Gathering Information Wed, 24 May 2017 06:16:27 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Gathering Information

The key to the competitive intelligence process is to understand what information you truly need. The goal is to find information about your market and about your competition that will give you a competitive edge.

Some questions to ask while looking for information:Information Gathering

  •  What risks does your company need to take in order to stay competitive?
  •  How healthy are your customer relationships?
  •  Who are your key customers? What kind of relationship do you have with them?
  •  Do you have any immediate competition who you consider to be a threat? Are you sharing the same customer based?
  •  In general, who is your competition? How long have they been a competitor?

Make sure everyone who is involved with the information gathering process not only understands what information is needed, but what the goal is. Why is this knowledge important for the company? The more they understand the more effective they will be.

]]> (Administrator) Gathering Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 08:57:03 +0000
Legality Of Gathering Information

legalOnce you enter into the information gathering process of competitive intelligence, it is important to note that all your methods for collecting data should be legal.

Your methods can include going online, looking in your existing files, going on location as a customer, and reading company literature.

The different places to go for gathering information will be covered in the sections to follow.

]]> (Administrator) Gathering Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 08:58:27 +0000
Competitive Intelligence vs. Espionage

Competitive Intelligence vs. EspionageHow can industrial or corporate espionage be compared to competitive intelligence? Competitive Intelligence research can be distinguished from industrial espionage, as CI practitioners in general abide by local legal guidelines and ethical business norms.

There is a severe code of ethics followed by honest competitive intelligence practitioners, laid down by the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP).

This includes the terms that CI professionals:

  • must abide by all applicable laws - whether domestic or international. Thus bugging, bribery, and other such illegal practices would be a serious breach of the ethical code.
  • must accurately disclose all relevant information, including one's identity and organization, prior to all interviews. This ensures that primary research is conducted ethically without twisting. As such it also limits what can be done - and attempts to gain information through lies about one's identify would be viewed as industrial espionage. At the same time, the code of ethics recognizes that it may not be in the interests of the research to declare the final purpose for which the information is being gathered - hence it is only required to reveal relevant information to sources such as one's identity, organization, etc. It is not a requirement to say who the ultimate client is, and so many organizations employ consultants who can be absolutely honest about who they are while keeping their client's name confidential. Such consultants will say that the information is being collected as part of a benchmarking or industry study, for example. What is not said is that the benchmarking study is being done only on competitors to the client!
  • must provide honest and realistic recommendations and conclusions in the execution of one's duties. Competitive Intelligence can sometimes expose unpleasant truths that companies would prefer not knowing. At the same time, not knowing could lead the organization to failure. Competitive Intelligence professionals need to communicate both the good and the bad - strengths and weaknesses - even in cases when management would rather stay in lack of knowledge. Further, along with the message, the CI professional should use their understandings to provide suggestions and recommendations for action. If the intelligence gathered is not used but ignored it has no value. As a result, competitive intelligence is a key discipline in enabling company’s preserves and expand competitive advantage in their business environment.


Industrial espionage and corporate espionage are phrases used to describe espionage conducted for commercial purposes instead of national security purposes. Espionage is sometimes called the dark sister of competitive intelligence.

Espionage is more than the legal and ordinary methods of examining corporate publications, web sites, patent filings, and the like to determine the activities of a corporation. In business language the term covers more the illegal methods such as bribery, blackmail, technological surveillance and even occasional violence. In addition to spying on commercial organizations, governments can also be targets of commercial espionage—for example, to determine the terms of a tender for a government contract so that another tenderer can underbid.

]]> (Administrator) Gathering Information Thu, 21 Sep 2006 08:16:21 +0000
Collecting Data - Accuracy And Focus

Remember that not all information you find on your competition will be accurate or correct. That is what makes this probably one of the most difficult aspects of the whole process. 

Information that is collected needs to be fact checked and verified as much as possible. If you gather inaccurate data, this can skew your observations which will eventually affect your company in a potentially negative way.

