What Is Competitive Intelligence (CI)

What Is Competitive Intelligence (CI)?

Competitive Intelligence (CI) gathers and analyzes information to predict competitive activity, see past market disruptions, and interpret events.

Competitive Intelligence Benefits:

  • Incorporates external competitive and market forces into strategic planning
  • Generates strategically relevant insights from research and structured analysis
  • Enhances marketing, strategic planning, finance, and operations (can affect the methods you use to drive more traffic to your blog)
  • Conforms antitrust and trade secret laws, legal and ethical best practices, and the client’s corporate code of behavior.
  • Minimizes decision risk and reduces uncertainty about external developments

How does Competitive Intelligence work?

Dissimilar to corporate espionage, Competitive Intelligence involves collecting information from both published and unpublished sources, such as:

  •   Online searches
  •   Press releases
  •   Your sales team
  •   Those who follow industry events and conferences
  •   Vendors and distributors who are interested in your industry and perhaps serve a competitor
  •   Competitors themselves

It’s crucial to remember that practical Competitive Intelligence goes beyond your in-house data—otherwise, you’ll just be doing everyday market research. To complete a Competitive Intelligence report, it’s critical to look outside your company and all your external sources.

7 Reasons To Use Competitive Intelligence

1. To Predict Competitor Moves

Even when competitors change their plans, companies have a good chance of understanding what they’ll do and when with competitor intelligence.

Cisco’s former CEO and Chairman, John Chambers, claimed that he could anticipate competitors’ moves one or even two steps in advance based on competitor intelligence. This may sound exaggerating, but it was confirmed when different CEOs were interviewed later.

For instance, McDonald’s and Burger King. They both reacted differently to the negative publicity about obesity and fast foods. McDonald’s quickly responded to the market and overtook the competition by introducing various healthier options.

On the other hand, Burger King, which had already anticipated the move, grabbed the chance to cherry-pick customers who were lesser health-conscious.

2. Find New Opportunities

How often do we pay attention to opponents? We always ignore them, thinking they are harmless. But they can drastically transform the marketplace with their new ways of utilizing the technologies and new strategies.

For example, SKY airline specified a new chance to compete against its rivals in the Chilean market. It introduced a low-cost model, the first of its kind in Chile. SKY took new measures such as eliminating positive food and beverages for all passengers during flights and thereby reduced its ticket prices.

3. Stay Ahead of Rivals

Thanks to competitive intelligence they were the first to give people what they’ve been asking for years: a dedicated electric car. None of the other major automotive manufacturers were manufacturing electric cars until Tesla made it happen in 2008.

4. Stand Out

Companies should offer themselves to consumers with a distinctive brand identity that sets them apart from their fundamental competitors. Analyzing your competition is one of the most critical aspects of boosting your brand positioning, as you require to know where you fit into the overall market.

The iconic Be Beautiful campaign was unique and knocked out Dove’s competition. FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora drew the two portraits. The results are surprising!

This positioned Dove as a brand capable of understanding women and set Dove apart as a unique company compared to its competitors.

5. Learn Market Dynamics

Competitive Intelligence sparks new thoughts and fresh thinking to flow into the company. With competitive intelligence, companies can consider how their competition is selling and positioning their products and take advantage of the market gaps to improve earnings margins. By learning these market dynamics, companies can make more good operating decisions.

Take the airline industry, for example. Fuel is its most significant expense, accounting for nearly 20-40% of its operating budget. Therefore, they continually search for ways to cut fuel costs and look for alternative fuels.

6. Propel Innovation

Propel innovation is one of the fundamental reasons why Competitive Intelligence is utilized in companies. Innovation is much required to sustain a competitive advantage that enables companies to leapfrog in front of their consumers and not just mimic and follow them.

7. Make Better Decisions

Companies are empowered to make better decisions to gain their goals with fact-based and real-time competitive Intelligence, such as industry trends, competitor campaigns, new launches, best digital marketing services, product innovations, etc.

Netflix is a fantastic instance of making the right decisions according to competitor intelligence. Netflix, which was into movie rentals, was determined to introduce the streaming video, allowing viewers to watch films on home computers.

Applying Competitive Intelligence to Your Business Plan

It doesn’t matter Whether you’re building a marketing strategy, a go-to-market strategy, or a more general business strategy, competitive Intelligence delivers the baseline information to inform your decision-making.

To guide your analysis, assume:

  • Large market trends
  • Emerging consumer trends
  • Competitor activity and growth
  • Customer sentiment
  • New products and product evolution
  • Market threats and opportunities
  • Political and economic shifts
  • Geographic trends and new markets
  • Possible strategic partnerships

Finally, after applying your competitive Intelligence and rolling out your plan, keep gathering intel, benchmarking against competitors, and examining your progress. You always need your plan to be better and better. Even if a powerful digital marketing agency provides you the best plan ever, it won’t do much without further enhancements.

Final Thoughts

All in all, It is an essential component of evolving a business strategy. CI analysis delivers insight into marketplace dynamics and challenges in a structured, disciplined, and ethical manner utilizing published and unpublished sources.