Improving competitive intelligence for your business in 5 steps
If you’re new to the world of competitive intelligence, getting started may seem like an intimidating prospect. After all, competitive intelligence (CI) is a process, and your results will only be as good as the system you put in place. Regardless of your industry space or your specific CI goals, these five steps will help you build a process that’s both accurate and efficient.
The first step in any effective competitive intelligence process is to capture as much relevant information as possible. That means casting a wide net so that important details don’t get missed, even if it means pulling in a lot of irrelevant content. It’s always easier to cull information you don’t need than it is to go back and search for missed information later on.
Once you’re confident that your capture process is comprehensive enough, then it’s time to filter out mishits and uninteresting stories. Despite advances in AI, this step is still usually best performed by a human, since the difference between an relevant blog post and an irrelevant one can be difficult to quantify. It also reduces duplicate captures, so that you won’t see several versions of the same press release or interview in your final output.
After you’ve sorted and culled, the unique pieces of news that are left need to be sorted into search-friendly categories based on the company involved. Depending on the volume of news in your industry space, you may find it useful to classify by the type of news (product release, management change, financial reports, etc.), that way you can easily refer back to, for example, all the products your biggest competitor put out last year.
At this point, your cleaned up, classified CI report should be ready for distribution. But before you send out a mass email, take a moment to really consider who will be interested in your findings. Not every department or employee has a need for every type of CI insight, and it’s crucial to keep users engaged by providing concise, targeted reports.
Competitive intelligence is only valuable when it’s used. To that end, gather feedback on an ongoing basis to help asses when and where CI is being used within your organization, and where it’s falling short. You may discover that in practice, some teams are more apt to use CI than others, and you can calibrate your process, either to cater to your 'power users' or enhance the appeal for users who aren’t as invested.
Source: CI Radar