What is Competitive Intelligence?


Many executives ask the question, What is Competitive Intelligence?

Simply put, Competitive Intelligence (CI) is an all-encompassing view of your competitor’s strategies and actions. When it comes to business operations, we know that it already takes a lot of proficiency and attention to run your own business, let alone keep an eye on your competition. By choosing ArchIntel to provide competitive intelligence you will receive an in-depth view of competitor’s bidding strategies based on public information. These reports source information from new articles, customer and competitor interviews, government records, and other public files. Through competitive intelligence you will be given the ability to maintain a competitive stride in your industry so that you can focus on coming out ahead in the future.

ArchIntel provides critical competitive intelligence along with situational awareness of your market, associates, and industry environment. This ensures that each report is all encompassing while providing critical information so that real decisions can be made.

Competitive intelligence sources public information from a variety of sources that builds its comprehensive analysis of competitors and the industry as a whole. No information is sourced illegally through espionage or other unlawful actions. The focus on competitive intelligence research is to get a better understanding of the business environment outside of your company, while competing companies are a part of this it’s important to look at other factors such as consumer actions and public perception.

Importance of Competitive Intelligence

When you spend all of your time thinking about the concerns of your company it can be hard to see your company or industry from an outside or consumer perspective. Through commissioning an external competitive intelligence report, you are able to gain a more unbiased view of the world you inhabit. This way new ideas, concepts, and methods can arise that might not come to fruition otherwise.

Often companies have spent so long in their industry that they are unaware of new trends or competitors that might accumulate as potential threats. Even if these companies do research and find out about these new developments, they often do so at their own pace. This can be one of the biggest faults in business operations. When a company thrives in an industry for a long period of time, their confidence is often inflated giving them a false sense of security. A competitive intelligence analysis from ArchIntel can make sure you stay on top of threats and know how to minimize their impact on your business.

Competitor Mapping

One of the best ways to view competitors on a critical level is through competitor mapping. Competitor mapping allows for you to get a visual comparison of your brand, product, or overall company with your competitor counterparts. This is often done by comparing two variables on a scatter plot graph, listing your company and competitors in relation to each other. This allows for you to see exactly where you stand in your industry. Depending on what it is you are exactly looking for, ArchIntel can provide information on your market position in relation to variables such as price, consumer perception, and location. This is a great way to see where you really stand via a quick visual and it can easily be used to compare change with each new report.

If your company has never considered competitive mapping it can really give you a clear understanding of your company and which areas you should be focusing in. It is a great benefit to know details about your company such as how your product/service prices compare to the competition or which locations you have the strongest influence in. This lets you know where your efforts have succeeded or failed and allows you to reevaluate your strategies. If you are dominating in a market, you’ll know what kinds of expenses you’ll need to cover in order to maintain that lead, and if you are struggling, you’ll be able to know that you either need to increase efforts or pull out of that market. Often these results are the most vital checkpoints for decision making. Annual revenue reports of your own company can only show so much. You may be doing good or bad in relation to you own business and its goals, but no business exists in a vacuum. You could end the year in the black but that might not be a positive if multiple of your competitors are doing so as well. It’s important to have internal goals but the bigger picture of industry goals allow for a more fruitful longevity. Competitor mapping allows for these goals to be easily set and updated on a regular basis.

Technological Advancements and Changes in Industry Standards

While learning the status of competitor’s actions is an important part of competitive intelligence, learning about new technologies and consumer opinions are just as vital. One of the best ways to find out about new industry technology and methods of improved efficiency are through competitive intelligence research. One of ArchIntel’s main resources when it comes to competitive intelligence reports is 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.

Knowing the technological advancements of your industry is a vital step towards holding a competitive edge. If the last few decades have taught us anything it’s that technological advancements have influenced every industry’s methods of operation. No business is able to operate the same way it did 30 years ago without taking considerable losses in its market position or reach of influence. This doesn’t mean that you have to adopt every new technology that is announced but given a competitive intelligence report that focuses on providing you with all the information you need, you’ll be aware of what’s new; allowing you to make the informed decision of if it’s right for you. The biggest threat that comes from technological advancement isn’t the technology itself but the ignorance of not seeing its potential influence on your industry.

Consumer Perception

Consumer perception is another vital component to understanding your company. You may do some of your own consumer research, but you will often get more valuable and honest information through competitive intelligence research. Not only will competitive intelligence compare consumer perception of your company to competitors, but it will be done in an impartial manner. Often companies don’t receive the right information from their research because they are the ones conducting the surveys.

When a company asks for consumer feedback itself, they often receive a skewed view because those looking to respond are the extremes on both ends of the spectrum. You might receive complaints from a vocal minority who had a bad experience and just as equally you might receive responses from those who’ve had such great service that they just feel so compelled to respond. These two types of survey respondents have valid experiences that should be taken into account but often this research leaves out the larger population that falls somewhere in the middle.

By having consumer perception research done independently you are allowing for a wider range of opinions to be expressed. It is also valuable to have an independent study done because it will be for the market in general rather than just your company. This way you are able to see how consumers really feel when considering all options at once. The fact that this research is done independent of one specific company allows for no clear influence to come through on the researchers end. This way survey respondents are able to provide their honest views of each competitor without knowing if their words will hold stronger influence in relation to one company or another.

Competitive Intelligence Benefits

When operating a company with such devotion and attention to detail it can be hard to take a step back and consider things from a wider point of view. Taking the chance to look at competitors, new technologies, and the industry as a whole is not only a smart thing to do, it’s a crucial step in making sure your company has a realistic view of itself. Without this unfiltered look in the mirror there’s no guarantee that you are getting the true impression of where your company really is and how it is doing.

With competitive intelligence reports from ArchIntel you aren’t just getting a one-time snapshot of you and your industry, you’ll get a chance to commit to a regular update, allowing for all new advancements and information to come straight to you. With this, trends can be tracked and goals can be assessed on a frequent basis. There’s no need for you to split efforts between business operation and market research. This way you can have the information presented to you, keeping you informed on which directions your competitors are taking and where the industry is shifting. After acquiring this information you’ll be free to make informed decisions that are right for you.