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How to Perform More Effective Competitive Intelligence

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Ideas on setting up a competitive intelligence program

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How to Perform More Effective Competitive Intelligence

  1. 1. HOW TO PERFORM MORE EFFECTIVE COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE A Brief Overview by George Sloane
  2. 2. What is Competitive Intelligence ? • Competitive intelligence is the gathering, tracking, researching, analyzing, interpreting, and synthesizing of information, data, and behavior about one or more competitors of your product or service George Sloane 2
  3. 3. What Information to Collect? • The information on your competitor(s) could include information related to: – Sales & Marketing – Financial – Locations – Hours – Products/Services – Pricing – Future plans – Management and management changes – Press releases – And more . . . George Sloane 3
  4. 4. Why is Competitive Intelligence Important? • To see where you stand as compared to the competition • To help you decide what to do in relationship to your competition • To understand how existing or potential customers see you and your competition George Sloane 4
  5. 5. Who is Responsible for Performing Competitive Intelligence ? • Everyone in the organization is responsible to some extent or another • The entire organization should be trained to recognize, collect, and report intelligence • There should be a formal competitive intelligence function in the organization – A person or team to act as the “clearinghouse” of intelligence on the firm’s competitors. George Sloane 5
  6. 6. When Should We Perform Competitive Intelligence ? • Constantly • Competitive intelligence opportunity “triggers” might include: – A new product or service launch – New promotional activity – A change in management – Practically any significant change by a competitive organization should be monitored George Sloane 6
  7. 7. Getting Started With Competitive Intelligence • Start by laying out information about your company– in as much detail as possible – Product line or service offering portfolio – Pricing structure – Distribution methods – Promotional approaches • Next start laying out the same info for each of your competitors • A spreadsheet is an ideal way to compare the information side by side • Shopping your competitor’s stores or catalogues will cover much of the information needed. Additional methods might include observation and counting traffic. Look for similarities and differences between you and the competition George Sloane 7
  8. 8. Some Important Concepts • As we prepare to move to more detailed competitive intelligence, two concepts need to be understood: 1. Quantitative versus qualitative data and 2. Snapshot versus time series data George Sloane 8
  9. 9. Some Important Concepts: Quantitative Data • Quantitative data is objective, countable data. It is unmistakable—such as “. . . sales last quarter were “X” George Sloane 9
  10. 10. Some Important Concepts: Qualitative Data • Qualitative data is subjective, non-numerical data. It is how the customer feels about your product or that of your competitor George Sloane 10
  11. 11. Some Important Concepts: Snapshot Data • Snapshot data tends to be static, in the moment, stand alone data such as second quarter sales George Sloane 11
  12. 12. Some Important Concepts: Time Series Data • Time series data is a collection of like historical snapshot data such as sales for the last 12 quarters George Sloane 12
  13. 13. Competitive Intelligence Financial Data George Sloane 13 • Publicly traded companies have public reporting requirements. Going to the Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) EDGAR website, financial filings can be easily downloaded • If your competitor is private, getting this information is very tough.Tough, but not impossible—it can sometimes be pieced together from numerous sources, but may require assumptions and estimations on your part • Specialized industry measures are important for benchmarking. Especially helpful here are industry guides such asTroy’s Almanac, Robert Morris Associates (RMA), D&B, and S&P, available at better business-oriented or university libraries
  14. 14. Competitive Intelligence On-Line George Sloane 14 • On-line intelligence gathering involves fully reading and reviewing the competitor’s: – Website – Social media – Press releases – News and media reports – Hiring activities • A good internet search engine can reveal oodles of information. Some search engines allow you to set “alerts” anytime a topic keyword comes up (e.g.- GoogleAlerts)
  15. 15. Competitive Intelligence from Third Parties • Another valuable resource for competitive intelligence is third party information surveys or reports.This information might have been collected for other purposes, third parties can include: – Investment firm analysts – External data providers – Industry trade associations – Suppliers – Government – Complementary market participants George Sloane 15
  16. 16. Primary and Secondary Research • Primary research is research that is conducted by you or commissioned on your behalf – Tends to be expensive – Some primary research is inexpensive and as easy • Talking to clients • Suppliers • Internal employees (e.g.- field sales force) • Secondary research reports are usually produced by consulting or research firms – Usually look at industries as a whole – Can provide a deeper look into the industry and individual competitors – These reports tend to be expensive – Because they are marketed to multiple clients, they may not answer the exact questions you have—you may still need primary research George Sloane 16
  17. 17. Now Consider a SWOT Analysis • A SWOT Analysis is an examination and listing of the: – Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats • Should involve examining your firm AND your competitors. George Sloane 17
  18. 18. Putting It All Together • The best way to pull it all together is to involve the whole organization. All employees need to be trained to: – Seek – Recognize – Identify – Communicate their intelligence • Need some examples? – The field sales force can be invaluable because they are in the marketplace and close to customers. Customers are approached by the competition all the time and may relate information to your sales force – The finance department might see increased product or market expenditures in competitor’s financial statements and can relate that information to sales and marketing management for confirmation • Next, draw insights and make recommendations to various functions within the organization to plan and act upon • Once a functional area sees the benefits of competitive intelligence, they will further sign on to more participation in the process and thereby add to the future success of competitive intelligence efforts • Good luck with your efforts! George Sloane 18
  19. 19. Thank You! This Slide Concludes This Review • For More Information, PleaseContact George Sloane at: – AnalyticDesignGuy.com website – LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Google+ – Slideshare – Goodreads • Gmail: gsloane.business@gmail.com • Phone: (203) 981-4488 George Sloane 19

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