The benefit is that you don’t need to worry about performing the grunt work involved with data collecting. They also perform the analysis and have mechanisms in place to constantly gather information. They can then generate a report for you to view.
The research. There are companies who specialize in performing the research. This is a great service for you if you would like to perform your own analysis on the data. They can also teach you and other members of your company how to perform the research.
You can also hire individuals who specialize in gathering information using various means such as surveys. Some will even perform the analysis of the data. The Association of Independent Business Professionals is a great place to check for qualified people. Make sure that the individual you have in mind is a member of the association.
Media. You can also hire a service that will monitor all the media outlets for competitive intelligence information such as newspapers, websites and news stations. Their job is to search for information concerning the market, industry, and your competition.
Although this is a task you can do yourself, if the company has a national or international presence, it is difficult and time consuming to touch on all the media outlets. The more information you can gather the more competitive within your industry you can be. Check with directories to find a service that is suitable.
However, keep in mind that this is just one segment of the information that needs to be pooled for you competitive intelligence efforts to be successful.