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Competitive Intelligence -  Fast, Cheap & Ethical By Rob Duncan March 5, 2009
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Competitive Intelligence - Fast, Cheap & Ethical By Rob Duncan March 5, 2009

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Join professional speaker and critically acclaimed author Rob Duncan for this valuable presentation on how you can gather top quality competitive intelligence without breaking the bank!

Join professional speaker and critically acclaimed author Rob Duncan for this valuable presentation on how you can gather top quality competitive intelligence without breaking the bank!


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  • 1. Competitive Intelligence Fast…Cheap…Ethical Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 1
  • 2. Your speaker • Rob Duncan • Director, BCIT Applied Research Liaison Office • Long-time marketing intelligence consultant & BCIT instructor • Author of “Competitive Intelligence: Fast, Cheap & Ethical” (2008)* * Best Business Book s of 2008 Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 2
  • 3. Agenda • Entrepreneurial risk • The role of competitive intelligence • Intelligence is everywhere! • Fast, cheap, ethical CI tactics • Conclusion & questions Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 3
  • 4. Entrepreneurial risk • Inventor syndrome: …They will love it! … Nobody else is doing this! … We have no competitors! … Ours is better/faster/cheaper! … We can out-run the competition … We’re going to be rich! Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 4
  • 5. The role of CI • Understand risks • Reduce risks • Assess strengths • Uncover vulnerabilities • Gain advantages • Obtain early warning Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 5
  • 6. Overall goals of CI • Get 1% ahead of rivals • Work toward sustained advantage • Get early warning on competitor actions • Deepen understanding of industry fundamentals Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 6
  • 7. What CI should be • What CI should be: • What CI shouldn’t be: – Fast – Slow – Anticipatory – Reactive – Easy – Cumbersome – Inexpensive – Expensive – Ingenious – Espionage Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 7
  • 8. Common pitfalls in intelligence • Wrong questions • Too literal • Too linear • Failure of imagination • Focus on history • Over-reliance on computer systems • No trust in intuition Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 8
  • 9. Intelligence is everywhere! • Intelligence includes all forms of: – Data – Information – Knowledge – Judgments – History – Speculation – Intuition Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 9
  • 10. Frequently overlooked sources • Yourself, your friends, colleagues • Your customers • Observation & mystery shopping • Product sampling • Human intelligence • Trade shows • Competitor’s website • Blogs, discussion boards, online social networks • Intuition Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 10
  • 11. Starting points for CI • The CI cycle • Understanding forces driving competition • Putting a system in place • Defining intelligence objectives • Sources of intelligence • Reporting of CI Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 11
  • 12. Competitive Intelligence Cycle 1. What questions does the company need answers to? 1. Planning 4. Dissemination 2. and Direction Collect the information from various sources. 3. Use analysis to move information to intelligence. 4. Act on the intelligence which will create more 2. Collection 3. Analysis questions. Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 12
  • 13. What questions should be asked? • What to look for – Emerging technologies – New products/services – Alliances and acquisitions – Movement of key personnel – Changing customer perceptions and expectations – Regulatory changes Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 13
  • 14. What information should be gathered? • Competitor products/services • Competitor strategies • Pricing/cost structures • Customer demographics • Customer needs/wants • Supplier information • Future and substitute products/services Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 14
  • 15. A CI philosophy… •Fast beats perfect •Cheap beats expensive •Ethical beats sleazy Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 15
  • 16. Competitive Intelligence Tools Company Profiling Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 16
  • 17. Company profiling • Company history • Financial situation • Prices, products and promotions • Supply & distribution chains • Technology & workforce • Production facilities, capabilities • Key executives • Strategic alliances • Competitors • Positioning strategy Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 17
  • 18. Some basic tools: • Google • Company’s own website • EDGAR (www.sec.gov) for publicly-traded US companies – Look for 10K (annual), 10Q (quarterly) & other filings • SEDAR (www.sedar.com) – Same idea for Canadian companies Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 18
  • 19. Website change alerts • WatchThatPage.com • www.watchthatpage.com • Alerts you via e-mail of any updates to web pages that you tell it to track • Free, but requires that you register Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 19
  • 20. Archived snapshots of your competitor’s website • WayBackMachine • www.archive.org • Type in Website address, and you get all the snapshots of the site that are stored • Can see how competitor’s strategies etc. have been evolving Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 20
