The consumer world is always evolving, and that means that businesses must evolve with it. Just because someone dominated in industry does not mean that they always will. Blockbuster overestimated how much people enjoy going out for videos versus having them delivered, and made this mistake in time for a financial recession to lead people to working more and having less time for browsing. Netflix created a market for video rental services from home, revolutionized the rental industry, and introduced streaming to most people by paying better attention to the market than trusting what has worked will always work.
Competitive Intelligence for Your Business
Competitive intelligence is collecting data on your customers, competitors, and market to determine how to work each factor to give yourself the best competitive advantage. By better knowing what similar businesses offer, you can better learn what they don’t offer, and adjust your strategy to, either, fill the gaps or provide superior services. In the above example, Netflix found the gap of people wanting to watch new movies from home but not having access to those movies and bridged the gap that so few new they wanted bridged. This put them into place to offer another service – streaming – something that other businesses have gone on to copy.
How Do You Begin?
Competitive intelligence usually begins by assembling a complete profile of the market for the business. This is done so as to help anticipate problems that are likely to arise and how to combat them. This includes knowing the motivating factors behind your target customers (what makes them want the product or service), knowing the strengths and weaknesses of others in the industry (especially what you need to work on and what you excel at compared to others), and knowing the state of the industry (where the business has been and trends are taking it).
It is important to understand that competitive intelligence can mean different things to different people at different times. Competitive intelligence can certainly be used when opening a business, but is often used while up and running. For example, procurement departments heavily rely upon it in their work. Before bidding on a major opportunity, procurement officers will want to know all of the details on what the project entails, how their competitors are likely to approach the project and, through that, what the competition is likely to bid.
Competitive intelligence is most often used for big picture decisions. For more short-term decisions, the information gathered is considered tactical intelligence. This usually addresses the step-by-step processes of how to accomplish the big goal. Tactical intelligence deconstructs the process of making the goal happen using the competitive intelligence gathered.
How Could You Benefit from Competitive Intelligence?
NetBase Quid can provide a full competitor analysis to help you better understand demographics, customer sentiment, and brand passion. We can benchmark sentiment, use theme analysis, identify trends, and suggest competitive insights based on our history of watching what works. We monitor your competitors for you, so that you can focus on offering the best products or services possible.