What is competitive intelligence?

Your business may not be the only one in its industry but that does not mean it should not be one of the best. Researching, learning, and understanding the market, as well as the behaviours of business alike, enable you to be as competitive as possible. Competitive intelligence gives you the insight to anticipate and face challenges as they approach.

There are two types of competitive intelligence activities:

1. Tactical – this is a shorter term seeking to provide input into capturing market share or increasing revenue.
2. Strategic – focuses on longer-term issues such as key risks and opportunities that will approach the business.

Not to be confused with industrial espionage, which uses illegal methods of gaining unfair competitive advantage, competitive intelligence must be all-encompassing when using published and unpublished sources. The aim is to encourage better decision-making and enhance organisational performance within the business.

These are the steps leading to competitive intelligence:

Step one:

Identify the information needed to lead to better decision-making.

Step two:

Collect raw data pertaining to this information from public sources, ethically and legally.

Step three:

Analyse the obtained data and organise into actionable steps.

Step four:

These actions are communicated to those who will implement them.

Step five:

Taking action.

New competitors with more innovating ideas come into the market and competitive intelligence helps to answer any questions regarding these competitors. More than just knowing which companies are competing with yours, competitive intelligence involves understanding the competitive landscape and the marketplace in relation to how customers fit into its aspects.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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