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Do Competitor Intelligence the Right Way in 2022

It is easy to compare the business environment with a spy movie. There are people in the company whose job description resembles that of spies. Their work is to gather intelligence on the competitor's practices, intentions, or activities.

Competitor Intelligence The Right Way

And yes, you guessed it, everything happens in stealth mode. Gathering competitor intelligence is a standard industry practice. You never want the competitors to know you are collecting information on them.

Yet, an impressive 90% of Fortune 500 companies do it. Intelligence and data analytics tools take 20% of the budget in 73% of businesses. 70% of executives consider predictive intelligence and trend insights as critical data.

Competitor intelligence is the researching, tracking, and analyzing of information on rival organizations. The insights have so many benefits. The most important is to guide in decision making and planning. All with the aim of staying ahead of the competitors. 

Yet, that's not all. Businesses use competitor analysis for business growth. Take the example of identifying reasons for a rival's success. You can use the insights to improve upon your processes. 

Our article looks at how to do competitor intelligence the right way in 2022. 

  1. Determine the Goals of the Exercise 

No business activity should start without a goal. Answer the following questions. 

  • What do you hope to achieve with competitor intelligence?

  •  What kind of competitor information do you need to collect?

  •  Who are we collecting the information for? HR needs, for instance, are different from sales. It helps to categorize the information, depending on who needs it within the company.

  •  Where will you collect the information?

  • What is the market perception of the rival companies? Reviews, testimonials, and stakeholder feedback will help. 

Have complete clarity on goals. Without these, you will find yourself running around without any direction. 

  1. Identify and Learn About Your Competitors 

A critical step in competitor intelligence is to identify your direct competitors. If you sell baby products, it would be easy to think that everyone else in the niche is a rival. Yet, that may be a rather misleading perception.  

You may specialize in organic baby foods. That means you have to narrow down your competitor list to those who stock the very same products you sell. Someone selling organic baby clothes is not a direct competitor. 

The next step is to learn a lot more about the direct competitors. Your investigative skills need to be top-notch at this point. Get ready to spend a lot of time on their online platforms or anywhere else they may be. These include websites, FAQ pages, social media platforms, or networking groups. 

See what customers have to say about them by reading reviews and testimonials. Also, check out what industry bodies they are in and the awards they have collected over the years. 

Don't forget to collect internal intelligence. Your sales and marketing team can be an essential source of information. The same applies to HR, customer care, or even accounts. 

Consider this part of competitor analysis as compiling a dossier. 

  1. Explore Competitor’s Product or Service Offering 

Learning about the competitors also means knowing their service or product offering. Buy what they have and compare it to yours. Look out for quality, pricing, packaging, delivery, and shipping costs. 

Do note, some sites will flag or block an IP address that sends repeated requests for information. Others will apply geo-blocking tactics. Only those within a specific location can access their sites. You can overcome this issue by routing your internet traffic through a proxy server. 

Let’s say you need to buy many pairs of limited-edition sneakers for the product analysis. Using sneaker proxies will help avoid any blocks. The proxies route your requests via an intermediary server. 

The sneaker proxies will also mask your IP address by assigning a different one. The sneaker site will never know where the requests are coming from. 

  1. Data Analysis and Interpretation 

At this point, you have a lot of information from the two steps above. Now comes the part of sifting through the information for the relevant insights. Let the goals you had established in the beginning guide this part.  

Critical tools like SWOT analysis can help in data analysis. You use the information to determine strengths or opportunities. Your company can optimize or explore such for growth. Knowing weaknesses or threats can guide the decision-making process. This helps mitigate business risks.  

At the end of this part of data analysis and interpretation, you want actionable insights. Insights that are relevant to the stakeholders who need them.  

  1. Maximize on the Actionable Insights 

Now that you have the actionable insights, it is time for implementation. The first thing you need to do is share the information with all the relevant stakeholders. Each department must play an active role in the implementation part. Determine communication methods, specific steps to achieve deliverables, and KPIs. 

Let's say you identify customer service as a weakness that your direct competitors have. Then, the action you will take is to enhance the customer experience in your company. The marketing team must communicate these in all their messages. 

Every customer-facing employee must ensure top-notch service. That becomes the differentiator you offer in the market. 

Let’s use the example of the organic foods above to show another scenario. Your data analysis shows local customers are asking for organic beverages. The only companies that offer search products are online or abroad. The waiting time for products to arrive is too long. The locals would like a place where they can walk in and buy the products immediately. 

That is an opportunity for the company to enter a niche sector. It could lead to business expansion. You can, for instance, open a physical location to sell the product. 

Final Thoughts 

Gathering competitor intelligence is critical for business growth and sustenance. From the above, it is pretty clear that the process is time and resource-intensive. Yet you cannot escape it if you hope to succeed in the competitive business environment.

Start with a goal, collect relevant data, and analyze it. With actionable insights, you take the necessary steps to improve your processes. 

Finally, remember competitor intelligence is a never-ending process. It helps to keep up with what the other companies are doing.

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"Do Competitor Intelligence the Right Way in 2022" was written by Mary under the Business category. It has been read 129 times and generated 0 comments. The article was created on and updated on 12 April 2022.
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