20 items tagged " competitive intelligence,"

  • 6 Great Tips for Gathering Competitive Intelligence

     

    There’s no doubt that gathering competitive information is challenging for any product manager, particularly if your competitors are small private companies or you have no budget.  You may have already done the obvious - scoured the competitor’s website, signed up for Google Alerts or a newswire, attended a webinar and possibly purchased the competitor’s product. You have exhausted these ideas - now what? Here are some proven methods I gathered over 15 years in the field that are sure to work for you.

    1.Find friendly customers

    The best way to gather competitive insights is by talking to folks in your market segment who just bought your product. Try to catch them immediately after the evaluation stage, not months later, otherwise you could get outdated information. Don’t preface the discussion with the customer as a ‘Win/Loss Analysis’ this may not get the candid intelligence you want. If you have a prospect that decided to purchase the competitor’s product and you’re still on great speaking terms, then by all means tap into this resource for feedback.  

    2.Network with competitors

    As strange as this may sound, networking with competitors is great source of information. In most cases, nobody wants to talk about their company, but they are more than happy to share information (or rumors) about a mutual competitor. One of the best places to network is at tradeshows, when perusing a competitor’s booth is tolerated on the last day or hours of the show. Hopefully, you can exchange some giveaways for competitive literature, business cards and intel. Creating this level of rapport is not easy, start by offering what you know, even if it is public and hopefully this jumpstarts an information exchange. If you have no tradeshow budget, join a relevant Linkedin Group. Group members can generally contact each other directly without having to be introduced.

    3.Build a strong relationship with Sales and Customer Success

    As a product manager you should already have a tight relationship with Sales, Integration teams and any group in a customer facing role. Leverage this relationship by having them funnel competitor anecdotes and insights to you for distribution inside your company. One great way to do this is by creating a competitive Wiki; the information is readily available to colleagues and can be updated easily. In my experience, Sales folks don’t have time to update a Wiki but will happily forward competitive intelligence. The more often that I updated the Wiki, the more likely Sales was willing to volunteer information.

    4.Contact bloggers and industry trade magazine authors

    The proliferation of user-generated content and “community” sites online has provided a boom for competitive intelligence. Nowadays, blogs can be generated by customers in user groups or even competitor employees. I have had the most success contacting bloggers and authors of niche publications, many of whom, consider themselves industry thought leaders. These folks often share information one-on-one that they normally wouldn’t distribute to a wide audience because they can’t validate the intel.

    5.Review competitors’ job postings

    You can get some great insights on strategy and roadmap by checking out the job openings on competitors’ websites. For example, if you see a ton of mobile designer (UX) positions this could mean that your competitor is changing their roadmap to be more mobile centric. Likewise, take a look at bios of recent management hires. The bios in the management section often highlight a key skill that can allude to a product strategy.

    6.Search Google Images and YouTube

    Instead of the usual Google web search, try searching for your competitor in Google Images and on YouTube. Buried in the search results are presentations, screenshots, recorded webinars and other goodies that someone has inadvertently posted and forgotten to remove.

     

    Keeping tabs on the competition can be a full-time job. As a product manager, your job is to position your product to win against your competitors in scenarios where you are both chasing the same customer. These tips will give you enough competitive info to make sure your product is positively differentiated and positioned for success.
     

     

  • BC - Business & Competitive - Intelligence

    BC (Business & Competitive) Intelligence

    Business Intelligence is zo´n begrip dat zich nauwelijks letterlijk laat vertalen. Bedrijfsintelligentie zou in de buurt kunnen komen, maar valt net als andere vormen van intelligentie moeilijk precies te duiden. Bedrijfsinzicht of -begrip komen wellicht nader in de buurt. Andere benaderingen (van andere auteurs) voegen daar bedrijfs- of omgevingsverkenningen als alternatieve vertaling aan toe.

    Om Business en Competive Intelligence goed te begrijpen maken we hier gebruik van een analytisch schema (tabel 1.1). Daarmee wordt het mogelijk de verschillende verschijningsvormen van BI te onderscheiden en daarmee de juiste variant bij het juiste probleem toe te passen. Belangrijk is dat het hierbij gaat om stereotypen! In de praktijk komen mengvormen voor.

    Het uitgangspunt is dat BI wordt gezien als een informatieproces waarbij met behulp van data, kennis of inzicht wordt geproduceerd.

     

    Data over de interne bedrijfsvoering

    Data over de bedrijfsomgeving

    Bedrijfskundige

    benadering

    A

    B

    Technologische

    benadering

    C

    D

    Tabel 1.1

    In de tabel is een bedrijfskundige van een technologische benadering te onderscheiden. BC Intelligence behandeld BI vanuit de bedrijfskundige processen die dienen te worden ondersteund. Er bestaat ook een technologisch perspectief op BI. Het uitgangspunt van deze benadering is veeleer te profiteren van de mogelijkheden die informatietechnologie biedt om bedrijfsinzicht te verkrijgen.. Op de andere as in het schema worden data over de interne bedrijfsvoering (interne data) van data over de bedrijfsomgeving (externe data) onderscheiden. We spreken met nadruk over onderscheiden in plaats van gescheiden categorieën. In de gebruikspraktijk blijken de categorieën namelijk wel te onderscheiden maar nauwelijks te scheiden. Ze kunnen niet zonder elkaar en zijn vaak ondersteunend of complementair.

    Business Intelligence

     

    Data over de interne bedrijfsvoering

    Data over de bedrijfsomgeving

    Bedrijfskundige

    benadering

    A

    B

    Technologische

    benadering

    C

    D

    Hoewel het onderscheid arbitrair is en de term BI net zo goed voor het totale quadrant gereserveerd zou kunnen worden (met CI als deelverzameling) hebben veel BI projecten betrekking op de cellen A en C.

    BI gaat dus vaak op het optimaliseren van bedrijfsprocessen waarbij het accent ligt op het verwerwen van bedrijfsinzicht uit data over de onderneming zelf. Deze data genereren doorgaans kennis over de huidige situatie van de onderneming. Kennis die voor strategievorming en optimalisatie van bedrijfsresultaten (denk aan Performance Management) onontbeerlijk is.

    De technoloische component van BI wordt  door cel C gerepresenteerd. Helaas heeft deze invalshoek bij veel dienstverleners de overhand. Het accent ligt daarbij op de inrichting van een technologische infrastructuur die adequate kennis over de onderneming en haar prestaties mogelijk maakt. In cel C kunnen daarom zowel ETL-tools, datawarehouses als ook analytische applicaties worden gedacht.

    Redactioneel BI-kring:

    In de cel A hebben wij eigenlijk nauwelijks een categorie gedefinieerd.  Wat mij betreft zou daarPerformance Management thuis horen. Die term zou ik dus willen toevoegen. Als Key words kun je denken aan: Key Performance Indicators, Performance Process Management, Organizational Performance,  PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) Cycle, Performance Planning.

    Voor wat betreft C kunnen we verwijzen naar bovenstaande tekst:Datawarehousingen OLAPzijn daar de centrale elementen.Key words zijn dat databases, ETL (Extraction, Transformation and Load), , architecture, data dictionary, metadata, data marts.

    Met betrekking tot OLAP zijn key words:analytische applicaties, reporting, queries, multidimensionale schema’s, spreadsheet, Kubus, data mining.

    Competitive Intelligence

     

    Data over de interne bedrijfsvoering

    Data over de bedrijfsomgeving

    Bedrijfskundige

    benadering

    A

    B

    Technologische

    benadering

    C

    D

    CI is het proces waarin data over de omgeving van de onderneming in een informatieproces worden getransformeerd in ´strategisch bedrijfsinzicht´. Hoewel de term Competitor en Competitive Intelligence vanaf de tachtiger jaren wordt gebruikt heeft deze benadering ook in de jaren zeventig al aandacht gehad onder de noemer 'environmental scanning'.

    CI speelt een belangrijke rol in strategische maar ook andere bedrijfskundige processen. Prestaties van de onderneming, concurrentiepositie, mogelijke toekomstige posities als ook innovatievermogen kunnen slechts worden bepaald met behulp van kennis over de bedrijfsomgeving.

    Redactioneel BI-kring:

    Competitive Intellience heeft dus te maken met alle informatievoorziening die wordt georganiseerd om de concurrentiepositie van ondernemingen te kunnen bepalen, beoordelen en veranderen. Het raakt dus direct aan strategie, strategische intelligence, concurrentie-analyse, concurrentiepositie, en alle intelligence die nodig is om de positie van de onderneming in de omgeving goed te kunnen beoordelen.

    Het organiseren van CI is in organisaties nog steeds zwaar onderbelicht. Het blijkt moeilijk structuur aan te brengen in de noodzakelijke informatieprocessen als ook om ze uit te voeren. De inrichting van een ´systeem´ dat dit proces zou moeten realiseren staat in het middelpunt van de aandacht maar is voor veel organisaties ook nog een brug te ver. Een verantwoorde ontwikkelbenadering vergroot de succeskansen echter aanzienlijk.

    Data over de bedrijfsomgeving zijn vaak ongestructureerd van aard en in de organisatie voorhanden. De kunst is deze data beschikbaar te maken voor de besluitvorming. Wanneer de data niet in de onderneming beschikbaar is verschillen de technieken en instrumenten die moeten worden ingezet om deze data te ontsluiten van de bij BI gebruikte technieken. De technieken varieren vandocumentmanagementsystemen tot information agents die zelfstandig het internet afzoeken naar interessante bouwstenen (data!). Bij het structureren en analyseren van de ongestructureerde documenten wordt text mining gebruikt (in geval van www; web-content-mining).

    Redactioneel BI-kring

    Om competitive Intelligence adequaat te ondersteunen en met name ook primaire data beschikbaar te maken ten behoeve van het proces zijn Collaboration tools populair. Het gaat hier over kennismanagement achtige systemen en shareware toepassingen die de data-, informatie- en kennisdeling faciliteren. Key words: kennismanagagement, shareware, sharepoint, knowledge management.

    Overzicht data categorieen BI-kring

    Cel A format

    • Performance Management

    Key words:Key Performance Indicators, Performance Process Management, Organizational Performance,  PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) Cycle, Performance Planning

    Cel C format

    • Datawarehousing

    Key words:databases, ETL (Extraction, Transformation and Load), , architecture, data dictionary, metadata, data marts., Big Data

    • Online Analytical Processing

    Key words:analytische applicaties, reporting, queries, multidimensionale

     schema’s, spreadsheet, Kubus, data mining, dashboarding.

    Cel B format

    • Competitive Intelligence

    Key words:strategie, strategische intelligence, concurrentie-analyse, concurrentiepositie, competitor intelligence, technological intelligence, environmental scanning, environmental intelligence.

    • Content (Competitive Intelligence als product)

         Key words:

    Cel D format

    • Collaboration

    Key words:kennismanagagement, shareware, sharepoint, knowledge management.

    • Search methodologies

                     Key words:documentmanagement systemen, spider technologie,

    ongestructureerde informatie, information agents, text mining, content mining. Search technologies.

    Integraal tav hele schema (intelligente organisaties hebben het hele model integraal geimplementeerd)

    • Intelligente organisatie

    Key words:Management informatie, Intelligente organisatie, lerende organisatie, organisationeel leren, leren, Intelligence change management.

