What are Competitive Intelligence Programs?
While competitive intelligence is a valuable strategy for any industry, we recognize that certain competitive intelligence programs are more relevant than others, depending on what kind of business you operate. Maybe you are a regional business who is wondering if it is right to expand. You could be a successful startup looking to go public. Even a decades old local business who has never given much consideration to competitive strategy can find value in competitive intelligence. Clearly, factors like the size, reach, and industry of a company dictate what should be considered when providing competitive intelligence services but the overall goal should be the same: gathering an all-encompassing view of competitors, and the industry as a whole, in order to minimize the impact of the threats they provide.
Competitive Intelligence Methodology
When it comes to providing a comprehensive report of competitive intelligence there are a few steps that take place in order to generate those findings. First is to know what kind of business this report will be reported to. This should be an easy question to answer as they are the client and usually come to us in the first place. While an obvious question, it is a necessary one that needs to be answered so that we can start looking in the right place. Knowing the size, location, and industry of the company allows us to start looking in the right places.
Along with knowing what kind of business you operate its also important for us to know if there are any major plans or goals in your immediate future. If you are looking to launch a new product, open stores in a new market, or looking to increase investing funds its important for us to know that you have these objectives in mind. When we know about your goals, we can help look for information that could inform your decision making in relation to fulfilling these aspirations. If we find information that could help better inform decision making when it comes to accomplishing these goals, we will be sure to provide it to you in a timely manner.
Learning that a competitor is looking to move in one way or the other can be vital information, helping prove that following through with your strategy or holding off for a little while is the best idea. Competitive intelligence can also provide lessons on what works and what doesn’t. If a competitor decided to expand internationally but ignored crucial variables such as local perception and regulations, you can make sure not to make the same mistakes.
After we have gotten an idea of who you are and what your goals are, we can start researching. Our understanding of what kind of business you are gives us starting points for where to look for information. We will start looking into all of the publicly available resources that pertain to you and your goals.
For example, if you are an established tech/engineering company, such as a company in the aerospace and defense engineering industry, looking into market/stock index reports would be a useful resource. Considering most of these companies are publicly traded and are investor funded, a lot of information reported in these investing sources would lend itself to our research. That being said, a resource like market/stock index reports isn’t relevant to every company we provide competitive intelligence information to. If you are a small online retailer, things like stock reports are probably only relevant to your biggest competitors, who might not even be your direct competitors. A resource such as a competitor’s social media presence might be more relevant in learning what they are like.
There are so many different subsets of competitor information to interpret. This is why we must break down which areas will be most relevant to you. All of the publicly available data and information can be categorized into seven different categories.
Competitors in the News
Competitor Human Capital Movement
Competitor Job Listings: New Positions
Trade Show News
Social Media Review
These are our components of competitive intelligence. When reporting on our competitive intelligence analysis, all of our reporting is listed in these categories so that the information is clear and comprehensible.
When creating a competitive intelligence report, we make sure that all of the most vital information is highlighted. Taking into account your goals and aspirations, we try to give you the best recommendations and supportive evidence for decision making.
Follow Up Reports
After providing you with an initial report, we make sure that you continue to get quality data on the competitors in your industry. One of the biggest benefits to competitive intelligence is continuous and consistent information. An initial report is a good snapshot of the time in which the report was commissioned but in order to have true qualitative data you need to have a contemporary view of your competitors. The second you receive a competitive intelligence report it starts to date itself and its information will start to lose its value.
By having a consistent update on competitive intelligence, you are making sure you are up to date on all things pertaining to your industry and competition. Having consistent competitive intelligence reports also allow for you to have trackable data. Something might seem like a big threat in your initial report but six months later that threat may have played itself out. That being said, a major threat might start as a minimal issue and its good to track how that threat grows and how it can be stopped. Being able to track how and when a competitor’s actions are playing out is vital to understanding just how dangerous they can be. This only strengthens your decision making as it allows you to see the bigger picture on the industry at large.
Another major point as to why we provide follow up reporting is that different quarters might yield different results. As you would know, different times of year offer different results for your industry reporting. Whether you are an electronics distributor who benefits from the holiday boost or a transporter who benefits from the nicer weather and longer days in the summer to increase efficiency. We all wish our quarterly returns could yield positive results in an upward trajectory, but sometimes external factors need to be accounted for when looking at the full picture. When providing competitive intelligence reports we take this variable into account, making sure that we have a full understanding of your industry and what truly happens on a cyclical basis. This way we can tell what a natural fluctuation in reporting is and what is an actual threat. After getting a working history of your industry we can confidently provide assessment and recommendations.
Competitive Intelligence Reporting
Competitive intelligence can be a valuable tool in decision making and making projections. Regardless of industry or the size of your business, you can improve your overall efforts when it comes to taking on competitors and staying up to date in your industry.
While inspecting all avenues of information, learning from market reports and media headlines, we can craft a picture of the present state of competitor’s operations and learn what and where to address in the future. Industries are always changing, eventually all companies that refuse to update or enhance efforts are bound to fail or fall into obscurity. Threats are constantly arising, whether they be new competitors or a change in consumer taste, understanding these threats is vital to having a fruitful future in your industry.
All of these threats might offer different levels of impediment to your operations but its important to know where they stand in relation to you. Sometimes a competitor might have production problems due to natural or manmade issues affecting the area where their factories might be. This might be a problem for you if you happen to have operations in the same area but if you have your factories and shipping facilities located in a different area then this threat is not relevant to you. In fact this might be an opportunity for you because you are able to fulfill the demand in your industry left by your competitor’s stagnation.
When offering a competitive intelligence report, we look for opportunities as much as threats. By looking into all aspects of an industry’s operations we can formulate the bigger picture providing you with the information you need. We know that running a business, such as yours, takes full consideration and attention to maintain. It can be hard to put time into making sure you understand your competitors as well as you do your own operations. Through competitive intelligence we hope to provide you with all the information you need to cut to the decision making. When you have the information you need you are free to plan for the future, rather than struggling to keep up.