  • 21. Tapping into discussion groups • Google groups • Searches for information in discussion groups • Can also be used to post questions, stimulate CI Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 21
  • 22. Competitive Intelligence Tools Executive Profiling Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 22
  • 23. Executive profiling • Basic facts – Place and date of birth – Education, work history – Personal/family situation/hobbies • Successes, failures • Strengths, weaknesses • Personality type (eg. Myers-Briggs) • Friends, associates • Mentors, critics • Decision/strategy style • Preferences, hot buttons Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 23
  • 24. Some profiling tools • Corporate website • Personal websites • Blogs • Zoominfo.com • Google, Google News • Social networks Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 24
  • 25. Tapping into blogs • Clusty.com • Clustering search engine that can search blogs • Aggregates blog searches from these engines: – Technorati – Blogdigger – Blogpulse – Feedster Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 25
  • 26. LinkedIn • www.linkedin.com • Professional profile • Schools • Work history • Connections • Q&A • Groups • Recommendations Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 26
  • 27. Facebook • www.facebook.com • Personal life • Friends • Friends of friends • Habits • Interests Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 27
  • 28. Twitter • www.twitter.com • Interests • Location • Activities • Who follows them • Who they follow Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 28
  • 29. Competitive Intelligence Tools Yourself & friends Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 29
  • 30. CI from yourself & friends • Become a customer of the competition • List the “Top 10” things that bug you as a customer • Become a shareholder of the competition • Test/use the competitor’s products • Have an informal “focus group” with friends • Get friends to do “mystery shopping” • Goal is to gain just 1% more insight than the competitor has about you Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 30
  • 31. Competitive Intelligence Tools Human Intelligence Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 31
  • 32. Human Intelligence • Intelligence gathered from people directly • Most overlooked source • People have a tendency to talk • Elicitation • Conversational hourglass Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 32
  • 33. Competitive Intelligence Tools Trade Show Intelligence Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 33
  • 34. Trade Show Intelligence • Lots of CI info in 1 place • Companies are there to “show off” • Often staffed by sales people (talkers) • Plenty of printed material • Expert speakers and seminars Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 34
  • 35. List of exhibitors • Example from www.buildexvancouver.com • Full list of exhibitors – Links to their websites – Exact booth location – Can use map to plan approach Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 35
  • 36. Floor map from website Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 36
  • 37. Speakers • Identify key speaker targets (website) • Do background profiling • Plan what to listen for • Specific questions • Get copies of material & contact info Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 37
  • 38. Trade show tactics • Quick overall “visual” sweep to confirm location of key targets • “Snag & bag” sweep to get easy to obtain printed material, demo disks etc. • Backroom analysis to confirm & refine approach to human intelligence • Confirm key human targets & questions • Conduct interviews Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 38
  • 39. Competitive Intelligence Tools CI Matrix Reporting System Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 39
  • 40. CI Matrix • A tool for summarizing key factors • Can see at-a-glance how we compare to competition on these key factors • Most important parts: – Threat Assessment and – Counter Attack Strategy Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 40
  • 41. CI Matrix Threat Factor Factor Factor Factor Factor Counter- Assess 1 2 3 4 5 attack Strategy ment Our Company N/A N/A Competitor A Competitor B Competitor C Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 41
  • 42. Competitive Intelligence Tools Ethical Issues in Intelligence Gathering Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 42
  • 43. SCIP code of ethics 1. To continually strive to increase the recognition and respect of the profession. 2. To comply with all applicable laws, domestic and international. 3. To accurately disclose all relevant information, including one's identity and organization, prior to all interviews. 4. To fully respect all requests for confidentiality of information. 5. To avoid conflicts of interest in fulfilling one's duties. 6. To provide honest and realistic recommendations and conclusions in the execution of one's duties. 7. To promote this code of ethics within one's company, with third-party contractors and within the entire profession. 8. To faithfully adhere to and abide by one's company policies, objectives, and guidelines. Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 43
  • 44. Review: a CI philosophy… •Fast beats perfect •Cheap beats expensive •Ethical beats sleazy Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 44
  • 45. Questions? Thank you! Email: greatcapes@gmail.com Copyright Rob Duncan, 2009 45

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