Keeping an eye on the competition is not a new concept, however in the face of other increasing demands – specifically cost cutting, or pushing innovation, we see that keeping rigorous competitive intelligence practices can easily be pushed to the side.
Maintaining a watch on the competition is critical when it comes to:
· Assessing where you stand in the competitive environment
· Determining marketing strategies that stand out
· Defining white-space opportunities
Assessing Where you Stand in the Competitive Environment
Market evolution is constant and pervasive and the saying that “one cannot rest on their laurels” has never been truer. By understanding the broad context of the competition, it becomes clear where one’s business stands and the real space that they play in. The trick is that this is not a one and done practice, but rather should be viewed as constant and ever evolving.
Creating structured disciplines around competitive monitoring can help to engrain innovation in a company and create a push to do more in the industry. In fact, according to a recent SCIP (Society for Competitive Intelligence Professionals) study amongst businesses that have grown revenue as a direct result of CI, 70% expect CI headcount to increase and 61% expect non-headcount budgets to increase.[i]
The approach to competitive intelligence monitoring and research can look different for every company but does should follow some foundational rules:
1. Consistency is critical: It can be easy to push off CI efforts in favor of seemingly more critical issues but that could make getting monitoring efforts up and running more tedious when they may be needed the most.
2. Think outside of the traditional: This includes both the ‘traditional’ competitors and industry. There is a great deal to be gleaned from outside of one’s industry and it is important to keep a broad focus to observe the macro changes and factors.
3. Build upon what you know: Internal knowledge and intelligence should not be wasted, there can be benefits in tapping internal teams to help design and guide the next steps of the CI process.
Determining Marketing Strategies that Stand Out
With a constant eye to the market, and competition, it is easy to see the leaders, the up and comers, and all the strategic moves in between. One clear benefit of having a robust competitive intelligence program is understanding the marketing strategies that stand out in the market. Understanding the competition can help define one’s own strategies and helps to ensure a differentiated viewpoint in the eyes of customer segments.
When it comes to understanding the competition, SCIP has determined that nearly all CI professionals reference competitor websites and field intel as the most valued sources of CI. But simply monitoring competitor movements and advertising is not enough, the value comes in interpreting the changes and making them real for the business.
Defining Whitespace Opportunities
By understanding what is in the market it is possible to clearly see the potential that is available to differentiate one’s brand. Having a differentiated position can help to cut through the industry noise and accelerate growth for companies. SCIP also points to businesses where CI is shared daily, 69% say they’ve seen CI drive an increase in revenue. Amongst businesses where CI is shared weekly, this figure jumps to 72%. i Competitive intelligence is an important tool in driving revenue and has the potential to be viewed beyond simply a cost center.
Therefore, it not only benefits the company itself but also impacts that the bottom line for years to come. Battlecards and win/loss analysis are key methods used by CI professionals to define what exists and examine potential unmet needs to capture whitespace opportunities.
Where We Come In
At empatiX, competitive intelligence is an area of expertise, and we weave CI and our industry knowledge into all the work we do. We are passionate about understanding the world around us and incorporating insights into our client engagements.
Need to better understand your competition? We would love to chat! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.