Competitive Intelligence Portal http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net Wed, 24 May 2017 06:06:19 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Competitive Intelligence http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/competitive-intelligence.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/competitive-intelligence.html

Competitive IntelligenceAs a business, you want to stay competitive. In order to do this, you need to constantly analyze the existing market for any relevant changes. As a business owner, the information you find and interpret is essential to your survival. In order for you to be successful, you need to adapt to any changes in the market or else you could lose money.

Very few business decisions are formed without having looked at what sort of conclusion will affect competitors or equally as important, how competitors will to reply to the decision.
Obviously, knowing the characteristics of the competition you encounter is really important.

The key is to gather and analyze information about the market and about your competitors for sources that are open to the public. This process is called competitive intelligence.

It is a mistake to think of this process as something that is merely gathering information. It is much more than that. Not only do you need to know where to go to find the data, you need to interpret it. Since the market can change rapidly, you need to have a way to gather the data on a constant basis.

Why is this an important process?

Well, without the proper knowledge to back any business decisions, you are at risk for losing money. Also, if you fail to take advantage of a current trend, your competitors could reap the benefits and you’ll be left out. Competitors need to be screened in depth to determine who they really are, the way they operate, as well as their relative strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, a thorough study of your key competitors can generate valuable insights into the proper way to serve your clients.

By methodically examining your competitors’ processes it is possible to:

  •  Pinpoint ways that the market industry is segmented by trying to find any variations between customer groups served by different competitors.
  •  Pinpoint variations in basic needs and wants of clients and just how effective various strategies might be in filling these needs.
  •  Pinpoint customer groups which may be under-served or perhaps not served at all.
  •  Pinpoint this market positions of competitors as well as the major competitive dimensions that play a role in this situation. Through determining how competition is positioned along with what marketing factors are essential for creating and maintaining their position, it is possible to decide how you would like your products or services to be placed to “differentiate” it from competitors.
  •  Understand how useful different pricing, promotion, product/service, and distribution techniques are by considering how good they've helped different competitors.
  •  Pinpoint probable enhancements to aspects of the marketing mix to more efficiently serve your individual customers

There are several things that you need to examine.

This includes information about your competitors, any relevant changes to the legal aspects of your industry or regulations, and technology that is typically used in your industry. You also need to understand what is happening politically and economically as well as any trends that exist in your market. Also gather data about your suppliers and any materials that you need to use.

There are several places you can go to gather data. The internet is a wonderful resource. Just be careful that the sites you use to gather your information has a reputation for accuracy.

 

Remember that merely gathering information doesn’t mean that you are performing competitive intelligence. The process includes a series of steps including data collection, organization, analysis, application, etc. Once you take the data, analyze it, and learn how to use it to increase your knowledge about your company and the market, then you are engaging in competitive intelligence.

 

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Competitive Intelligence Steps - an Overview Sat, 19 Aug 2006 14:07:12 +0000
At A Glance http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/at-a-glance.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/at-a-glance.html

 

CI-OverviewCompetitive intelligence is a process designed to give you an edge over your direct competitors and to minimize your risks while doing business. It is the process of gathering information about the market and your competition and then analyzing it to understand how it is relevant to your business.

 

The process involves a few basics. Here is an overview of the steps needed to complete the competitive intelligence process:

Process of Competitive Intelligence

  •  Essential information. First, you will need to decide which information you will need to gather. This will help you take a more detailed approach and prevent you from gathering data that is unnecessary.
     
  •  Organize the data. Once you begin collecting the information, you will need to implement a way to organize it. Without an effective system, the process could take a lot longer than is necessary. This is also important if there are multiple people involved with the process.
     
  •  Analyze the data. This is probably the most important step of the whole process. Once you actually retrieve and organize the data, you will need to study and analyze it. What you are looking for are any trends and patterns that can be relevant to your business’s growth and success.
     
  •  Create reports. Once the data is analyzed, the information needs to be shared with different decision makers within the company. If you are the sole owner and decision maker, you won’t need to inform anyone of your findings. In this case, create reports so you can view them when you need to make decisions or further analyses.
     
