Why a desktop study to answer who is my competition no longer cuts it.

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Why a desktop study to answer who is my competition no longer cuts it.

Within competitive intelligence, there’s a persistent blind spot: the fixation on traditional competitors. This blind spot is usually identified through out-of-date experience or a quick desktop study.

Businesses must rethink their competitive intelligence strategies. Dive deeper than the superficial layer of readily available information. We challenge the entrenched belief that competitors only look and act like us.

The competitor you know through desktop studies may differ from your competitor. And they certainly won’t be in the future.

Silent disruptors

Picture this: You’re locked in on the usual suspects, familiar foes you’ve combatted for years. Disruptors silently move around a sector you never saw as a threat. This is the crux of the real danger. Your true competitor could be anywhere at all—a garage-based tech startup or an innovator straddling many sectors. It could even come from a consumer trend altering the market dynamics. We’re navigating an era of blurred business boundaries and unforeseen industry collisions. A tech company might become a healthcare provider overnight. A retail behemoth could venture into streaming services. In this context, desktop studies are rudimentary at best. Scratching the surface of a vast, uncharted insight ocean of potential unexplored competitors.

This evolving landscape demands a reevaluation of competitive intelligence strategies. Digging deeper than the superficial layer of readily available information is imperative. We must challenge the notion that competitors mirror our operations and market presence. The critical question to ponder is “Who are our current competitors?” but “Who could become our competitors?” Vital when navigating a landscape where threats emerge from any direction or moment. Do we play it safe, clinging to conventional competitor lists? Or do we dare to venture into the unknown? It’s the bold and the curious who will spearhead the competitive advantage journey.

Don’t be passive, waiting for an unseen competitor to disrupt your market. Instead, be proactive in redefining your understanding of competition. Traditional desktop study or secondary research is like fishing with a net. 

They will redefine you

You catch what’s visible, the expected. The real threat is the competitors who could redefine the game. Like elusive creatures in the ocean’s depths, all are unseen by those relying on surface-level methods, no matter how big your net is. Competitive intelligence requires a radical transformation. We need to move from data collectors to strategic explorers, venturing into the deep. We’re in an era where a tech firm in Silicon Valley can disrupt the automotive industry. Or a small startup can revolutionise finance. Relying on desktop research results in a risky oversight.

Leveraging technology

There’s an inherent bias towards direct competition within a comfortable and familiar framework. But consider this: your next significant competitor might be outside your industry. They could be operating in an adjacent field or even a different sector. Leveraging the technology or consumer trends that could soon render your model obsolete.

We need a mindset shift, lateral thinking, and analytical acumen. We must also factor in indirect competitors, potential disruptors from other sectors, and changes in consumer behaviour indicative of emerging threats. Competitive intelligence is moving beyond an obsession with generative AI and data analytics. It must embrace a broader, more interdisciplinary approach, integrating insights from diverse fields, such as technology, sociology, economics, and psychology.

Why a desktop Research to answer who is my competition no longer cuts it.

Competitive intelligence hinges on its ability to break away from traditional moulds. To explore uncharted territories. By doing so, you identify threats from unlikely sources. And discover new opportunities for innovation and growth. This challenge is daunting but thrilling. It will distinguish the visionaries from the followers in the competitive advantage game.

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