Primary intelligence versus secondary intelligence


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When you are collecting competitive intelligence (CI) on your competitors there are plenty of different sources that you can get the data from, but which data is the most valuable?

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Primary intelligence versus secondary intelligence

  1. 1. PRIMARY INTELLIGENCE VERSUSSECONDARY INTELLIGENCEFor additional information about Competitive Intelligenceplease visit
  2. 2. www.Intelligence2act.comWhen you are collecting competitive intelligence (CI) on yourcompetitors there are plenty of different sources that you can get thedata from, but which data is the most valuable?The answer depends on what you are going to be doing with theinformation and invariably it is better to have more data if you have asufficient process for analyzing and compiling it into a usable form.Whether your main source of CI is derived from primary or secondaryintelligence sources it is always advised to corroborate the informationbe sure that you are not basing any decisions off of rumors.2
  3. 3. www.Intelligence2act.comWHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRIMARYINTELLIGENCE AND SECONDARY INTELLIGENCE?The simplest explanation is that primary intelligence involves a sourcethat the information contained comes directly from your competitor(i.e. interviews, focus groups, speeches by management, annualreports, etc.), whereas secondary intelligence is information thatindirectly references your competitor (i.e. news, blogs, studies, reports,etc.).Combining all of this CI can provide you with the best scope ofinformation, but the data still needs to be analyzed and compiled forbest results.3
  4. 4. www.Intelligence2act.comTHE MOST IMPORTANT CI SOURCE IS THE ONETHAT CAN BENEFIT YOUDepending on the need for the information there are several ways toget data either from primary or a combination of secondaryintelligences sources to give your company what it is looking for.Having a good CI analyst or team of analysts will make sure thatwhatever information that is gathered in corroborated before it makesit into the report. With good analytics a couple of secondary sourcescan be just as good if not better than a single piece of data from aprimary source.4
  5. 5. www.Intelligence2act.comMost of the time it is also much more expensive to obtain a reliableprimary source of CI and it can be much more cost effective to infer thedata from a collection of secondary intelligence sources.The best results are always gained from a mixture of primary andsecondary intelligence data, but a good analyst can make up for the lackof data or sources.5
  6. 6. www.Intelligence2act.comUsing competitive intelligence in any capacity is virtually required tocompete in the business world, and having a properly developed CIprocess will help you make the most of the information that you areable to obtain.Hiring a good analyst or developing a process to analyze and compilethe data will ensure that the data that you collect is actionable and willlead to an advantage, or at the very least keep you aware of what yourcompetitors’ future plans are so that you don’t get left behind.6
  7. 7. For additional information about Competitive Intelligenceplease visit