     

    Bron: Egbert Philips

     

  • Benchmark Against Your Biggest Competitor — Yourself!

    As firms face growing competition for customers, they naturally seek to compare themselves with their peers and competitors, but there is a trap: Leaders don’t compare themselves.

    In the past, it was common to benchmark organizational performance against “industry averages,” and being “above average” was considered good. Today, “above average” is no longer good enough; fickle customers demand exceptional experiences. Delivering those experiences requires exceptional performance; anything less means that another company may steal your customers.

    When we talk with leading modern application delivery organizations, we find that new benchmarking trends are emerging, making traditional benchmarking less attractive. Why?

    • Benchmarking is for followers, not leaders. Organizations want to be “unicorns,” like the Etsys, Netflixes, Googles, and Salesforces of the world. They don’t want to be losing “horses.”
    • Most benchmarking approaches target the IT of the past, not BT. Benchmark methodologies and data were created and heavily used when software delivery capability was considered a cost, not a differentiator. In business technology, software is a key differentiator, and BT leaders want to be the best and continuously improve.
    • Agile, continuous delivery is less about standards and more about creativity and adaptation. Agile and CD have no set standards; 65% of expert firms using Agile mix and match various practices from various frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, SAFe, and XP. One size does not fit all in terms of metrics; with no standard process, organizationstructure, or technology, it’s even harder to compare data between companies.

    So what do leading organizations do instead of benchmarking themselves against external organizations? They:

    • Compare where their company is to where their customers need them to be. Customer needs and satisfaction drive the comparison.
    • Analyze and use data in new ways. New metrics for AD&D, such as post-production metrics, are used in conjunction with more traditional preproduction metrics to drive the analysis. Talent metrics are used to decide how to assemble teams in the most efficient way.
    • Prioritize and improve performance. By analyzing value streams, teams uncover their most pressing improvement needs — not whether they are better or worse than external competitors. This drives much better alignment.

    with competitors anymore. Instead, they compare their current performance with where they need to be as a leader, and that’s what the business expects.

    Source: Forrester

  • Business Intelligence Vs. Competitive Intelligence

    Working together, both serve an important purpose in today’s ever-changing and increasingly competitive business environment performance

     

    performanceg-predictive-analytics-image

    In today’s fast-paced business world, the sheer number of terms (and their associated acronyms) is enough to baffle even the most seasoned professional. It doesn’t help that many terms that sound similar are used interchangeably, even when they refer to vastly different concepts.

    Case in point? Business intelligence and competitive intelligence. On the surface, it seems like they are the same thing – and in fact, they serve a similar purpose, in that they help guide decision-making – but they actually refer to separate functions and types of data. Failing to understand the difference between them could result in a great deal of wasted time and effort, not to mention embarrassment if you present the wrong information to your boss or a client.


    Business Intelligence

    Business intelligence is, largely, analysis of an organization’s internal data. It involves collecting large amounts of raw data regarding all aspects of the business, from productivity to profits and losses, and transforming it into actionable insights. Companies use business intelligence as a means to identify and develop new business opportunities, and make improvements to existing processes, products, and services.

    One of the major benefits of business intelligence is that it allows companies to view both historical and current data in context, which allows them to make better predictions. It’s also vital to effective measurement; businesses that use performance metrics or benchmarks as gauges for progress toward business goals rely heavily on business intelligence. Business intelligence has applications across all levels of an organization, from product development and pricing to staffing, strategic planning, and process improvement.

    The term business intelligence is often used interchangeably with business analytics. Some make a stronger description between the two, defining business analytics as the use of quantitative and statistical tools, while intelligence focuses more on qualitative analysis, such as asking questions and interpreting reports. However, most argue that business analytics is a key function of business intelligence, and that true BI cannot be achieved without analytics.


    Competitive Intelligence

    While business intelligence focuses on a company’s internal data, competitive intelligence focuses on the external factors that influence the operation. Competitive intelligence means looking at the state of the market in which a company operates, to identify trends, potential threats, and points of differentiation.

    Often, competitive intelligence includes looking closely at a company’s competitors, and looking for their strengths and weakness to identify potential opportunities. It involves taking the information that’s been collected and turning it into actionable insights to gain competitive advantage; for example, analyzing a competitor’s poor performance in a particular market can provide a blueprint of what not to do, and some ideas o

    f how to penetrate that market more successfully. CI practitioners are quick to point out that in order for data to be considered true competitive intelligence, it must be actionable. Simply having knowledge of your market is not competitive intelligence; having knowledge that you can use to improve your business’s position is.

    It’s also important to make a distinction between competitive intelligence and corporate or competitive espionage. Competitive intelligence is gathered using publicly available information, and is completely legal. Corporate espionage, or gathering information about competitors via questionable means (such as posing as a potential customer, hacking, or poaching employees) is not only unethical, but illegal in many cases.

     

    Two Pieces of the Puzzle

    Business intelligence and competitive intelligence may have technically different definitions, but they are very closely related. Some even consider competitive intelligence to be a subset of business intelligence, as the information gathered for competitive analysis is important for decision-making and can add valuable insights to data collected as part of the BI process. For example, a company experiencing a downturn in sales might look to competitive intelligence for answers. If a competitor recently launched a new product or major marketing campaign, it could explain the dip in sales – and the executives have a starting point for developing solutions to increase sales.

    That being said, BI and CI actually require different skill sets. Business intelligence is the more technical of the two disciplines; practitioners have extensive knowledge in data management, database design, and quantitative functions. Competitive intelligence, on the other hand, relies more heavily on strategy and analysis, with less emphasis on “crunching numbers.” Still, both functions work closely together, and serve an important purpose in today’s ever-changing and increasingly competitive business environment.

     

    Source: http://www.performanceg2.com/blog/business-intelligence-vs-competitive-intelligence/

     

     

  • Companies collect CI, but don't use it

    The first requirement for being competitive is to know what others in your space are offering or plan to offer so you can judge the unique value proposition of your moves. This is just common sense. The second requirement is to anticipate response to yourcompetitive moves so that they are not derailed by unexpected reactions. That’s just common sense, too.

    sitting on data

    The third requirement is to ask the question: Do we have common sense?

    In my work in competitive intelligence I have met many managers and executives who made major decisions involving billions of dollars of commitments with only scant attention to the likely reaction of competitors, the effect of potential disruptors, new approaches offered by startups and the impact of long-term industry trends. Ironically, they spent considerable time deliberating potential customers’ reactions, even as they ignored the effect of other players’ moves and countermoves on these same customers. That is, until a crisis forced them to wake up.

    In my experience, the competitive perspective is almost always the least important aspect i

    n managerial decision-making. Internal operational issues including execution, budgets, and deadlines are paramount in a company’s deliberation, but what other players will do is hardly ever in focus. This “island mentality” is surprisingly prevalent among talented, seasoned managers.

    The paradox is that companies spend millions acquiring competitive or market “intelligence” from armies of vendors and deploy the latest technology disseminating the information internally. Some estimate the market for market research alone at $20 billion annually. Specific competitor information is another $2 billion. On the other hand, management never questions the actual use of this information by employees in brand, product, R&D, marketing, business development, sales, purchasing or any other market-facing function. Instead, management implicitly assumes the information is being used, and used optimally. Leadership is happy to ask that proposals and presentations be backed by “data.”  Every middle manager is familiar with the requirement for a 130- slide deck of tables, graphs and charts in the appendix for presentations to top executives.

    Yet no one asks: which of the information purchased at high cost from the outside army of research vendors and consultants was ignored, missed, discounted, filtered or simply not used correctly?

    What Did Peter Drucker Really Say?

    Peter Drucker is often quoted as coming up with the managerial bromide, “What gets measured gets managed.” Yet this does not actually represent his thoughts on measurement. Some have argued that he never actually said that at all; others have claimed that the quote has been mangled, and that in context, it was part of a larger lamentation that managers would only manage what was easy to measure, rather than what was important or useful. Regardless, it’s clear from Drucker’s writings that he worried that management often measures the wrong things, and believed that some critical aspects of management can’t actually be measured.

    And the impact of competitive information on an organization’s decisions is one of those things that c

    an hardly ever be measured. It is neither direct, nor unambiguous. Since impact can’t be measured and therefore results can’t be directly attributed to the competitive information, management resorts to measuring the wrong thing, exactly as Drucker feared. For example, in several companies I worked with, management measured output. How many reports did the analysts issue? How many research projects were completed within budget and on time? This is the equivalent of searching for your car keys under the street lamp simply because that’s where the light is.

    The failure to measure the impact of competitive data leads to an interesting dilemma for companies: even when it’s obvious that the company has missed an opportunity or been blindsided by a threat because they failed to consider competitive data, managers are at a loss how to improve the situation.

    Improving decision quality – measured as the extent to which decision makers use all available competitive information- requires focus on usage rather than production of intelligence. This is a major mindset leap for most companies but if offers a way to improve decisions without directly measuring the elusive impact. Just ensuring that managers look at and consider competitive perspective should in principle, improve decisions. How can companies achieve that?

    A Simple Yet Powerful Suggestion

    Improving competitive intelligence usage requires an “audit” of major decisions – at the product/service or functional level – before they are approved by management. This competitive intelligence sign-off is simple to institutionalize. It replaces the haphazard dissemination effort of mass of information (much of it may be just noise to the user) with systematic competitive perspective.

    Would a manager submit to a “sign-off” voluntarily? Maybe. Over the years I have encountered many managers who wanted to stress-test their plans and thinking against third parties’ likely moves via war games. But war games are the more advanced step, and they are typically not systematically applied in an organization. A competitive “audit” or review is the more basic level. The potential cost saving or growth opportunities afforded by institutionalized competitive reviews of major initiatives and projects can be significant. A byproduct of these reviews would be better use of costly information sources, or rationalization of the cost of these sources.

    That said, a company can’t force its managers to use information optimally. It can, however, ensure they at least consider it. In many areas of the corporation, mandatory reviews are routine- regulatory, legal, financial reviews are considered the norm. Ironically, competitive reviews are not, even though the cost of missing out on understanding the competitive environment can be enormous. Consider this admittedly extreme example. Financial institutions are known to spend billions on mandatory regulatory and legal reviews of their practices. How much do they spend on mandatory competition review? To judge by the measly performance of mega banks’ in the past two decades, compared with more locally focused smaller banks, not much (The Economist, March 5, 2015, “A world of pain: The giants of global finance are in trouble”).

    Drucker did say, “Work implies not only that somebody is supposed to do the job, but also accountability.” If managers choose deliberately to ignore the competitive perspective, they should be held accountable. And it is only reasonable to ask top management to apply the same principle to itself: a systematic, mandatory, institutionalized strategic early warning review may keep major issues on the table.

    Think about it this way: If competition reviews were mandatory at Sears, Motorola, Polaroid, AOL, Radio Shack and A&P, to name a few, would they have failed to change with the times? We would never know. Common sense suggests a company shouldn’t wish to find out.

    Author: Ben Gilad

    Source: Harvard Business Review

  • Competition is not only there to beat! We can learn from them as well

    learning from the competitionOur competition isn’t just there to beat. They can also teach us how to get better at what we are doing so that we can beat them at their own game. I see my competition as a bar set for me to jump over.

