Competitive intelligence (CI) aims to understand the decisions and actions of a company’s competitors. It tracks a competitor’s products, services, marketing, sales deals and overall performance, helping a company compare and modify its own strategies accordingly. Every company must track its competition and understand how it handles its business, consumers and the market. CI services help track competitors’ activities, enabling a company to learn from their mistakes, improve its strategies and leave competitors behind.
A complete CI report enables a business to remain competitive in the market and stay ahead of the curve. However, it must include these seven key components if it is to give an all-encompassing view.
Latest news and headlines
The most critical component of a CI report is the latest mentions of competitors in the news and headlines. These indicate what is happening in the industry and whether the competitor is making headlines for positive or negative reasons. It gives a current overview of the competition so that other businesses can take advantage at the right time to learn or leverage the situation.
Any change in the competitor’s human capital provides insight on its operations, indicating whether it plans to reduce or expand its efforts. If the competitor improves its human capital, it may indicate an increase in its workforce capabilities. If it trains staff, buys new equipment, implements new technology or mandates new skill certification, its employee productivity will increase, and competitors would need to enhance their own operations.
Shifts in competition
A competitor’s shift out from or into direct competition may prompt other companies to change their marketing strategies. They may decide to leave the market or enter a new one. Monitoring competitors’ shifts helps a company know whom it is up against. Accordingly, it must adjust its strategies to stay efficient and relevant in the market.
A competitor’s job openings can provide substantial information. Companies list new vacancies for different reasons: they may be expanding and require staffing for the new roles. Companies looking for candidates to fill operational and management positions may be planning to work on a larger scale. Those looking for applicants in a new region may be planning to begin operations there.
CI services provide the latest and most relevant news on trade events, necessary to stay informed on the latest technologies in the industry. New technologies could disrupt the industry, and competitors need to keep abreast of such changes if they are to survive.
A competitor’s online reviews indicate its audience size. With customers spending a lot of time online and on social media, online reviews in CI reports reflect a company’s customer base and provide customer perception of the company first-hand. The CI report must include both positive and negative reviews so the broader customer perception could be ascertained.
Stock indices help track a competitor’s performance effectively, giving a quick view of the company and other relevant information.
CI services are excellent tools for understanding the competition and viewing the industry as a whole. These seven components are critical when conducting competitor analysis and for making informed decisions.