Eight great reasons for Competitive Intelligence

In this article named eight great reasons for Competitive Intelligence, we offer our definition of Competitive Intelligence and provide you with our thoughts on it's uses will influence:

  • How you operate and how your people function
  • How your processes work
  • And how you are all performing
  • How are you selling
  • How you put Competitive Intelligence at the heart of your business to ensure you are not cast adrift by:
    • The activities of your competitors
    • By changes in your market
    • By the ever-evolving expectations of your customers

Competitive Intelligence answers these and many more questions. But what is Competitive Intelligence?

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence allows you to avoid surprises, think more moves ahead than your rivals, and minimise uncertainty when you make business decisions. It gives you the ability to see through or stay ahead of the competition. And in many cases, can be the unspoken, hidden key to success. Here are the eight great reasons for Competitive Intelligence are as follows:

1. Who is your competition?

The names of your immediate competitors may be well known to you. But does that tell the whole picture? You should also consider the stories behind their names. What makes them tick and how do they really manage their business. Is it's real-world structure the same as the one it presents to the public? Then there’s the competition which is not so obvious at first glance. The world is changing all the time, and companies continually add to their products to increase income.

What about the next leader in your market who is currently building a world beating solution in her back bedroom? So, are there businesses unknown to you at present who are beginning to impinge on your territory? What about new market entrants? Also, are you fully up to speed with how they might threaten your current position? Our Strategic Intelligence services answers these questions.

2. Where are your competitors weak?

It’s easy to know where your competitors are strong. They’re only too happy to tell the world all about their amazing products, value and service. But where are they weak? What are they hiding from the market and their (and your) customers? And are they really as strong as they claim.

It’s important to identify your competitors’ Achilles heel. In our experience they all have one. It may take a bit of digging. You may need to ask questions where they’re not normally asked. But arming yourself with knowledge of your rivals’ weaknesses is one of the most powerful marketing assets you can have.

3. How is your marketing evolving?

Just when you think you’ve got a handle on your market, bang, it’s only gone and changed again. It’s hardly surprising. New entrants from abroad, often bringing a low-cost alternative to the market, tend to shake things up a bit. Companies going bust leave a void for others to fill. At the other end of the spectrum, mergers can introduce fresh competition into your market. Every market evolves and adapts to changing consumer and business needs. The question is, how much do you know what is happening behind the scenes? Have you really got the full picture of your market in terms of its reach and make up? Or are you too close to see what’s coming over the horizon?

4. How deep does it go?

You research. You network. And you keep your eyes and ears open by listening to your suppliers and your customers. But such inquiries can only ever take you so far. The reality is that such an approach is restricted to asking about only what you know. A much more effective way of gathering intelligence is to forget everything you think you know and start from scratch. That means questioning everything and everyone. Your competitors’ customers, their suppliers, their employees past and present. It means conducting deep research into their finances, processes and organisation.

5. What unique space can you occupy?

Every business should have a purpose. And this purpose should give rise to how your brand is perceived. But how is your brand perceived? What opportunities do you have for standing out from the crowd? In short, what is the unique space you can own in your market? Having intelligence on your market and competitors means you can define your unique market space. You can then occupy that space and defend it against all your current competitors and new market entrants. This means digging down into what you do and how you do it, and presenting this position in a meaningful, compelling and dynamic way.

6. How are your customers changing?

Consumer expectations are growing all the time. When once we may have thought they wanted quality, then they wanted value. When we thought they wanted value, they suddenly valued service. Before we knew it, service was no longer enough and new experiences became top of the consumer shopping list. And now they want an App and VR option.

What does this mean for your customers? How are you responding to the promise of immediate gratification delivered by so many online businesses? How are you shaping up in the era of product being required to say something unique not about you, but about your customer? And how are you making plans for meeting future consumer trends, the seeds of which are being sown all the time in all kinds of places? If you are to outlast your competitors you need to really know what your customers want, how you make yourself even better by refining your products for them.

7. How are you protecting your future?

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘future-proofing your business’. But what does it actually mean? It certainly doesn’t mean creating products for tomorrow. Tomorrow is unknown. To us, protecting your future means staying light on your feet. It means having the agility to respond quickly and decisively to the changing expectations of your customers. It means having constant access to market and competitor intelligence to respond quickly and decisively to any new moves on their part. And it means keeping a close eye on your markets so that you’re not meeting a need that is on the wane, but instead meeting needs which are on the rise.

8. Is your offering missing any tricks?

To produce any kind of progress, everything you learn about your competitors, your customers and your market must be translated into engaging propositions. It’s fine having the Intelligence, but to work hard for you, you need to communicate your purpose to the world. So the world knows what you’re all about. To do this means defining your offering in a way that is simple, memorable yet highly desirable. In our experience, many businesses can exploit gaps in the market that they didn’t know were there simply by clearly defining their offering – even if this means adjusting it.

Summary

In this article entitled eight great reasons for Competitive Intelligence we offered our definition of Competitive Intelligence and provided you with our thoughts on it's uses. How Competitive Intelligence can influence how you operate and how your people function. Also how your processes work. And how you are all performing. And how are you selling. Perhaps most important of all, how you put Competitive Intelligence at the heart of your business.

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