    In the business world, anything goes. While some people like to think of scoping out and spying on the competition as a bad thing, I love looking at everything they are doing through a spy glass. This gives me insights into what's working and I should focus my time on and what isn't working and I shouldn't waste my time.

    Here’s what my competition is teaching me about productivity across various aspects of their company that's helping change my business for the better:

    1. Content.

    While I never copy my competition's content, I read what they have, if they use a call to action, how they approach what is shared and how often they update their content.

    Look to see if your competition is using video, infographics or some other type of content that resonates with your shared audience. It’s also good to know where they are sharing this content to see if there are any places I'm missing opportunities to add or share information. Reading the competition’s content showed me how to say it differently. Had I not looked at the competition, it would have taken me longer to shape my content strategy. I avoided misstepped that would have cost me prospects or customers.

    I recently found out that my competitor has a piece of content that ranks well. They attract nearly half their organic traffic to their site each month from one term. I created a much better version of this and push it hard. I don't look at this as bad or negative. I see this as a big opportunity to give users an even better experience.

    2. Online marketing.

    To see if my marketing strategy would work, I considered what the competition was using as their primary messages in terms of a value proposition and the visuals they used to communicate that. I didn’t want to copy it, but I wasn’t going to do anything so different that the audience would be confused. I tracked my competition’s online campaigns on various sites and paid advertising platforms like Google AdWords to see what they were saying.

    Kompyte and Perch are new tools that make it easier to stay on top of what the competition is doing. By using these I speed up how long it takes me to formulate the differentiation position that dictates the messages I select.

    Related: How to Compete in a Crowded Marketplace

    3. Search.

    By looking at their website and overall content platforms, I compiled a list of keywords the competition uses. I took these keywords to search engines to determine if the rankings they received were better than my own. When they were, I compared the keyword terms and added those to my online presence, including website, landing pages, pictures and headers. 

    Available analytics tools from ComScore and others yield deep insights into the results of what your competition is doing. This has changed how I approach search engine optimization and resulted in a higher ranking for my company.

    4. Customer engagement.

    I learned what works effectively with my target audience by observing what the competition did on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Rather than experimenting with the type of social media content, time of day and frequency, I saw how their followers and fans responded. This saved me many trial runs and resources.

    In the long run, I approached customers and prospects differently than if I did not consider what the competition was doing. The result was conversations where previously there had been silence.

    5. Brand management.

    Since I had never developed or managed a brand before, the competition provided a baseline for me to learn how the process works, how to define brand attributes and then how to use this image to craft and manage the reputation process. It also guided what I could do with my own brand to set it apart and provide more value, yet included the attributes that our shared audience wanted.

    6. User experience.

    Reading the comments and feedback that the competitions’ customers provided in social media, blog posts and forums is an invaluable source of intelligence about a shared audience. I even asked a few questions on these posts to get the competitions’ customers to explain how they felt about their experience with the competition. This told me what type of user experience they are looking to develop.

    Related: Don't Declare War. Respect Competitors, and Capitalize on Your Own Strengths.

    7. Product development.

    To shape the type of solutions my business offers small business owners and companies, I tried what the competition offered. My product development became more productive when I could see what features were working and what were not. Then, I exploited these differences and added my own spin. Studying the competition triggered new ideas about how to approach development, making it easier to pinpoint where and how changes in my product could propel it farther ahead.

    8. Social media.

    Studying how the competition used social media saved considerable resources. I started looking at what sites they used and discovered the results of those efforts in terms of fans and followers. I also considered what they were doing on professional sites including LinkedIn to see how they presented themselves professionally. When I tried the social media sites the competition was not using I found they were missing some key platforms, giving me an advantage.

    9. Research.

    My competition did the heavy lifting for me when it came to target markets and state of the industry. They did not do all the research and hand me a white paper, but using Google Alerts to keep tabs on the competition provides an ongoing stream of information about their strategy, performance and any pivots. This can all be discerned from sales letters, email campaigns, press releases and mission statements. This was certainly more productive than creating my strategy in a vacuum and hoping it would meet the market need and beat the competition.

    10. Company culture.

    Although I was not privy to the internal workings of the competitions’ organizations, I did create a more productive team by studying how they defined their culture and addressed values, motivation, training and retention. Their hiring literature and employee programs provided new insights on best practices designed to get the most from my team. That enabled me to design a culture around what I wanted to achieve and put it into place quickly, with few changes afterward. Additional information about hiring practices, benefits and perks helped me provide a more effective way to onboard talent.

    I'm too busy to reinvent the wheel. Everything I observed my competition do shortened my learning curve and sped progress toward what I was trying to achieve.

    I learned from their mistakes and from their processes, ignoring what didn’t work and benchmarking best practices. Scope out your target audience and the overall external environment, but it’s just as important to track the competition.

    Related: What You Need to Know A

    Source: entrepreneur.com, 2016, John Rampton

  • Competitive Intelligence and Twitter: How to Monitor Competitors and Create an Awesome Strategy

    For a site that only requires 140 characters to get your message across, there is a lot of confusion about how to effectively use Twitter to monitor competitors, and how to analyze that twitterinformation to create an awesome social media strategy.

    Competitive Intelligence and Twitter:

    Why even use Twitter?

    Almost every major brand has jumped aboard the Twitter wagon, but just showing up is not enough. You’ve seen them in your newsfeed, possibly from a company, or perhaps from your Mom who just signed up to the service: the dreaded Pointless Tweet.  Pointless Tweets are messages that do not provide value to your reader. Repeating your marketing message or Tweeting inspirational quotes is not a way to engage your customers.

    Used properly, Twitter provides a platform for you to engage with customers and potential customers, provide instant customer service, and establish your company as an industry leader.

    How to find competitors through Twitter.

    To search for competitors, and discover who they engage with, simply type their names into the Twitter search. You can see the competitors’ Tweets by clicking ‘People’, and learn who is Tweeting about them by clicking ‘Tweets’.

    Want to get fancy?  Twitter also has an Advanced Search feature that lets you track by location, or search for Tweets with links from a specific user, or even for Tweets that are only positive or negative.

    What information should I track?

    1. Number of followers
    2. How frequently your competitor Tweets
    3. The engagement impact of each Tweet – How many retweets, replies, and favorites
    4. How often your competitor responds to customer inquiries
    5. What times of day they are Tweeting

    This should be tracked daily in an excel spreadsheet, or you can take the simple, automated route and sign up for Rivalfox’s upcoming beta release. Over time, the data will provide you with valuable insights, e.g. which type of Tweets create the most engagement and whether the time of Tweets correlates to more followers. Armed with this information, you can fine-tune your own awesome Twitter strategy.

    Creating Awesome Strategy

    When it comes to Twitter strategy, you do not need to reinvent the wheel.  Utilize what works for your competitors and change what doesn’t.  The most important goal is to share thrilling creative content, provide excellent customer service, and to engage potential customers by reaching out directly to their screens.

     

    Source: rivalfox.com, 13 oktober 2015

     

  • Competitive Intelligence is crucial to your business succes

    Competitive intelligence is crucial to business success

    To maintain a competitive edge in business, you've got to keep a close eye on the competition. That's why access to competitive intelligence is critical to the success of your organization. Your executives need competitive intelligence to keep up with competitors' announcements, mergers and the direction of industry and media trends. R&D needs it to stay abreast of competitors' developing products and services. Your sales force needs competitive intelligence to monitor competitors' offerings, customers and price points. After gathering all this diverse information, you need to make sure it's delivered to the right people in your organization—in time for them to act upon it. 

    Superior competitive intelligence at your fingertips

    Compiling competitive intelligence from multiple sources is critical, but doing so by scouring the newspapers, trade journals and Web sites of multiple competitors is an extremely time-consuming task. The chance of missing a critical bit of competitive intelligence—or not getting a bit of information to the right people at the right time—is extremely high. The online competitive intelligence information available from sources on the Web can be incomplete and inaccurate. Subscriptions to various news services may provide more accuracy but can be costly and very inefficient. 

    Tools and services like for instance Dow Jones Factiva provides access to world-class global content not found in any other single service. Gathering information from more than 28,000 sources from more than 200 countries in 23 languages, these services deliver the competitive intelligence you need within minutes.

    Easy access to competitive intelligence

    With tools employees can access continuous competitive intelligence from the corporate environment. Dow Jones Factiva offers the flexibility needed to deliver breaking news to employees in a way that best fits any organization—from an intranet or portal, via e-mail, or through Factiva's award-winning business information service

    The ability to create competitive intelligence topics for the entire company to track, as well as topics for specific departments or individuals within the organization is another benefit of Dow Jones Factiva's competitive intelligence offering. Because Dow Jones Factiva delivers information directly to the desktop, employees can track competitive intelligence while they continue working. Additionally, when more detailed intelligence is needed, employees can go to Factiva.com, where they'll find a single point of access to a deep archive of news and business research not available on the free Web. 

    www.dowjones.com

  • Competitive Intelligence presentations

    Agnihotri, Raj (2013). How Competitive Rumors and Customer Insights Empower the Sales Force to Grow Market Share. 16 slides.

    Alexander, Jennifer (2012). What is CI? An Introduction to Competitive Intelligence in the Law Firm Environment. 23 slides.

    Allison, Ed (2013). How Competitive Sales Battlecards and Silver Bullets open the door to strategic analysis. 25 slides.

    Applebaum, Zena (2014). Competitive Intelligence: How to Get It, How to Use It, 24 slides.

    Applebaum, Zena (2012). How intelligence accelerates new client acquisitions for law firms. 12 slides.

    Applebaum, Zena (2014). How intelligence systems empower collaboration and drive new business development. 17 slides.

    Baker, Debra (2013). Competitive Intelligence Techniques from the Masters: an In-Depth Exploration of Tools and Best Practices. 42 slides.

    Ban, David (2014). Gamification and Competitive Intelligence, 11 slides.

    Beeny, Jeff (2014). How to Scan for Healthcare, Biotech and Pharma Acquisition Targets, 13 slides.

    Bennetti, Matt (2006). Competitive Intelligence Best Practices, 20 slides.

    Borgaonkar, Sadashiv (2014). Competitive Intelligence: the lifeblood of strategy, 136 slides.

    Brey, Eric (2013). Utilizing social technology for business intelligence. 67 slides.

    Britton, Phil (2013). How to Anticipate and Mitigate Competitors from Adjacent Markets and Industries, 12 slides.

    Brooks, Nat (2014). How not to present insights to decision makers and keep your job. 24 slides.

    Brooks, Nat (2013). How to Build an Early Warning System to Harness Predictability and Win in the Market, 24 slides.

    Campbell, Sean (2011). Competitive Intelligence, 74 slides.

    Campbell, Sean (2014). Forty Years of Intelligence Expertise Distilled, 9 slides.

    Campbell, Sean (2014). Framework Fight Club: 10 Different Frameworks that Organizations Can Use to Better Analyze Their Competition, Industries, and Trends, 120 slides.

    Campbell, Sean (2012). Go Beyond Google and Gather Better Competitive Intelligence, 80 slides.

    Campbell, Sean (2014). Going beyond Google: how B2B marketers can gather better intelligence in a big data world. 76 slides.

    Campbell, Sean (2014). How to tune into the voice of the competitor. 63 slides.

