The biggest room in this world is the room for improvement.
No matter how established a business you are, the day you stop innovating and improving is the day your downturn begins. Today, when the market competition is at its peak and customers expect nothing short of delight in terms of products and services, constant improvement is the only way to ensure long-term business growth. This is where the importance of competitive intelligence grows multifold.
Table of Contents
What is Competitive Intelligence (CI)
Competitive Intelligence refers to the process of gathering, analyzing and using insights collected from research on competitors, customers, markets and other factors that influence business performance. It is important for organizations to understand their competitive landscape, challenges and growth opportunities. Competitive Intelligence is an essential component of developing business strategy. It provides you with valuable insights into the competitors, marketplace dynamics and various challenges that you might face in a structured, disciplined and ethical manner.
Components of Competitive Intelligence
1. Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis involves collecting information about your competition that will help you understand their current and future business strategies. This also indicates the path where your competitors, and thereby the industry and markets, are headed. Competitor analysis will prove to be a great aid in revamping current business processes and planning future strategies.
2. Service & Product Analysis
Service and product evaluation involves thorough analysis of your organization’s business offerings. To gain better insights, you can stack up your products and services against similar offerings from your competitors. Effective comparison will help you understand where you can improve. The primary goal of evaluating your products is to provide better value to your customers.
3. Market Analysis
Market analysis lets you keep a close tab on the current and future market trends. It helps in determining the markets where your target customers are most active. Through market analysis, you can understand your customers’ expectations and preferences. This makes predicting future trends easier.
Competitive Intelligence Best Practices
1. Identify Your Competitors
Competitive Intelligence is a continuous process. The first step is to identify your competitors. Once you identify your direct competitors, you must also keep a tab of your indirect competitors and your aspirational competitors. To further segment your competition landscape, you can break it down according to business verticals, demographics and solution types.
2. Collect Relevant & Accurate Data
Once you identify your direct, indirect and aspirational competitors, the next important step is to identify the data points to track, collect and analyze. The data information you track should be helpful to draw insights for your business campaigns and customer insights. The relevance and accuracy of this data becomes equally important to ensure better marketing outcomes.
3. Turn Data Into Actionable Insights
It is necessary to break down the data collected from competitor analysis to draw insights on key market trends, competitor activities, customer expectations and their buying behaviors. These actionable insights can prove to be a great aid in enhancing your sales & marketing strategies and improving customer engagement.
4. Share Competitor Insights With Your Team
The primary objective of tracking competitor activities is to leverage that information to improve your market position and service offerings. Sharing competitor insights with your sales & marketing teams helps them personalize communication and design better campaign strategies.
Important Role of Competitive Intelligence in Business
1. Importance of CI For Your Marketing Team
The information collected about your competitors’ marketing strategies and campaigns can be leveraged to improve your existing marketing efforts and implement new innovative initiatives. This information can be obtained from their website content, events, social media messaging, and more. Marketers can use these insights to design a stronger brand message for upcoming campaigns.
2. Importance of CI For Your Sales Team
Competitor analysis provides you with information about their product pricing and sales strategies. This can be used to improve your sales collaterals, demo scripts and the overall sales process. Turning the CI insights into battlecards will make your sales team well equipped to address customer challenges and deliver better service than others.
3. Importance of CI For Your Product Team
Understanding where your product stands as compared to others is a great way to identify the improvement areas. Close analysis of competitors’ products and customers’ responses will help your product team to make your business offerings even better. It is important to constantly update and improve your product features for better customer experience.
Business Benefits of Competitive Intelligence
1. Predicting Your Competitors’ Moves
The primary objective behind conducting competitive intelligence is to be able to predict the moves of your competition and stay ahead of the curve. Drawing insights from competitors’ website changes, social media updates, PR announcements, product and service offerings can give you a clear idea on their current and future strategies. One of the benefits of competitive intelligence is that it enables you to better prepare for market changes and evolving customer expectations.
2. Refining Your Marketing Strategy
The benefits of Competitive Intelligence also expand to your marketing efforts. Your marketing communication and strategies play a crucial role in creating your brand image and how customers perceive your organization. CI helps you analyze the marketing strategies of your competition and understand the preferences of your target audience. You can refine your marketing strategies using these insights for better results.
3. Understanding Customer Expectations
One of the most important benefits of competitive intelligence is the understanding of customer expectations. Insights from analyzing your competitors’ customers will give you a clear idea about what your target customers are looking for. You can understand what they value the most and what you can do to enhance the customer experience. Similarly, if customers are not happy with certain features or products of your competitor, you can leverage that to improve your product and service offerings.
4. Being Future-Ready
More often than not, marketing teams can hit a creative block and end up doing the same thing over and over again with no room for innovation. However, the benefits of competitive intelligence can include the much-needed inspiration to revamp your sales and marketing strategies to improve your business outcomes, enhance customer experience and build a strong brand position. CI enables you to constantly monitor the market trends and evolving customer buying behaviors. This way, you are always ready for future market changes and customer demands.
At its core, CI is essentially data, information and insights. It is information that holds a lot of business value. It is industry-specific insight into your competition, customers and markets. These insights help you make better business decisions and understand where you can surpass your competition.
You need effective and in-depth B2B business research & analysis for gaining a competitive edge. Partnering with a business research service provider will give you access to global B2B market intelligence and make data-driven decisions and improve business outcomes.