Components of Competitive Intelligence

Executive briefing

In order for a competitive intelligence report to be all encompassing there are many components that need to be accounted for in the process. Some of these components are starting points for where to look when considering competitors and industry goals. Others are sources to investigate when building a thorough report that covers all aspects that influence the industry. Regardless, they are all elements that make up the competitive intelligence methodology.

When it comes to reporting on competitive intelligence there are a few categories we use in order to provide information in the most comprehensive manner. These categories are as follows:

  • Competitors in the News

  • Competitor Human Capital Movement

  • Competitor Shifts

  • Competitor Job Listings: New Positions

  • Trade Show News

  • Social Media Review

  • Market/Stock Index

All of these categories prove themselves as vital to fully understanding your competitors and the industry as a whole. In order for you to view the full picture you need to be knowledgeable of all of these components as they often overlap and influence each other. Something such as a change in stock price or new job listing from a competitor might seem insignificant to begin with but as these signifiers add up they can often lend themselves to a larger understanding of what is happening with a competitor or where they might be planning to go.

Competitors in the News

When taking a look at competitors the first logical step would be to look for headlines in the news. This is a great way to see what big events have been happening as well as a possible opinion on public perception. Headlines can be positives or negatives, but they are always noteworthy events. Whether a competitor is releasing a new product or dealing with internal corporate drama these are things that you need to know in order to have a current understanding of your competition. While headlines are just a starting point, it can give you a general idea of where to look for further information. If a company is boasting expansion plans it would be valuable to see where they are headed and what kinds of expectations they might have.

Articles in the news are also valuable because you can track the progress of a story. You can see if that new headquarters actually got built or if that newly announced product did as well as projected. Instead of just focusing on one news story we are able to compile a bigger narrative that puts everything into context.

Competitor Human Capital Movement

After taking a look at headlines in the news we are able to narrow our search down to specific strategies your competitors are using. Human capital and any changes related to it are a great look into the day by day operations of your competitors. Being able to see where your competitors stand in human capital is important to see which strategies they might use and if they are looking to expand or reduce efforts. If a competitor is looking at improving its human capital it would be interesting to know why they are doing so and how.

A rise in human capital often signifies a company’s need to raise the benchmark for employee capabilities. Whether it is training on new equipment, implementation of new technology, or mandating a new certification these skills are often focused for the purpose of increasing individual employee productivity. If multiple competitors are making major adjustments to their human capital levels it might be in your best interest to look into these efforts too. If the industry standard raising above your employee’s level of comprehension you will soon find yourself falling behind.

Competitor Shifts

Shifts in competition are necessary events for you to keep an eye on. Competitors may shift in or out of direct competition with you. You never know when a competitor might decide to completely change its marketing strategy and enter a new market or decide to leave an old one. Similarly, you never know when a new competitor might show up in your industry, posing a possible threat. You should always know who you’re up against. Knowing that not all competitors operate the same you’ll want to adjust your strategies to counteract any shifts in competition. This way you can stay as efficient as possible while keeping pressure on those who decided to stay/enter your market.

Competitor Job Listings: New Positions

Something as simple as a competitor’s job listings can tell a lot about a company. There’s always a reason for a new job listing and it can signify a few different things. One, your competitor is looking to expand and needs to increase its employee base. If your competitor is looking to fill multiple management and operational positions they might be looking to operate on a larger scale. If they are looking to find applicants in a different region the might be looking to expand nationally, or internationally.

Two, A company might have an increase in job listings after an exit of previous employees. Whether this is because management did not like how the previous employees were operating or previous employees did not like how the management was operating, either situation lends itself to valuable insight into your competitors. When there are disagreements between management and employees it signifies a bigger issue with the company as a whole. In either situation there is probably a lack of communication and understanding between management and employees. This serious issue your competitor faces allows for you to take the opportunity to improve on their decline. In a situation like this you could acquire new, talented employees who might feel disenfranchised by your competitor or you could see if the management strategies you use might need to be adjusted, as to not face a similar issue with your employees.

While job listings aren’t a tell all be all, they are great signifiers into what could be going on with one of your competitors. If you notice a large update in job listings the next step is to start looking into other sources as to what is truly going on.

Trade Show News

Not everyone has the time and resources to send representatives to industry trade shows and looking through the top headlines the week after can often feel like you’re missing out. By receiving the most recent and pertinent news from trade shows and expos you can stay up to date on what is necessary for you, without having to search through all of the announcements and headlines. Trade shows are all about introducing new technology. It’s important to know when something new might be coming along to disrupt your industry. A failure to anticipate and adapt to change has been one of the biggest reasons for company downfalls.

Social Media Review

One of the biggest benefits of social media is that it gives you an easy way to view how big your audience is. Granted a social media audience isn’t always a one to one on your actual customer base, as an accurate social media following demands a dedicated management of your social media presence. In a world where more and more of our time is dedicated to being online, social media audiences start to hold more weight in how they reflect a company’s actual customer base.

Another great benefit of social media is being able to see consumer perception in its most direct form. People love to share their experiences and that isn’t limited when it comes to a customer’s experience with a product or service. Sure, people can be very dramatic, leading to some extreme depictions of their experiences but they are also quick to share when something goes well. Both positives and negatives should be taken into account when assessing a competitor’s overall perception from social media.

The way that competitors portray themselves on social media is also a great thing to observe. When it comes to how they handle criticism or promote their business, it’s important to see how they fit into the market. You might find out that a competitor is looking at covering a new market segment and it’s now up to you to decide if you will compete for their attention or look for a different audience.

Market/Stock Index

When it comes to public information about competitors the most obvious resource is market and stock indexes. Out of all of these components of competitive intelligence this is probably the one that you already spend some time following competitor’s actions with. Indexes take many of the previously discussed components into account when reporting on a company’s performance. The fact that a headline or announcement can be so strong in its influence on those buying and selling stocks shows just how valuable this information is. Indexes give a good, quick, view of a company and are often informed by a larger array of information.

Competitive Intelligence Reporting

Competitive intelligence is a great tool for understanding your competition and viewing your industry in a more encompassing manner. All of these components are key factors to informing an analysis. When ArchIntel presents you with a competitive intelligence report we want you to know that information is sourced from all aspects of your competitor’s operations. In order to make a confident decision you need the best information available.