    Campbell, Sean (2014). Identifying Sources with Social Media. 114 slides.

    Campbell, Sean (2013). Sourcing with social media: tips from a corporate sleuth. 93 slides.

    Campbell, Sean (2014). Squeezing the Internet, 42 slides.

    Campbell, Sean (2014). Voice of the competitor: going beyond Google. 66 slides.

    Camlek, Victor (2009). Competitive Intelligence and the Evolving Internet, 32 slides.

    Clayton, Claudia (2011). Dispelling the Myths About Competitive Intelligence. 42 slides.

    Coldea, G. (2010). Using Competitive Intelligence as a Source of Competitive advantage. Part 1Part 2, 32 slides.

    Colman, Tom (2014). How Five Key Concepts Maximize the Value of Conference Intelligence Coverage. 19 slides.

    Conley, David (2013). How Systematically Analyzing Innovation Trends Makes Industry Change Predictable. 22 slides.

    Cripe, Billy (2014). Social Competitive Intelligence Beyond Analytics, 2014, 47 slides.

    David, Fred (2013) The external assessment (chapter 3 of Strategic Management, 14th ed.) 53 slides

    Davis, Tom (2009). Prediction Markets and Competitive Intelligence, = 257 slides.

    De Rossi, Stefano (2009). CI and Risk Management 42 slides.

    Debaux, Guy (2010). Competitive Intelligence and Knowledge Management, 17 slides.

    Deltl, Johannes (2012). Best Practices in Implementing Strategic and Competitive Intelligence, 18 slides.

    Deltl, Johannes (2009). Competitive Intelligence: Be Ahead of the Competition, 19 slides.

    Dess, Lumpkin, Eisner, McNamara (2014). Analyzing the external environment of the firm: creating competitive advantages, chapter 2. Strategic Management, 7th edition.

    Donier, Fred (2011). Case de Inteligencia 2.0 Crescendo – Banco do Brasil, 22 slides.

    Drieman, Joost (2014). Essential tips for increasing efficiency of intelligence. 39 slides.

    Duncan, Rob (2009). Competitive Intelligence: Fast, Cheap, Ethical, 45 slides.

    Duncan, Rob (2009). Online social networks and the 2 Cis, 32 slides.

    Ezendu, Elijah 2010). Competitive Intelligence, 43 slides.

    Ezendu, Elijah (2010). Competitive Intelligence Architecture. 35 slides.

    Fierro, Doug (2013). Competitive Intelligence on a Shoestring Budget. 21 slides.

    Freeman, Beverly (2013). Competitive UX Intelligence: a primer. 45 slides.

    Garland, Erik (2013). How to pot and cope with emerging transitions in complex systems for organizational stability. 22 slides.

    GIA (2009). Global market intelligence survey 2009. 19 slides.

    GIA (2013). Global Market Intelligence survey 2013. 25 slides.

    GIA (2010). How to develop a world class market intelligence function. 17 slides.

    GIA (2009). Market Intelligence for Latin America. 25 slides.

    GIA (2009). Market intelligence for supply chain management. 34 slides.

    Gibson, Ann (2014). How Competitive Intelligence Helps professional Services Firms Succeed. 19 slides.

    Gleghorn, Todd (2014). How Internal Human Intelligence Networks (HUMINT) Develop External Primary Sources. 16 slides.

    Goedendorp, Ronald(2001). Trade Show Competitive Intelligence: Maximizing Your Intelligence Efforts. 119 slides.

    Groth, Brian (2013). Competitive Intelligence, 16 slides.

    Harkleroad, David (2012). Linking Competitive Intelligence to Decisions, 6 slides.

    Hedberg, Angelique (2014). How Industry and Market Sense Making Communicates Strategic Intelligence, 12 slides.

    Herring, Jan (2005). Defining your requirements: the KIT needs identification process. 28 slides.

    Heyroth, Stphanie (2014). How to Elevate Recruiting Performance with Competitive Intelligence, 23 slides.

    Hoffman, Bill (2014). How voice of the customer via employees can harness frontline insights. 22 slides.

    Holland, Jim (2013). Win Loss Analysis: It’s Not Just for Sales Anymore, 18 slides.

    Horn, Jeremy (2014). Active Competitive Intelligence. 28 slides.

    Hursky, Rostyk (2013). How Canada’s leading research technology organization developed an award-winning intelligence program. 15 slides.

    Jackson, August (2009). Anticipating competitive threats to global growth strategies. 19 slides.

    Jackson, August (2011). The Competitive Intelligence potential of social media, 16 slides.

    Jackson, August (2011). DIY B2B Social Media Intelligence, 13 slides.

    Jackson, August (2013). How to monitor social media for indicators of industry and market change. 20 slides.

    Jackson, August (2011). Marketing research and competitive intelligence. 15 slides.

    Jackson, August (2010). Social Network Analysis for Competitive Intelligence, 18 slides.

    Johnson, Arik (2014). Applying innovation intelligence for market segmentation and targeting. 33 slides.

    Johnson, Arik (2006). The CI software spectrum: connecting, automating and distributing intelligence across the enterprise. 48 slides.

    Johnson, Arik (2014). Collaborative analytics and insights: uniting strategy with organizational intelligence to anticipate industry change. 42 slides.

    Johnson, Arik (2007). The Competitive Intelligence Continuum: Taking Wisconsin to the World. 49 slides.

    Johnson, Arik (2006). Competitive Intelligence for Market Researchers: an Exercise-Driven, Interactive Workshop, 45 slides.

    Johnson, Arik (2012). How intelligence helps businesses make better decisions in unpredictable times. 28 slides.

    Johnson, Arik (2013). Identifying market opportunities: applying innovation intelligence for market segmentation and targeting. 28 slides.

    Johnson, Arik (2009). Intelligence 2.0: Exploiting Growth Opportunities and Anticipating Industry Change in the Era of Asymmetric Interpretation. 37 slides.

    Johnson, Arik (2008). Intelligence 2.0: How the Trends Shaping Business in the Year Ahead Influence CI’s Ability to Survive and Thrive, 38 slides.

    Johnson, Arik (2006). Intelligence driven innovation and product development: an exercise driven, interactive workshop. 38 pages.

    Johnson, Arik (2011). Intelligence solutions design: the past, present and future evolution of intelligence tools and methods. 30 slides.

    Johnson, Arik (2007). The Upper Hand of Innovation: Using CI to drive product development success, 46 slides.

    Johnson, Steve (2013). Win Loss Analysis: It’s not just for sales anymore. 18 slides.

    Julian, Ellen (2011). Going Global: How to build local Intelligence toolsets on a shoestring, 11 slides.

    Julian, Ellen (2010). Social media and market intelligence: what MI professionals need to know. 11 slides.

    Kalb, Cliff (2014). How to anticipate and outmaneuver your rivals: a case study of achieving advantage in pharmaceuticals. 15 slides.

    Kerby, Terry (2014). How corporate reorganization creates risk and opportunity for intelligence effectiveness. 31 slides.

    Kerby, Terry (2013). How 3M Applies Lean Principles to Make Competitive Intelligence Impact Measurable. 2013, 33 slides.

    King, Alex (2014). Tactical Competitive Intelligence for Sales and Bid Teams, 31 slides.

    Kjellbert, Hans (2014). Essential tips for increasing efficiency of intelligence. 39 slides.

    Knowles, Ron (2011). Learning from the competition: your competitive intelligence. 27 slides.

    Leeb, Scott (2013). How Knowledge Management at the Rockfeller Foundation Drives C Suite DecisionMaking, 17 pages.

    Leeb, Scott (2014). How to Maximize Competitive Intelligence Impact with a Minimized Budget, 17 pages.

    Lemaire, Johanne (2014). Practical Competitive Intelligence: Find Data You Need and Use It. 15 slides.

    Levy, Orly (2014). Integrating CI with BI as a Tools for Increasing Revenues in Global Enterprises. 17 slides.

    Madureira, Luis (2012). SMINT: Social Media Intelligence, 39 Slides.

    Mann, Kevin (2014). How to Engage Senior Executives in 12 Visible, Interactive and Provocative Ways, 40 slides.

    Mark, Lindsey (2011). Five Steps to Online Marketing Success Using Competitive Intelligence, 40 slides.

    Mark, Lindsey (2011). Advanced Competitive Intelligence Techniques. 21 slides.

    Martell, Jesper (2014). How Best Practices Enable Rapid Implementation of Intelligence Portals. 16 slides.

    McHenry, Craig (2013). How to link competitive simulations to operational decision-making. 15 slides.

    McHenry, Craig (2012). How to measure strategic market and competitive intelligence performance. 19 slides.

    McHugh, Dan (2010). The Required Skill Set and Knowledge Base to Conduct CI in Asia Pacific. 11 slides.

    Martell, Jesper(2014). Creating and Using Dynamic Topic Maps to Visualize Your Business Environment. 23 slides.

    McGraw Marketing (2010). Competitive Intelligence 101: An Introduction. 34 slides.

    Mina, Simona (2014). Generating competitive intelligence within higher education institutions. 15 slides

    Mitchell, Louise (2013). Actionable Intelligence on the Construction Industry. 27 slides.

    Mulligan, Dan (2013). How to reduce analytical bias by applying analysis of competing hypotheses (ACH). 44 slides.

    Naylor, Ellen (2012). Converse to gain real-time intelligence. 36 slides.

    Naylor, Ellen (2013). Developing your competitive intelligence skills, 37 slides.

    Naylor, Ellen (2009). From CI to the Opportunity: Practical Steps to Winning, 16 slides.

    Naylor, Ellen (2013). How Win Loss Analysis Helps Understand Buyer Behavior to Convert and Retain New Customers, 29 slides.

    Naylor, Ellen (2013). Optimize Competitive Intelligence Collection: From Public Intelligence to Human Intelligence, 41 Slides.

    Naylor, Ellen (2012). Primary Intelligence Collection: Interviewing and Elicitation, 35 slides.

    Naylor, Ellen (2012). Sales a Goldmine for CI: collaborating with sales, 21 slides.

    Naylor, Ellen (2014). The What, Why and How of Win Loss Analysis, 27 slides.

    Nelles, Alexandra (2012). Creating a global CI knowledge community with non-CI personnel. 14 slides

    Nelles, Alexandra (2013). How to Enhance Competitive Insights Using Internal Social Media. 18 slides.

    Nockels, Alysse. How to Recruit and Select the Best Candidate for an Intelligence Job. 2014, 19 slides.

    Pagell, Ruth (2010). Competitive Intelligence: Industry research, Comparisons, Marketing. 36 slides.

    Park, Siyoung (2014). Shaping business strategy through competitive intelligence: strategic use of intellectual property information. 60 slides, World Intellectual Property Organization

    Payne, Jim (2013). How to build and maintain your internal expert network to capture actionable insights. 13 slides.

    Pelayo, Esteban (2006). What are firm’s strategic intelligence needs? the Murcia example. 18 slides.

    Pfeffer, Troy (2010). Best practices in market intelligence for sales, 27 slides.

    Philips, Clay (2013). How technology intelligence can forecast disruptive innovations and fuel competitive strategy. 26 slides.

    Pick, Dave (2003). Customer/Competitive Intelligence in 60 seconds. 13 slides.