Also beware of the “more is better” mentality. This is a trap because it isn’t necessarily true. If you collected a lot of information, but only 90% of it is actually useful, then you would have wasted your time. Before you begin collecting data, make sure you know exactly what you need to find.

]]> (Administrator) Gathering Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 08:59:46 +0000
Gathering Information - Beginning Stages

When gathering information about your competitors and the general market, a great place to start is in your own files and resources.
First, check your business plan. It should contain a section on the market and your competition. Copy the relevant sections and place them in a special “competitive intelligence” file.

Also check in your files, computer documents, etc for any other relevant information. The basic idea is to find documents with information that is relevant to your competition.

Information that you will need to know includes products within your market, quality control procedures, security information and procedures, suppliers, and who the competition is.

Information Gathering Process

Once you find the information, place it in a file for later analysis.

]]> (Administrator) Gathering Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:02:05 +0000
Who Are Your Competitors?


WhoAreYourCompetitorsIn order to truly understand how your company fits into the market, you need to understand which companies are your biggest competitors or who will be your biggest competitors in the future.


This means you will have to examine not only the present situation of your company, but also the future. So, when collecting information about your competition, focus on both the future and the present.


  •  What is your product or service?
  •  Which companies have similar products or services and how important are they in terms of competition?
  •  Can you determine what markets your competitors are targeting?
    •  Are they the same as yours?
  •  Do you have any new products or services under development?
    •  How about your competition?
  •  How is their company organized?
  •  Are they online?
    •  How is their online presence?
    •  Do they advertise online?
    •  Do they have a recognizable name to your target market on the internet?
    •  This information can tell you a lot about how much of a threat they are to you.

A key aspect to the competitive intelligence process is to understand your company well enough so you can better understand the information you need to gather about your competition.

]]> (Administrator) Gathering Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:04:33 +0000
Networking Essentials

Chances are, you have an extensive cNetworkingEssentialsontact list. Have you thought of using them to gather competitive intelligence information? They are an invaluable source for information, including market information and insights into your own company.

People in your personal network include friends, family, business colleagues, and your customers. Find a way to stay in touch with them so you can tap them for the necessary information.

One way you can do this is through a newsletter or online ezine. Provide a feedback form or frequent online surveys to gain your customers’ perspectives. In the case of your business contacts, meet with them often. Make sure you write down any information they have that may give you insight into the industry.

Certain associations also have networking events. Attend as many of these as possible. You can also network at conferences and corporate functions.

Talk advantage of casual conversations by asking appropriate questions and listening. Don’t attend the events with an obvious notebook. Instead, keep one with you and write in it during moments when you aren’t being observed. Or, you can wait until you get home to write your impressions of the evening.

It is crucial to write down anything you feel is important. These insights can prove to be valuable.

Also, don’t forget the importance of trade shows. This is the perfect opportunity to visit the booths of your competitors and talk with the representatives. No need to tell them who you are. Just start a conversation and record your impressions of the encounter.

Any contacts you have in the media are also important. They can also provide insights and analysis into your industry, competition, and market. Attend speeches and other events put on by media outlets.

You can also get information for your suppliers and directly from your competitors. Visit their stores and their locations to get even more insights. If you don’t want to visit the competition yourself, have friends do it for you. Just make sure nothing illegal happens. You don’t want to be unethical.

]]> (Administrator) Gathering Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:06:16 +0000
Industry Trends

thumb IndustryTrendWhether your industry changes often or is a little slower, industry trends need to be monitored to make sure your company stays competitive.

It can be difficult monitoring trends because often information comes to you in abstract ways. It is up to your intuition to pinpoint a trend so your company can benefit at the right time.

However, there are some things you can do to make trend- monitoring a lot easier. You can check industry prediction resources either online or in print for other people’s insights. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean the predictions are accurate. Though, most of these people make a living offering predictions so the likelihood that they will be accurate is greater. Check on both the local level and both the national and international levels.

It also helps to understand which factors can affect the trends. Things such as real estate, the economy, and the gas prices can all affect your industry. Make a list of all the factors and be sure to monitor them regularly.

]]> (Administrator) Gathering Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:07:51 +0000