What is Competitive Intelligence? Why is it Important and How to gather it

Expanding an enterprise by being aware of the happenings outside of a business and learning from them is called Competitive Intelligence (CI) It involves determining and collecting the intelligence about consumers, products, competitors, or other environmental aspects and then examining and dispensing it.

This intelligence may be anything that supports managers and executives with respect to their strategic decision-making for an organization. Competitive intelligence is a business practice that is legal, unlike industrial espionage that is illegal. The intelligence is gathered, converted, and then used while making decisions in an organization.

Why is Competitive Intelligence Important?

The opportunities and obstacles in their competitive environment are understood by businesses through CI. Business or corporate unit strategies are established with the help of CI. Counter-competitive strategies are designed and developed against competitors with the help of CI.

Newmarket entries, product launches, and other strategic moves are arranged with the help of CI. Benchmark other organizations (original) The business is prepared and trained for future descriptions and opportunities faced in the market. The success of product messaging strategies and the market positions of competitors is evaluated through CI.

Competitive Intelligence Sources

The collection of data for competitive intelligence can be online, can be by talking to people, or can be by other data collection methods.

Online Approach

1. Looking into company websites

Businesses can get an idea of product benefits, target audiences, strategy changes, and product prices by looking into company websites.

2. Press Releases

New products, expansion news all new staff can be announced through company press releases.

3. Tracking social media posts

If competitors share information about products that haven’t been launched yet, tracking social media posts to gather information can prove to be useful.

Offline Approach

1. Salespeople

A company’s salespeople can be used to gather information about rivals while communicating with prospects of consumers.

2. Employees

Employees can gather information while attending industry conferences.

3. Vendors

Vendors that serve your industry specifically can prove to be very useful in collecting CI.

4. Consumers

Consumers may sometimes unknowingly share information about the competitor’s service or products.

Competitive Intelligence Tools

1. Scenario Planning

The shifting conditions and markets can be tackled by companies through long-term plans charted with the help of Scenario Planning. Generally, a scenario is given to participants, who have then clubbed into teams that model and identify company strategies.

2. War Gaming

Roleplay is used by participants to guess the competitor moves in War Gaming. Pending events like regulatory change or product launches are a basis of the market scenarios presented to participants by a facilitator. The reactions of competitors to the given scenario are then showcased by participant teams.

3. Win/Loss Analysis

Win/Loss Analysis evaluates the aspects and reasons for wins and losses of deals in a company. Market, strategic, tactical, and competitor intelligence is provided to clients through Win/Loss analysis.

4. Trade Show Intelligence

Distinct information that cannot be accessed through other research methods can be obtained through Trade Show Intelligence by companies. Big market participants gather in the same location with the help of trade shows where they are prepared to network.

5. Market Intelligence Platform

Competitor Assessments are a detailed analysis of a company’s rivals. Competitor profiles do not consist of ongoing market and competitor tracking, whereas competitor assessments do. The competitor assessments support certain decisions and are personalized according to the needs of a client.

Competitive Intelligence Examples

1. Airline tickets

A good example of the practice of using competitive intelligence is the airline industry. Various pieces of external information are responsible for the daily change of flight ticket prices by airline companies. An airline company will increase its price for a certain route if it sees other competitors increasing their price for the same route.

In addition, customer information is frequently used for pricing adjustments. By identifying and tracking specific users, flight companies can spot when a potential customer is repeatedly searching for the same flight details and increase the prices over time.

2. Sports Analytics – Football

The process of using and analyzing external data has been very useful globally to the world’s most competitive industry, i.e. the sports industry. Football has some very good competitive intelligence instances.

The reason they outperform their budgets is that they excel in gaining new data (scouting) and insights (analytics), and effectively distributing this information among their management teams.

Example –

SAP AG, the German software company, provides analytics to the German national team, which won the World Cup in Brazil. Its researchers place trackers on everything – players, goal posts, balls – creating millions of data points to chew over.

3. Sports Analytics – Cricket

IPL leverages Big Data for Competitive Intelligence

Cricket commentators are often found explaining a player’s performance, his strike rate against a particular bowler, and even match-winning percentages based on tons and tons of match data collected over time.

The trend is an indication of how important data science has become in team strategic decisions. Performance is enhanced by players with the help of personal data analytics.

In IPL auctions, big data analytics is used by all teams to personally pick their dream teams. Every player’s ball-to-ball performance record of the past ten years is obtained by IPL that helps in the formation of dream teams.

Example –

KKR, in 2014, used the auction analysis by SAP to draw the best players in the auction and then won the trophy.  IPL hires various performance and game analytic organizations that calculate the victory statistics for everything from team selection to fan engagement.