    Ponarul, Richard (2010). Economics of strategy: competitors and competition, 58 slides.

    Popper, Rafael (2013). Towards foresight 3.0. 21 slides.

    Price, David (2014). Five Lead strategies for competitive intelligence in Asia, 19 slides.

    Rosengren, Kim (2014). How a 360 Degree Competitive IQ Drives Healthcare Services Marketing, 19 slides.

    Roskill, Damian (2011). Four Keys to Maximizing Online Channel Effectiveness Using Competitive Intelligence. 32 slides

    Sahoo, Robby (2012). Competitive intelligence, 31 slides.

    Santos, Isabel (2011). A quick introduction to competitive Intelligence. 37 slides.

    Saracevic, Tefko (2010) Ethics for information professions, ethics for searchers. 31 slides

    Sgro, Vincent (2013). Power Up Your Competitive Price Intelligence with Web Data. 38 slides.

    Sikich, Geary (2013). How blending business continuity, strategy and risk management mitigates Black Swans and Shapeshifters. 27 slides.

    Simard, Albert (2013). Competitive Intelligence: an island of structure in an unstructured ocean. 33 slides.

    Sinha, Harsh (2009). Understanding the legal boundaries for competitive intelligence in India. 27 slides.

    Slaboszewski, Kristine (2011). Planting the CI Seed: Growing a Competitive Intelligence Program. 14 slides.

    Sliva, Tarcizio (2011). Social media monitoring and competitive intelligence, 19 slides.

    Smith, Tim (2012). How War Games Can Help Strengthen a Competitive Intelligence Program, 17 slides.

    Strand, Jill (2014). How Librarians Turn Intelligence Skills into Industry Insight. 17 slides.

    Stock, Adam (2011). Using competitive intelligence to build your legal business, 18 slides.

    Stumpfegger, Alexander (2012). Competitive intelligence and big data, 139 slides.

    Tan Stephanie (2011). Best practices in market intelligence for sales. 27 slides.

    Thiele, Terry (2013). How strategic intelligence elevates new business development success. 40 slides.

    Unknown (2009). Repositioning competitive intelligence, 24 slides.

    Vlems, Edwin (2012). Inbound Marketing: How to Use Competitive Intelligence as a Magnet for Customers. 91 slides.

    Voiovich, Jason (2014). How tactical intelligence drives strategic innovation. 28 slides.

    Walker, Tim (2009). CI in a web 2.0 world, 25 slides.

    Weiss, Sholom (2007). A System for Real-time Competitive Market Intelligence, 12 slides.

    Wergeles, Fred (2010). Analyst Tools, Competitive Analysis, and Market Intelligence. 11 slides.

    Wergeles, Fred (2013). How to Use Competitor Response Modeling to Accurately Forecast Potential Competitor Actions, 22 pages.

    West, Chris (2013). How Defensive Intelligence Can Increase the Success of Your Company’s Next Move. 16 slides.

    Wichtendahl, Thorsten (2011). How Competitive Intelligence Can Lead to Better Decision-making in Mergers and Acquisitions, 35 slides.

    Winfield, Chris (2012). Competitive Intelligence: tools and tactics that work. 60 slides.

    Wing, Melanie (2013). How Intelligence Teams Can Look Beyond Competitors to Optimize Company Success. 12 slides.

    Wright, Sheila (2013). How to Challenge Assumptions and Surface Hidden Advantages Using a Cross-Functional Insight Team. 25 slides.

    Zangwill, Bill (2014). How four statistical rules forecast who wins a competitive bid. 58 slides.

    Source: decisionintel.org

  • Competitive Strategy – 6 Ways to Enhance Competitive Intelligence from the Salesforce

    Heard-On-The-StreetWe have been developing a new competitive intelligence process for a client. The B2B company wants to better collect, analyze, and disseminate valuable insights on competitive strategy.

    As with many competitive intelligence systems, especially in B2B settings, much of the most timely and otherwise unavailable intelligence will come from the salesforce. Similarly, the salesforce is in one of the best positions to take advantage of competitive intelligence to better position products, value propositions, and offers to customers to stymie competitive strategy. It is vital, however, to ensure the competitive intelligence process is not simply asking for competitive intelligence from salespeople, and then giving it back to them without adding sufficient value.

    6 Ways to Enhance Competitive Intelligence from the Salesforce:

    • To combat this possibility, here are six enhancements to competitive intelligence that originates with the salesforce to deliver new value:
    • Aggregate information from multiple people to provide a view no one individual has in order to see patterns or spot trends.
    • Perform additional and deeper analysis on the raw information to create new understanding.
    • Communicate information to senior leadership that salespeople feel intently, but that is typically lost in the corporate shuffle (i.e., a regional or niche competitor who is not big enough to get corporate-wide attention).
    • Disprove or verify early rumors salespeople have reported to address the word on the street.
    • Exploit the availability of non-sales sources to enhance the raw intelligence and deliver new information to them.
    • Make if more efficient for sales to gather and especially share competitive intelligence with a process that funnels competitive intelligence to them when they need it.

    Source: Brainzooming

  • Don't Get Ubered: Rethinking Your Competitive Intelligence Approach

    market intelligence“‘You’ve been Ubered’ will become part of our lexicon to describe industries blindsided by the future,”says Tony Chapman, a Canadian consumer and branding expert, in reference to the challenges that “Big Taxi” is currently facing due to the growing popularity of the Uber rideshare app.


    In fact, every industry now has to face the fact that you “are either Uber, or you’re being Ubered.”

    So, while it is important to look at what your direct competitors are doing when evaluating the competitive landscape for your ecommerce business, it’s even more important to be aware of key trends that will shape where your market is headed.

    To help you create a competitive business strategy that keeps your business agile and adaptable to continuously evolving market conditions and competitors, let’s take a look at what some business strategists and analysts are recommending to startups and entrepreneurs.  After all, most businesses will need to adopt startup strategies in order to remain relevant 10 to 20 years from now. 

    Understanding Your Competitive Landscape

    To understand the big picture of how your business can thrive in the future, it helps to look at your competitive landscape from many different angles. The handy SlideShare presentation from Startup Next (see full presentation above) on market sizing and competitive analysis recommends to evaluate 3 competitive categories in your environment which include:

    1. Direct competitors

    • Big retailers in your industry (e.g. Amazon and Walmart)
    • Other businesses that “solve your unique problem” (including smaller, niche mom and pop shops or even Etsy shops)

    2. Indirect competitors

    • Economic and political trends (e.g. customer privacy)
    • Regulation, government legislation and trade agreements

    3. Future threats

    • Cultural shifts (e.g. usage of mobile devices overtaking desktop computers)
    • Tech innovations (e.g. wearables, 3D printing and virtual reality)
    • Possible changes that your business partners or suppliers are planning

    Once you know who those competitors are, it’s time to evaluate the market opportunities and consumer touchpoints related to each of them.

    A Startup Approach For Evaluating Future Competitors And Market Opportunities

    “We need a different way to represent the competitive landscape when you are creating a business that never existed or taking share away from incumbents by re-segmenting an existing market,” saysSteve Blank, a serial entrepreneur, Stanford professor and author whose book The Four Steps to the Epiphany was influential in the launch of the Lean Startup movement.

    So, if every business now needs to think like a startup in order to avoid “getting Ubered,” why not begin evaluating your market opportunities like a startup right now?

    Image via SteveBlank.com

    To do so, Blank recommends putting your business at the center of your competitive analysis diagram (versus plotting it out on an x, y axis – with your startup at the top right) and then branch out to key adjacent market segments that exist today. This will help to identify where you think your new customers might come from in the future.

    He calls this a “Petal Diagram” and his argument for this approach is that he always thought of his startups as “the center of the universe.” The example diagram above is for a startup education software platform. But the same format could be applied to any retail or ecommerce business.

    So, say your ecommerce business sells specialty sports equipment. You may want to add market segments that you don’t cater to right now but might in the future – thanks to new technologies. For example, advances in 3D printing technologies will allow you to sell to customers in countries to which you don’t currently ship your products. Or, you may be able to work with new distributors or manufacturers with whom you don’t currently have business relationships.

    Blank says that there is no limit to the number of “petals” or adjacent markets that you can map out. And for better visualization, he recommends that the size of the petals can be scaled to the size of the market opportunity for each segment.

    Image via SteveBlank.com

    “The petal diagram is where you [startups an entrepreneurs] develop your first hypothesis about who your customers are,” says Blank.

    While you probably already know who your existing customers are if you are running a thriving ecommerce business, it’s still important to consider that your future customers may look and behave a lot differently.

    And although the purpose of the petal diagram is to show potential investors why they should put their money into a startup, the same diagram can help your leadership team decide where to place their biggest bets and/or to allocate budgets towards R&D for future business growth.

    Tools For Evaluating Your Competition Online


    Image via Pixabay

    Whether you want to size-up your direct competitors, or research current and evolving industry trends, there’s an app or (sometimes free) online tool for that.

    Below are a few suggestions for where you can gather useful competitive intelligence data.

    1. Upstream Commerce
    While you do have to pay for this service, Upstream Commerce offers “automated, real-time intelligence analytics” and insights to help you evaluate competitive pricing, merchandising, promotion and product intelligence – across a number of retail industry categories. The company boasts that its data is easily customizable to help you build detailed, filterable results.

    2. Channel IQ
    Similar to Upstream Commerce, Channel IQ offers competitive intelligence analytics for price monitoring, product intelligence and more. But what sets it apart is that it offers competitive brand intelligence and protection tools. This includes paid search brand protection – allowing you to monitor PPC & keyword “brand-jacking,” so that your competitors can’t “illegally divert your traffic using your registered trade name.”

    3. The Google Keyword Planner tool (or other similar free tools) and Google Trends can help to evaluate consumer demand (via search queries) for your competitors’ products. These tools can also help you evaluate demand for specific products that you or your competitors carry.

    In addition, by signing up to receive Google Alerts via email whenever your competitors are covered by media or bloggers online, you can stay up-to-date on when they launch new products or when the company is receiving positive or negative press.

    4. Social media monitoring platforms
    In addition to looking at online search behavior, it’s important to look at what people are actually saying about your brand – and whether the conversation is moving in a positive or negative direction.

    There are a lot of social media monitoring platforms available for listening to what customers are saying on social networking sites. Some of the more popular ones include: HootSuite, TweetDeck andSysomos. Here’s a helpful blog post from Ryan Holmes, the CEO of HootSuite on how to “listen” to the competition via social media.

    5. eMarketer.com
    While the research, insights and benchmark reports written by eMarketer analysts are crafted with a marketing slant, the company’s ecommerce and mobile commerce reports provide rich, aggregated data from some of the most important research companies that study digital trends today.

    And even if you can’t afford to pay for their full reports, if you sign-up for their free newsletter and search through their public articles, you can access a lot of the most important highlights and charts for use in your own competitive intelligence analysis and strategy development.

    6. Alexa.com and other web analytics tools
    While the insights that you can glean from the free version of the Alexa tool are limited, you can still gain a high-level overview of:

      • how your competitors’ websites rank online (both worldwide or in your own country),
      • how their website performs overall (via graphs highlighting the bounce rate, pageviews per visitor and average visitor’s time spent on the website), and
      • where they may be investing in online marketing efforts via the top “upstream websites” graph (i.e. the top websites that send traffic to your competitors’ websites).