  •  Create a system for evaluation. This step is important especially if you either outsource your competitive analysis process or have a group within your company perform the duties. They will need feedback as to whether or not the decision maker, owner, and/or CEO of the company found the information that was collected and analyzed useful or not. This will help them understand which information is really valuable to the company.
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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Competitive Intelligence Steps - an Overview Sat, 19 Aug 2006 11:21:27 +0000
Reading Case Studies http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/reading-case-studies.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/reading-case-studies.html

Reading Case StudiesBefore you implement the competitive intelligence strategy you may want to find some case studies. These provide detailed reports on how different companies used the strategy to help them become more competitive and achieve success.

Reading relevant studies may inspire you and give you a clear idea of how the strategy can benefit you. It can also help you better understand the process itself.


Search online to find case studies. Using the keywords “competitive intelligence case studies” should give you a list of useful sites.

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Competitive Intelligence Steps - an Overview Sat, 19 Aug 2006 14:17:43 +0000
Is It Worth It? http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/is-it-worth-it.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/is-it-worth-it.html

 

Is It Worth It?Are you still trying to decide if using competitive intelligence is worth the time and money?  There are a lot of benefits, but you still need to determine if you want to use some of your resources.

  •  Determine the benefits. List all the ways competitive intelligence can benefit your company. This can include a greater awareness about your competitors and the ability to spot market trends.
  •  What are the costs? You will also need to calculate the potential costs of competitive intelligence. Costs will vary depending on if you outsource or if you decide to do all the work internally. Determine how using the process will affect your business if you give some of your employees the part time task of gather and analyzing information. Keep in mind that the notion of “cost” doesn’t just encompass money. Loss of time and resources can also be considered a cost.
  •  How important is knowledge? Knowledge isn’t something you can calculate. You don’t know if your knowledge is going to be helpful until you actually use it. But, keep in mind that a company that has knowledge is more likely to end up with the competitive advantage. How important is this to you?
  •  What if you don’t know? Consider what would happen if you didn’t have the right knowledge so you missed out on an important opportunity or didn’t notice one of your competitors until it was too late. Can you determine how detrimental a mistake like that could be to your company?
  •  Return on Investment. It also may be helpful to determine what your return on investment or ROI will be. For example, if you determine that it will cost $10,000 to implement the process, how much more money do you project to make? If you make an additional $50,000 in revenue because of competitive intelligence, then the process will be worth it.

 

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Competitive Intelligence Steps - an Overview Sat, 19 Aug 2006 14:20:15 +0000
Hiring Professional Services http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/hiring-professional-services.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/hiring-professional-services.html

Hiring Professional Services When it comes to competitive intelligence, you may not have the time or the resources to go through the process yourself. In that case, you will want to outsource. There are plenty of companies and individuals who specialize in competitive intelligence and can provide this service for your company.

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.

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Competitive Intelligence Steps - an Overview Sat, 19 Aug 2006 14:33:23 +0000
Competitive Intelligence Training http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/competitive-intelligence-training.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/competitive-intelligence-steps-an-overview/competitive-intelligence-training.html

TrainingYou can also hire individual companies to perform competitive intelligence training. This works especially well if you have a large group or a few full time employees whose sole purpose is to do competitive intelligence. You can also go through the training if you are the main person involved with the process, and then teach other relevant employees.

The benefits of hiring a company to do the training are that they know the best methods for gathering and analyzing data. This can save a lot of time in the long run because you won’t need to go through a “trial and error” process that can cost you both time and money.

Here are the things a good training program will cover:

  •  Ethical and legal considerations
     
  •  The best methods for research
     
  •  Techniques for data analysis
     
  •  How to organize the data
     
  •  Generating reports
     
  •  Standard communication skills
     
  •  How to train new members of the competitive intelligence team
     
  •  Implementing a strategy
     
  •  Utilizing the different research opportunities
     
  •  Utilizing a network to communicate findings

 


It is best to find a company with a proven history of success and one who has a great reputation.

 

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Competitive Intelligence Steps - an Overview Sat, 19 Aug 2006 14:41:46 +0000