Competition in business makes it grow and thrive. If competitors could make the entire affair easy, companies would never develop. Competitive intelligence (CI) helps entrepreneurs make the right decisions and become better than their competition.
Competitive intelligence varies from mere information in that it is intensively filtered and analyzed data collected on rival customers to the advantage of a brand. Markets change every day, and establishing a company/business on the assumption will add no value to its growth. However, employing this technique lets you in on rival objectives, which helps in setting prices, branding, and the general strategy of your business.
Essential Functions of Competitive Intelligence
Using CI opens leeway for a business to understand its rivals, steps, and plans. Competition is simplified in a modern way. Too much information is hurting businesses, but after being analyzed, it becomes intelligence. The intelligence is then put to use in making strategic business moves. Following are reasons why CI is crucial in modern markets.
- Gather, analyze market trends to aid in making better future decisions
- Gain knowledge on perception, expectations, market shifts, and new technology
- Use the data collected to scrutinize business strengths and weaknesses
- Ensures proper distribution of resources
- Improve Return On Investment (ROI)
- Promotes the method of launching products
- Forecasting of competitor moves
- Make and implement precise business decisions
How to Choose a Competitive Intelligence Tool
Big corporations have an internal competitive intelligence tool that helps them function better and stay afloat in business. CI will soon be a typical business strategy where small and medium enterprises will employ the same technique. However, since many entrepreneurs have no clue what CI is or how it works, here is how you can incorporate it into your business.
1. Know your competitors (direct, indirect, aspirational, perceived)
Identify your top competitors, whether direct (in the same field) or indirect (in the same area but with no competition of clientele). Aspirational competitors are in the same industry and can motivate business growth. Perceived competitors are those enterprises that can sprout as you implement the perfect strategies but are not your rival. With such understanding, advancing your business is all you can do.
2. Identify primary areas to focus on
Having precise knowledge about your opponents is the initial step to beating them. Identify the area you want to focus on and collect the information. Gather all possible information from your teams, then narrow down and process it to make it efficient.
3. Concentrate only on necessary details
Take time to explore your rival’s brands, products, operations on social media platforms, and websites. Follow them keenly to get all the required information to your advantage.
4. Analyze your data
Break down the data you have gathered and note the primary and crucial trends. Once done, disseminate the information to your team and form rival profiles, which should be followed. Note what they change, the dates, when they update and don’t forget their customer reviews.
5. Share the findings with your network
Let stakeholders know and discuss what you have come up with through meetings and memos. Avail the data to your team in a convenient way so they can use it anytime.
6. Develop your company using this information
Having gone through the five steps above, you need to take your findings. Begin to market your brand by employing the newly found initiatives and making new sales copies to help close more deals.
Competitive intelligence is ideal for startups because they have small budgets and resources. As a result, they will understand rivals better, make better decisions, and provide the best solutions. An excellent example of companies using CI is Airlines (ticketing). When prices go up, you will realize it is a uniform move. They also consider what competitors are offering their clients and provide better services.