    The paid version of the tool is more robust – giving you further intel into sites linking in, keywords driving traffic to the site and overall website comparisons.

    7. comScore and HitWise
    These tools also do a lot of what the paid version Alexa tool does and are pretty popular for gathering online consumer behavioral data. And like Alexa, both products will enable you to look at traffic on your competitors’ sites – offering variations on how people get there, what popular search terms were used and who those people are. But the way the data is collected is different: comScore data is collected via a panel of users who opt-in to be tracked, and HitWise data is collected based on aggregated ISP user data.

    If you have the budget, then I’d say pay for both of these tools. If not, the free Alexa tool is a great place to start.

    8. Finally, although Mary Meeker is a person (and a very influential one at that) and obviously not an app, her annual Internet Trends Report has become an important destination for anyone who wants to know what’s happening online today – or prepare for will happen in the future. So, I suggest you add her slide deck to your “future threats” intelligence arsenal.

    For a list of even more competitive intelligence tools, check out this post on the Shopify blog.

     

  • FreePint Releases Product Review of Competitive Intelligence Software, Intelligence Plaza

    FreePint, the international research and consulting service for information and knowledge professionals, released an independent product review of Intelligence Plaza today. The Intelligence Plaza is a comprehensive web-based market and competitive intelligence software tool developed by Global Intelligence Alliance (GIA), which is used by over 40,000 business managers worldwide.


    Chicago, IL, January 07, 2015 --(PR.com)-- FreePint, the international research and consulting service for information and knowledge professionals, released an independent product review of Intelligence Plaza today. The Intelligence Plaza is a comprehensive web-based market and competitive intelligence software tool developed by Global Intelligence Alliance (GIA), which is used by over 40,000 business managers worldwide.

    The Product Review of Intelligence Plaza by FreePint takes a look at Intelligence Plaza in terms of:

    1. Sources, Content and Coverage - How Intelligence Plaza provides users with a comprehensive web-based market and competitive intelligence software tool.

    2. Technology – What are the search functions of Intelligence Plaza, how the interface works and how it can benefit any organization.

    3. Purchasing and Value – What are the cost and the value that Intelligence Plaza would bring to any organization.

    FreePint’s in-depth Product Reviews are often used by information managers when evaluating tools and as a key part of their purchasing decision.

    In an excerpt, the Review explains, “Intelligence Plaza is a great choice for organisations already using Microsoft SharePoint as it is strongly integrated within a SharePoint Interface. The stand out strengths of Intelligence Plaza are the options to set up feeds from internal and external feeds of your choosing, making each company’s view unique and tailored to their information needs and wants. The package also enables each user to tag chosen stories and you can choose a variety of delivery options. Intelligence Plaza is fully operational on all platforms from PC to tablet and smartphone. The Intelligence Plaza “Market Intelligence Team” are fully committed to ensuring that every customer gets the most from that data available. The typical company size that uses Intelligence Plaza can be from 100 to thousands of employees.”

    “We have seen a trend in the marketplace where more and more companies are moving towards Microsoft SharePoint, and it is of utmost importance for our clients to have a choice. With GIA, they can choose between SharePoint products and non-SharePoint products, thus avoiding the need to build something internally, when a world-class off-the-shelf market intelligence software solution for SharePoint already exists. Intelligence Plaza for SharePoint is an outcome of collaboration between intelligence advisors, intelligence software experts and SharePoint specialists. It is an actual SharePoint software product that is fully compatible with the corporate intranet platform, and meets internal IT requirements and offers all the features of a proven intelligence software for market intelligence practitioners. Business users in their turn, benefit from all the built-in functionalities. These include for instance, personal email alerts and dashboards, that are all packaged in a user-friendly interface,” said Petteri Verronen, Vice President of Technology at GIA.

    http://www.pr.com/

     

     

  • How to Benchmark Your Marketing Performance Against Your Competition's

    160225-Man-Painting-Coloured-Arrows-115378220In today's digital marketing world, competitive intelligence often takes a back seat to all the key performance indicators (KPIs) on which marketers are focused—open rates, social engagement metrics, lead-to-sales opportunity conversion rates, etc.

    That inward focus on how well you are doing with your revenue-driving marketing tactics is critical. But it can lead you to celebrate the wrong things. Don't let your KPIs overshadow the importance of knowing exactly how your digital marketing strategies are performing in relation to your peers who are competing against you in the market.

    If you forget to look at the bigger picture, you'll miss a perspective that, well, separates the best marketers from the mediocre ones.

    You can easily keep tabs on how your campaigns measure up against others in your industry without hiring an expensive third-party research firm. Of course, there may be times when you do need customer research and use a fancy detailed matrix of your competitors for in-depth analysis for identifying new products or for market sizing.

    But I'm talking about a quick and easy dashboard that measures you, the marketer, against your competitors.

    Why Spy?

    Competitive intelligence helps you...

    • Increase your chances of winning in the marketplace
    • Shape the development of your digital marketing strategy
    • Create a strategy for new product launches
    • Uncover threats and opportunities
    • Establish benchmarking for your analytics
      Most businesses do not have the luxury of having a dedicated employee, let alone a dedicated team, to gather and analyze gobs of data. However, you can easily track basic KPIs to inform decision-making at your company.

    Having analyzed the digital marketing strategies of numerous companies of various size and in various industries, including e-commerce, SaaS, and travel companies—and their competitors—I suggest the following for benchmarking.

    Website Performance Metrics

    To track the performance of a website, gather data from sites such as SEMRush, Pingdom, Similarweb, and Alexa. While that data is not always accurate when you compare three or four competitors at once, you can spot trends.

    Important metrics to monitor include the following:

    • Website visits: The average number of visitors per month can easily size up how popular you and your competitors are.
    • Bounce rate and site speed: Correlate these two metrics. That's how you can determine whether you need to make changes to your own website. For example, if your website has a high page-load time compared with your competitors, that will impact your page rankings, bounce rate, and overall customer satisfaction.
    • Geographic sources of traffic: Look at what percentage of visitors comes from what regions. That's critical if your company plans to expand beyond its current geographical presence. It will also allow you to spot global opportunities by finding gaps in distribution when looking at all competitors.
    • Website traffic by channel: See where your competitors choose to spend their time and money. For example, a company that has a higher percentage of visitors from email probably has a large prospect database. If you look at their website, you can examine how they collect data for their email marketing programs. Are they getting website visitors to sign up for newsletters or special offers? If not, they may be purchasing prospect data from a data provider. You can adjust your own strategy to ramp up marketing campaigns in areas where your competitors are not actively engaging prospects, or to increase spending in areas where they are outperforming you.

    Benchmarking reports from industry research reports are also helpful for tracking average open, click-through, and conversion rates.

    By putting together your newly found competitor insight and your own metrics, including your past performance, you can establish your own benchmarking.

    Mining for More Data

    Where are your competitors spending their advertising budgets? How are they using social media and PR? What jobs are they posting? Those answers are not hard to find, and they provide powerful insights.

    • SEO/PPC research: Tools are available to help you determine what ads your competitors are running and how they rank for particular keywords. Check out SEMRush, SpyFu, and WhatRunsWhere. You can also look at their overall spending for PPC campaigns. Depending on the source, however, the accuracy of this data can be as low as 50%. So use it for gauging overall direction, but don't rely on it entirely.
    • Social media: This is probably the hottest area of marketing and the hardest to assess. Mining data on social channels is especially tough when tracking consumer brands. It's best to monitor your competitors' activities monthly, and make sure to look at the posts ad promotions that companies generate. When updating or changing your strategy, you should have a solid understanding of what social media channels your competitors are using, types of posts they are making, how frequently they are using social media, and how successful they are (including number of users and levels of engagement).
    • PR: Press releases, financial reports, and thought-leadership blog posts distributed by your competitors provide great insight into their partnerships, possible marketing spending, and other initiatives.
    • Job postings: From time to time, take a look at LinkedIn or other job sites and you can get a good idea of where and how the company plans to expand.

    Frequency of Competitive Analysis

    The answer depends on the type of business that you have and the competitive landscape.

    For example, if you are selling a product in the SaaS Cloud space where you have 10 competitors, most of which are leading innovators, it makes sense to track their every move. However, if you are a B2B company and you have only one or two competitors in the manufacturing sector, you probably can get away with doing some basic benchmarking once every quarter.

    It is advisable to do a competitive analysis prior to changing strategy, launching a new product, or making tactical plans for the next quarter or year.

    Don't Be Afraid: Know Where You Stand

    Here's the bottom line: Don't get too excited about your 5% jump in email open rates, or passing a "likes" milestone on Facebook. Have the courage to see whether you are really a marketing rock star by benchmarking yourself against your competitors. Your business needs to know what your competition is doing. And I don't mean just knowing your competitors' products and pricing.

    With the insights you'll get from these tips and tools, you will be able to create a solid strategy, spot-on tactical plans, and (at the very least) a fantastic presentation to your executives or board.

    Source: MarketingProfs

  • How to Spy on Your Competition

    In this article, you'll learn...150206-curious-businessman-spying-lg
    • How to gain competitive intelligence from public sources
    • Tools to monitor online advertising and SEO tactics of their competition

    Marketers want to know what their competition is up to. Setting up Google Alerts and following your competitor's Twitter feed can get you only so far, and the old "hide your badge trick" at tradeshows is just annoying. Does it ever work... or does it just arouse suspicion?
    So what's the best way to gather competitive intelligence?
    Some of the information you want is not public. Other information is just hard to find and takes some work. Luckily, with the troves of information now online, plus some new tools, it's never been easier.
    January is auspicious in the history of covert intelligence-gathering. At a lunch on January 24, 1946, President Harry Truman appointed the first Director of Central Intelligence.
    In honor of that just-passed anniversary, we're going to look at some CIA-style techniques for spying on your competition. I won't tell you all of my secrets, nor pick favorite tools, but here are five bits of tradecraft.

    1. Ad Spying
    Ever wanted to know where your competitors are advertising and what they are saying? Maybe you come across their banner ads here and there, but how big of an investment are they making? Are there places where they are advertising and where you should advertise, too?
    Some tools let you actually see where companies are advertising. Two of the more prominent are AdBeat and WhatRunsWhere. These tools crawl sites every day to find out what ads are running, and you can find out just what ad creative your competition is running and where.

    2. SEO Keyword Spying
    Knowing what keywords your competition is bidding on can be very valuable. Sure, you can try out keywords and see what ads pop up, but a much better way is to use a tool to automate the task.
    Two tools that do so are SpyFu and iSpionage. Enter a keyword or domain, and you can find out which keywords your competitors are bidding on, what ad copy they're using, and which landing pages they're using.

    3. Web Traffic Spying
    SimilarWeb is a cool tool that lets you look at the traffic to and from any website. My favorite way to use it is to see what sites are sending people to my competitors.
    By looking at the top referring sites (which you can see for your own site with Google Analytics), you will gain some insight into content that's sending clients to your competition. Maybe there's a blog that mentions them. Maybe they have some type of referral or affiliate agreement.
    You also get a nice summary of their overall traffic, what geographies it's coming from, how much is coming from social media, and some other nice nuggets of info.

