Getting Started In Competitive Intelligence Analysis

Competitive INtelligence

Competitive Intelligence Analysis

Are you looking to incorporate competitive intelligence into your business but don’t know where to start? Competitive intelligence is an all encompassing process that takes a deeper look at your competitors and industry as a whole. Because of this larger scope of interest it can be difficult to know where to start but once you get a better idea of the competitive intelligence process it can make a lot more sense.

One of the first places to start when beginning your competitive intelligence analysis is with understanding the competitive landscape in which your company operates. Knowing the ins and outs of what makes your industry successful and stand out from other industries. Are you in a high tech industry with fast changing technologies? How about a customer facing industry that relies on understanding the needs and wants of today’s consumers? Maybe you are in a B2B industry and need to know how to connect with these other companies, building a relationship that is professional yet courteous? 

Understanding your competitive landscape is key to knowing where to start in your competitive intelligence research. By knowing what is valued in your industry you can start to outline some questions you would like answered. When you have these questions clearly stated you can put yourself on a path towards where to look.

Components of Competitive intelligence

Components of Competitive Intelligence

Once you have started outlining what you wish to accomplish with competitive intelligence it’s time to start researching. The different sources of which competitive intelligence information comes from make up the components of competitive intelligence. These components make up the information detailed in a competitive intelligence report. The components of competitive intelligence are as follows: 

  • Competitors in the News

  • Competitor Human Capital Movement

  • Shifts in Competitors

  • Competitor Job Listings

  • Trade Show News

  • Social Media Review

  • Market/Stock Index

All of these components offer potential places in which to look for competitor insight. Not all of them may be as applicable as others to your specific business. If you/your competitors are not publicly traded, market/stock indexes might not offer much insight but that doesn’t mean no information might come from looking at current reports. 

Keep in mind the specific components that offer you the most information when it comes to competitive intelligence but don’t completely write off a specific component that might not initially offer the most information. 

Competitive Intelligence news

Competitors in the News

Competitors in the news is usually a pretty all encompassing component of competitive intelligence. We all want our businesses to be covered by third party sources. So publications are highly sought after. This means that your competitors often have news sources talking about them too. 

It might not be your first instinct to read about your competitors, especially if it is favorable. But, this can be a great way of knowing what they are up to. Any big news that is announced will be posted in this manner. While all news sources come with their own biases, it can be a good way to gage public perception of this company. Maybe the new product they just announced isn’t being perceived as well as they expected. This can be a great learning lesson for your company, so you don’t make the same mistakes.

Competitor Human Capital Movement

Any change in human capital is a great insight into a competitor’s day to day operations. Human capital can clue you into any strategies a competitor might be taking on. A competitor might be expanding or decreasing efforts, and this can be one of the signifiers that is the case.

A rise in human capital is often a signifier that a company is looking to raise the benchmark of what is expected of their employees. Whether it be incorporating new technologies or skills this can signify a company wants to increase the comprehension level of their staff. It’s important to take these actions into consideration so you do not fall behind.

Shifts in Competitors

If a competitor shifts in or out of a market it can drastically change your business strategy. A competitor who used to be your direct competitor might leave your market and a strange new competitor might take their place. The strategy used for one competitor isn’t necessarily the best strategy used for another. If that is the case, it’s time to start considering a new plan of action for the future.

Competitor Job Listings

The kinds of job listings a competitor lists can be a great way to know which direction they are going in. If a competitor is looking for new employees to fill vacancies in a region outside of their current area of operation it can signify an expansion. 

A situation such as a continuous relisting of a position can signify that they are having trouble finding the right candidate, or that the people they are choosing do not fit their company expectation. Whether this is due to the employee or the company it can show distress and a possibility for bigger issues in that company.

Trade Show Intelligence

Trade Show News

Maybe your industry is one that has an annual trade show where new technologies or techniques are displayed. It can be a costly and time consuming endeavor to actually attend these events. However, competitive intelligence research can provide these updates with ease. The kinds of information that comes out of these events can often shape the face of an industry and what is expected from the future, it’s best to not be left behind in these kinds of scenarios. 

Social Media Review

Many companies have a social media presence and it can be a great insight into who that company is and how they operate. Social media is a great place for companies to share announcements and connect with their customers. This offers a public record of how a company interacts with its customers and what those customers actually think of that company. While people can be hyperbolic on the internet, reviews and comments can give you a true view into their consumer’s mindset.

Market/Stock Index

You probably already spend a lot of time looking at the market when considering competitor’s actions. It’s accessible, updated frequently, and categorized by a numeric value. This quick snapshot of a competitor’s status is not an exclusive result. It is often affected by the other components in which we have already discussed. 

The fact that a headline or announcement has such a strong influence on the buying and selling of stock shares shows just how valuable competitive intelligence information is. An oversight of information can cause catastrophic results for your business operations.