strategies. They are getting smarter and smarter. This means competitors are going places that you may not be unless you try to stay ahead of them at all times. After all, innovation is rife, and you must keep up.

If your organisation wants to succeed, then you should use Competitive Intelligence. If you are using a platform to assist your research or doing it without one, the data you collect will be like gold dust. And you don’t need a platform, especially at first. Everything that you find of relevance could be beneficial to your business. And with so much information out there, your competitors won’t know you’re coming. You will have the greatest weapon in your defence, the perfect tool. But be people-powered, not platform blind. This article asked what’s meant by the term Competitive Intelligence?

Words by Billy Devereux-Dixon

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