    4. SEC Filings
    The lives of most CIA researchers are not as eventful as Robert Redford's in Three Days of the Condor. Not everything in the spy world is cloak and dagger. The Agency employs hundreds of analysts who read newspapers, financial filings, and other public documents to see what they can find.
    SEC filings can reveal a lot about a public company. Aside from the usual financial information, over the years I've found the following: office lease expenses, severance agreements, technology licensing deals, and details of acquisitions.
    Make sure to read the footnotes; that's where a lot of miscellaneous and interesting stuff is hidden in plain sight.
    James Underwood, author of Competitive Intelligence for Dummies, has a quick tutorial on how to find and navigate the various SEC filing documents. He includes a tip on a smoking gun that can really be valuable: "Always check to see if the auditors have filed a 'Going Concern Letter' on the company. That usually means that they have serious concerns about the future viability of the company."

    5. Job Sites
    Don't ignore job sites. You can find out a lot about a company's focus and strategy. Your competitor is looking for a bunch of mobile engineers? Ten new sales reps in Germany?
    Glassdoor is a site that solicits employee and interviewee feedback, so you can learn a lot about a company's culture there. You can also sense the health of a company.
    I looked up a company that had just raised a nice Series C round of financing (sounds good!), but I saw a comment about a big layoff (not so good!).
    Glassdoor also lets you set up alerts, so you get this stuff in your inbox. Even the CIA is on Glassdoor: "A mixed bag" at 3.9 stars out of five.

    Remember, spying takes patience and diligence. In the words of espionage novelist Graham Greene, "Most things disappoint till you look deeper."
    Have other ideas? I would love to hear about them, spy to spy.

    Source: Marketingprofs.com, February 6, 2015

     

  • How To Use Competitive Intelligence To Drive Email ROI

    Naamloos

    Marketers who use competitive intelligence tools enjoy an average of three times more email generated revenue than those who don’t, according to a recent report by The Relevancy Group.

    Yet one of the most common questions I'm asked when I present a client with a competitive analysis is: "There's no point in doing this more than once a year, right?"
    Think again. There’s a lot you can -- and should -- do with competitive intelligence tools to drive ROI on a regular basis. Here's a short list to get you started:
    1. Learn from your competitor's tests, not just your own. We all talk about testing, but did you realize that you can double your efforts by gleaning ideas from competitors? If you see what works for them, you can test it for yourself. And if you see something that doesn’t work, you can deprioritize that test, and put more lucrative efforts first.
    2. Identify key subject lines, phrases, creative, etc. Chances are, if it engages your competitors’ audience, it will probably engage yours, too. It’s worth sorting through creative examples to get ideas for what you can test next.
    3. Quickly see what is new in marketing. It can be difficult to find the newest innovations, tools, or techniques that can drive your results and make your job easier. A competitive analysis tool can help you keep tabs on your competitors so you can identify when they are doing something that you can’t. Think about all the technologies we now use that were virtually unknown 10 years ago: real-time suggestion engines, dynamic image generation, and more. Just by asking, “how did they do that?”, you might uncover that your competitors are using a new tool or technique that you could implement to help drive your ROI too.
    4. Prove you need a bigger budget. A competitive tool can help you see exactly how much effort your competitors are putting into their email channel. Based on those competitive insights, you can prove that you need a bigger budget to keep up.
    5. Track benchmarks. It’s helpful to understand how you stack up against competitive benchmarks, such as read rates or share of voice. It can be even more helpful to know how those metrics change in different seasons and during different holidays. This can support your budget requests or even potentially help you restructure your program.
    Clearly there is a lot you can learn from your competitors. Once a year definitely won’t cut it if you want to keep your program fresh and continue to drive ROI. Instead, consider a two-part approach:
     
    Weekly and/or monthly: Make quick dives into the competitive tools you use to see creative changes on a regular basis. This is strictly to generate ideas that you can use to update your own testing grid. It will help you with the top three items above. A frequent check-in will keep this from taking too much time, because you’ll have enough familiarity with the competitive landscape to scroll through quickly.
     
    Bi-monthly or quarterly: Keep your more formal reporting to a less frequent schedule. This type of reporting is important because it will help you with the last two items on the list above. But it is the part that doesn’t change often. Quarterly may work, or you may decide that there are certain timeframes that are so important to your business that you need to adjust your reporting schedule around them. Even with adjustments, a formal reporting schedule shouldn’t be more often than every other month.
     
    Source: mediapost.com, November 16, 2016
  • Information Is Now The Core Of Your Business

    DataData is at the very core of the business models of the future – and this means wrenching change for some organizations.

    We tend to think of our information systems as a foundation layer that support the “real” business of the organization – for example, by providing the information executives need to steer the business and make the right decisions.

    But information is rapidly becoming much more than that: it’s turning into an essential component of the products and services we sell.

    Information-augmented products

    In an age of social media transparency, products “speak for themselves”– if you have a great product, your customers will tell their friends. If you have a terrible product, they’ll tell the world. Your marketing and sales teams have less room for maneuver, because prospects can easily ask existing customers if your product lives up to the promises.

    And customer expectations have risen. We all now expect to be treated as VIPs, with a “luxury” experience. When we make a purchase, we expect to be recognized. We expect our suppliers to know what we’ve bought in the past. And we expect personalized product recommendations, based on our profile, the purchases of other people like us, and the overall context of what’s happening right now.

    This type of customer experience doesn’t just require information systems; the information is an element of the experience itself, part of what we’re purchasing, and what differentiates products and services in the market.

    New ways of selling

    New technologies like 3D printing and the internet of things are allowing companies to rethink existing products.

    Products can be more easily customized and personalized for every customer. Pricing can be more variable to address new customer niches. And products can be turned into services, with customers paying on a per-usage basis.

    Again, information isn’t just supporting the manufacturing and sale of the product – it’s part of what makes it a “product” in the first place.

    Information as a product

    In many industries, the information collected by business is now more valuable than the products being sold – indeed, it’s the foundation for most of the free consumer internet. Traditional industries are now realizing that the data stored in their systems, once suitably augmented or anonymized, can be sold directly. See this article on the Digitalist magazine, The Hidden Treasure Inside Your Business, for more information about the four main information business models.

    A culture change for “traditional IT”

    Traditional IT systems were about efficiency, effectiveness, and integrity. These new context-based experiences and more sophisticated products use information to generate growth, innovation, and market differentiation. But these changes lead to a difficult cultural challenge inside the organization.

    Today’s customer-facing business and product teams don’t just need reliable information infrastructures. They need to be able to experiment, using information to test new product options and ways of selling. This requires not only much more flexibility and agility than in the past, but also new ways of working, new forms of IT organization, and new sharing of responsibilities.

    The majority of today’s CIOs grew up in an era of “IT industrialization,” with the implementation of company-wide ERP systems. But what made them successful in the past won’t necessarily help them win in the new digital era.

    Gartner believes that the role of the “CIO” has already split into two distinct functions: Chief Infrastructure Officers whose job is to “keep the lights on”; and Chief Innovation Offers, who collaborate closely with the business to build the business models of the future.

    IT has to help lead

    Today’s business leaders know that digital is the future, but typically only have a hazy idea of the possibilities. They know technology is important, but often don’t have a concrete plan for moving forward: 90% of CEOs believe the digital economy will have a major impact on their industry. But only 25% have a plan in place, and less than 15% are funding and executing a digital transformation plan.

    Business people want help from IT to explain what’s possible. Today, only 7% of executives say that IT leads their organization’s attempts to identify opportunities to innovate, 35% believe that it should. After decades of complaints from CIOs that businesses aren’t being strategic enough about technology, this is a fantastic new opportunity.

    Design Thinking and prototyping

    Today’s CIOs have to step up to digital innovation. The problem is that it can be very hard to understand — history is packed with examples of business leaders that just didn’t “get” the new big thing.  Instead of vague notions of “disruption,” IT can help by explaining to business people how to add information into a company’s future product experiences.

    The best way to do this is through methodologies such as Design Thinking, and agile prototyping using technologies should as Build.me, a cloud platform that allows pioneers to create and test the viability of new applications with staff and customers long before any actual coding.

    Conclusion

    The bottom line is that digital innovation is less about the technology, and more about the transformation — but IT has an essential role to play in demonstrating what’s possible, and needs to step up to new leadership roles.

     

    Source: timoelliot.com, November 14, 2016

  • Only Half of Companies Actually Use the Competitive Intelligence They Collect

    jan16-26-128244186For more than 30 years, most large corporations worldwide have adopted competitive intelligence (CI) as a way to expedite good decisions. And yet for almost every company that uses CI in their decision-making, there’s another that disregards CI’s mix of industry analysis, rival positions, and market insight to their detriment.

    We recently conducted a survey of CI managers and analysts who’ve been through our training program to see how much their findings influenced major company decisions, and why. We received 236 responses from 21 industries in U.S. and European corporations, from CI-trained analysts in marketing, business development, strategy, R&D, finance, and other fields. They had an average of 6.3 years of experiencing in using CI frameworks and tools, and 62% were from companies with over $1 billion in annual sales revenues.

    We found that 55% of our respondents said that their input on major management decisions made enough difference to improve the decision. But 45% said their CI analysis did not.

    Why did some analysts have their input incorporated, while others didn’t? Our survey suggested several key reasons.

    First, many executives decide on a course of action and then use CI to ratify their choice. When asked, “What percent of your reports do you feel are just ‘confirmatory’ for an executive who already made a decision?” a full one-third of our respondents claimed “high” or “very high.” In these cases, the analysis may just be an obligation to be checked off a list.

    We also ran several simple OLS regression models and tested more than two dozen variables to see if they affected which companies actually allowed their CI analyses to influence their decisions. At the end, we found four variables turned out to be highly significant in explaining the difference in impact.

    1. The analyst was assigned a “sign-off” authority over major decisions. The single most effective way to ensure intelligence is used in any given decision is to give the analyst a say in moving it forward. In practical terms this means the analyst – not just the PowerPoint deck – becomes part of discussions leading to the decision. That is the one area where “intelligent organizations” differ most from others.

    2. Management was open to perspectives that were different from the internal consensus. Management that was more open to different perspective was also more likely to ask the analyst for the “big picture” rather than just the data.

    3. The analyst’s report called for proactive action more than reaction. Most companies are reactive by nature, and a lot of intelligence is about reacting to competitors’ moves. However, the decisions that matter more may well be those that are proactive. When the analyst provided proactive recommendations, the analysis had more of an impact.

    4. The analyst was involved in product launches. We don’t know why analysts in this area felt particularly impactful, but we do know that competitive intelligence is highly popular in tactical areas, and that product launches are an area where companies are most worried about competitors’ responses; successful product launches depend on correctly gauging the response of other players in the market. These include, naturally, customers and competitors, but also the less obvious responses by distribution channels, regulatory authorities, and influencing agents. Lack of insightful anticipation of these reactions — which is where competition analysts have the greatest expertise — leads to many more failures than there should be. Perhaps the analysts involved with product launches are thus given more of a mandate than analysts involved in other kinds of activities.

    None of these steps involves spending millions on the intelligence or hiring legions of analysts. And overall, these four variables explained a respectable 40% of the variability in having an impact on decisions. In terms of magnitude of the effect, the simple “sign off” requirement from management was clearly the leading contributor to explaining variability of impact.

