Competitive Intelligence Services: The Strategies Involved
Gathering, analyzing and studying competitors, their products, customers, the business environment is a brief description of How Competitive Intelligence Helps in Devising Better Marketing StrategyLearning as much as possible and quickly about the competition enables a company to anticipate challenges and plan for it. While the focus is on the external business environment, it involves gathering information and using it in decision-making.
The process involves developing the competitor & its product profiles, monitoring and benchmarking the competition, and analyzing the win/loss ratio. It involves in defining who a competitor is, the company profile, its market share, pricing analysis, promotional analysis, analyzing their distribution, customer profiling, customer strategies, and more.
An all round approach is important
An effective competitive intelligence services provider will employ the following. An all round approach analyzing the information from various sources such as market research, data analytics, primary and secondary data going beyond basic competitor profiling and market share analysis. Tracking the market-place developments and competitor activity on a continuous basis is a key requirement.
All organizations are under tremendous pressure to make the right decisions on product, services, sales and marketing. This requires awareness of competitive threats and opportunities. Also, a detailed study of the company, its product, and the industry has to be carried out. In addition, a SWOT analysis is required to identify the strengths, weakness, the opportunities and threats specific to the company, product and the industry as a whole. A suitable market entry strategy with relevance to the company, its product, and the industry has to be developed along with tools such as mystery shopping sales training.
A detailed understanding of competitors selling and pricing strategies enables the sales teams to sell intelligently against the competition. Competitive intelligence is using ratio analysis, using key performance indicators (KPI). Organizations can compare reports of their competitors on certain ratios, which are industry specific. This helps them track their performance in comparison to their competitors.
Issues affecting the company in the long term are studied as a part of strategic intelligence where as tactical intelligence is for short term purposes. Strategic Intelligence will answer questions such as, ‘Where should the company be in X years?’ and ‘What are the strategic risks and opportunities facing the company?’ Tactical intelligence will provide answers to the following: what product is being sold in the market, at what price is it being sold, what are the promotional activities for selling the product, which place is the product being sold at, etc.
Though the internet has made it easy to gather data, the primary data generated through research gathered from the trade, interaction with industry people, own customers, vendors, etc is preferred. This is because the internet cannot provide company-specific competitive intelligence services and only general data. The internet can provide social media data, enable to ascertain the company’s online presence, etc. Care must be exercised to ensure that new competitors are kept a watch on and not restrict to old competition.