    For these decisions – the ones that were improved by competitive intelligence — CI analysts reported many applications of their insights. While product launches were over-represented, our respondents told us about a wide array of applications for their analyses. They were evenly distributed between pursuing opportunities (46%) and reducing risks (44%), and ran the gamut from product pricing and features, capex investments, manufacturing processes, market expansion, joint ventures, M&A, and more.

    For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, respondents said that use of competitive intelligence had either saved or generated millions through discontinuing ineffective drug development efforts, walking away from bad deals and/or licensing opportunities, or accelerating new drug development based on what competitors were doing. For example, as one told us, “We accelerated our orphan disease program, based on accurate prediction of rival expected entry.”

    A common theme across industries was the smart reallocation of resources. One analyst told us that their company had stopped development on a project that was consuming lots of local resources after the analysis indicated it wouldn’t be effective. They then re-applied those resources to an area with true growth potential — that area is now starting to take off. In a different company, an analysis led to the cancellation of an extremely high-risk R&D program.

    This is not to discount the importance of ratifying a current course of action. In one of our favorite answers to our open-response question, an analyst described how CI had “identified only a single competitor, while determining others did not have the business case to continue a pursuit.” But it’s clear to us from this and other surveys we’ve done that the companies that get the most out of CI use it for a wide array of purposes – and actually let it shape their decisions.

    Source: Harvard Business review

  • Wat maakt een company profile een krachtige tool?

    Company profileWat is een company profile of bedrijfsprofiel nu eigenlijk en waar wordt het door bedrijven voor gebruikt? 

    Wat is een company profile?

    In een company profile wordt op een systematische wijze een analyse gemaakt van een bedrijf. Onderwerpen die hierbij aan de orde komen zijn:

    • Algemene feiten van het bedrijf
    • Historie van het bedrijf
    • Strategie
    • Identiteit
    • Doelen
    • Competenties
    • Product portfolio
    • Organisatiestructuur
    • Financials

    Maar waar wordt het nu door bedrijven voor gebruikt?

    In het bedrijfsprofiel worden zaken in kaart gebracht die u als organisatie zelf kunt beïnvloeden zoals bijv: bedrijfsstrategie, concurrentiestratie, R&D strategie, product portfolio of imago. Verschillende afdelingen binnen organisaties maken gebruik van company profiles voor verschillende doelen:

    Afdelingen Doel
    Strategie

    Ontwikkelen organisatiestrategie, concurrentiestratie of product portfolio; Beoodelen bedrijfsovername

    Marketing Bepalen imago, positionering
    Sales Voeren van acquisitiegesprekken; voorbereiden proposaltrajecten; realiseren cross-selling bij klanten
    R&D Leveranciersanalyse, ontwkkelen R&D strategie door inzicht in technologie van concurrentie
    Inkoop Leveranciersanalyse
    Finance

    Beoordelen financiele betrouwbaarheid

    Ervaring heeft uitgewezen dat het gebruik van company profiles de effectiviteit van bijv een acquisitiegesprek, cross-selling, bedrijfsovername, leveranciersselectie vergroot en verkleint de kans op verkeerde keuze voor leveranciers. Wilt u meer weten of een voorbeeld te downloaden klik dan hier.

    Bron: RK-Intelligence.nl, Ruud Koopmans, 4 November 2016

  • What competitors are using to track your moves.

    Ever get the feeling that you’re being watched?

    If you do, you’re not paranoid. It’s likely your competitors are watching your every move with new technology that will give you a shear wake up 

    CI paranoiacall.

    Following the old adage of keeping your enemies closer, they’re monitoring everything – from your company’s blog articles to customer tweets about your products or services. In many cases, they’re even tracking entire company websites and receiving email alerts or phone notifications when website changes indicate you’ve entered a new market or industry, among a slew of other things. Spooky, right? No, it’s called competitive intelligence technology and it’s becoming mainstream across all markets and industries.

     
    What Are Competitors Looking for Online?

    There are a few reasons why more companies are investing in digital competitive intelligence approaches. First, competitors want to know if you’re doing better than them. Depending on your industry, they’ll look for cues that could threaten their market share. This could be your product line, promotional tactics, a new partnership or something as small as new certifications or accolades. Every company wants to be the market leader and if they’re losing their competitive edge, they’re likely to pinpoint what’s holding them back by browsing the web since almost everything ends up online anyway.

    The second reason why they’d keep tabs on your company online is to differentiate themselves. There’s no competitive advantage in mimicking others, but rather in doing something unique that’s hard to replicate. Aggressive competitors monitor your website to determine if they can compete through price, service, or new technology, to name a few approaches. When monitoring your company’s website, for instance, they’re watching how you’re communicating value or claim a market position. If they find that your company and other competitors mostly use videos to generate leads, they may want to use videos in a different way or do something totally unique to stand out and take away your leads.

    Thirdly, and most importantly, competitors want to predict your next move. Even the smallest bit of data published online can be the key that unlocks what’s happening behind closed doors. Some clues lie on your own website, like a job listing in a new department or a new partnership recently announced. Even employees are capable of accidentally leaving behind clues on social media. Granted companies aren’t looking to hack into your website and start spying, but they do notice breadcrumbs left around the web about your company and use them to figure out where you’re heading.

    Now, how exactly are they keeping up with your company’s moves? Every industry and company will focus on different things, but here are a few areas of interest that get the attention from many competitors:

    1. Your Website and Marketing Content

    This is the starting point for competitors and the more obvious one for anyone savvy enough to watch the competition. They head straight to the source (your website) and audit how your company is positioning itself and communicating value to markets served. They’ll do this by analyzing all of your marketing content (blog articles, white papers, videos, and landing pages) that speak directly to prospects. Doing this also puts them in the shoes of a prospective buyer, so they can compare their marketing efforts with yours to see what they can do better or differently.

    Other times, competitors are digging around your site for specific information. More than likely, they’re using tools such as competitive intelligence software to monitor prices, product updates, and even company news like new locations or quarterly earnings. It may seem trivial and even a waste of time, but with every piece of new information they gather, it’s one step closer to figuring out how your company stacks up or what your next move could be.

    2. Your Customers’ Feedback

    If you’re wondering what your customers are saying online, your competitors most likely know more than you think. Customers often spill the beans on how a company truly operates (no matter if it’s positive or negative). Since they aren’t discreet about offering their opinion and have firsthand experience with your business, competitors will take this into account when trying to assess what you offer and how you offer it.

    Depending on your industry, competitors search for reviews in a variety of places. Online tools today can search across the web and collect chatter about your company on forums, social media, and even consumer or partner websites. Twitter has become a popular place for crisp and blunt reviews about companies in 140 characters or less. Look at the tweets below for telecommunications provider Comcast regarding their tech support  and customer service practices:

     

    Comcast’s competitors now have the upper hand on understanding how Comcast interacts with its customers and even how they train their own employees. Having this type of information serves as a guide for Comcast competitors to differentiate themselves and perhaps snap up current unhappy Comcast customers.

    Recently, Comcast was under fire when a audio clip of a poor service call went viral. This shows that many aspects of a competitor’s customer experience leak online all the time. More companies are waking up to the idea that there are ways to collect this information and understand how their reputation compares to yours by gathering reviews and comments about each leak.

    3. Your Hiring Strategies

    It seems insignificant, but your company’s job openings and recent hires are hot spots for competitor snooping. Current job listings and tracking who’s potentially coming aboard can be strong indicators of upcoming strategies or areas of interest for your company. Think about it. When your company is looking to do something new or build on a current success, you need people with specific expertise to make it happen. Competitors are aware of that and will do the digging in order to confirm their suspicions.

    Consider recent job openings and hires from technology giant Apple. In June 2014, MacRumors reported that Apple posted several job listings for Siri Language Engineers. These listings had requirements including “strong software development skills” and to be experts in a foreign language, specifically listing Japanese, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, and Russian among others.

    Additionally, Wired reported in June 2014 how Apple is building a strong team to enhance Siri. They hired a speech technology researcher and former Microsoft employee as a senior director for Siri, as well as speech researchers from Nuance (a speech recognition vendor). With this information, Apple competitors can start putting the pieces together on how Siri is developing, perhaps in time for the release of the iPhone 6 and iOS8.

    What Can You Do About It?

    If you aren’t already monitoring your competitors, think about this:

    According to a new business concept called Speed to Intelligence, companies are becoming increasingly concerned with how quickly they can get and use competitive information to strategize and move quickly. This means your competitors want to automate how they track your every move to get ahead.

    Now is the time to level the playing field, so to speak. With new competitor monitoring tools available today, they’re watching what your company is doing around the clock by receiving email alerts or notifications directly to their phone. You can also use these technologies as a guide on where to start looking for competitive information, but first assess which areas for each competitor concern you the most in order to narrow your research and start monitoring what’s online. If you are concerned about a competitor’s product development initiatives for a specific feature, for example, automate how you follow competitors on LinkedIn and other professional job sites.

    If you are already monitoring your competitors…

    First, give yourself a pat on the back. Second, take the time to assess and optimize how you’re currently managing this process by asking yourself these questions:

    • Is your intelligence gathering structured?
    • Do you receive automated alerts when things change online?
    • Is this process happening consistently?
    • Do you spend enough time analyzing the information you’ve gathered?

    If you answered “No” for any of these, then your process isn’t as efficient as it could be. In fact, your competitors could be finding gems of insight faster than you can. There are plenty of new tools and digital approaches to automate a lot of your research tasks so you can be proactive and dig even deeper into the competition following the Speed to Intelligence concept.

    Competitors are watching you this very second, but that doesn’t mean you can’t watch them to see what they’re up to. What you find may be what you need to keep up with change and potential market disruptors.

    By: Emmanuel Trenche

    Bron: business2community.com

     

     

  • What is the critical competitive intelligence skill?

    Asking the right question.

    vraagteken

     

    “We hear only those questions for which we are in a position to find answers.” – (attributed to) Friedrich Nietszche 

     

    I’ve been thinking about what it is that makes competitive intelligence a unique endeavor, particularly since the activity itself has become widespread among many other positions (see post here). It’s not the analytical techniques – scenarios, war games, SWOT, benchmarking, technology forecasting, etc. are all applied by others in many different positions. It’s not the communication skills – every successful business professional aspires to be better at it. It’s not the process – over the years it seems that every competitive intelligence group has functioned differently based on their own unique situation and clientele.

    I’ve come to the (tentative) conclusion that it’s the ability to ask the right question about the issue at hand.

    No big deal, you say. Anyone with enough knowledge and understanding of the key variables of the situation can formulate the right question. But often the question you ask is predicated on your assumptions and situational biases. A marketing person will often ask a completely different question from the technical staff and the sales group. Even senior managers have individual assumptions and biases based on what they did that made them successful in the past.

    I’m positing that what makes a competitive intelligence staff person different is their ability to step outside of a typical business persona, and determine potential biases and situations where “we’ve always done it that way.” They dispassionately define the key question that needs to be answered, and then identify the range of potential answer(s) that can be pursued.

    Sure, you need the skills and techniques to take that question and come up with alternative answers that are relevant to your organization. But you can’t get the right answers until you ask the right questions. And that’s a much more unique and valuable skill.


    Source: decisionintel, February 16, 2015

EasyTagCloud v2.8