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What is Competitive Intelligence & Why Use it?

The business world is ripe with opportunities and risks. With trends coming and going faster than we can comprehend, making sure you understand your competition and staying ahead of market trends in a proactive, cost-effective way is vital. But how can this be achieved?

Enter competitive intelligence.

In this article, we’re going to unpack what competitive intelligence is, why it’s important, and how it can help enable your brand to win through actionable and repeatable processes.

What is competitive intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence, also known as CI for short, is a method of collecting, analysing, and sharing information about customers, competitors, and other important market indicators in order to evolve a company’s competitive edge.

Competitive intelligence involves a centralised collection of data from a variety of sources, using a coordinated competitive intelligence program.

What is the importance of competitive intelligence?

Knowing your competitor’s movements is important, but unfortunately, it’s not enough. To succeed, brands need to be abreast of market trends, and know how these changes will impact stakeholders.

Competitive Intelligence helps businesses make more informed business decisions and reduce the uncertainty of external events.

Competitive Intelligence can help brands do the following:

  • Streamline product launches
  • Generate more revenue
  • Anticipate market shifts
  • Create counterstrategies for competitors
  • Measure brand perception

Gathering competitive intelligence data

With competitive intelligence, the data you put into your program is fundamental for the success of the program. Keep in mind that your end goal is to create a holistic profile of your competitor(s).

Here are four great competitive intelligence sources.

Competitor websites

Take a deep dive into your competitor’s website and pay very close attention to their positioning, solutions, pricing, and product pages. Strive to understand all signals throughout their site (what buyer personas they are targeting, what customer logos are featured etc.)

Competitor content

Your competitor’s content is wildly underestimated in its ability to uncover insights that show what customers they’re looking for and where they seek to create thought leadership. Scour through your competitor’s content and pay attention to the type of content they’re using, posting frequency, keywords, internal linking, and CTA’s.

Competitor social media channels

Your competitor’s social media is a valuable competitive source. When analysing your competition’s socials, pay attention to who they follow, their ads, frequency of posting as well as what channels they’re on.

Although social media ROI is hard to quantify, especially form a competitive analysis standpoint, the key is to understand what strategies you can adopt.

Competitor’s employees

Possibly one of the most overlooked competitive intelligence resources, your competitor’s employees can offer a trove of strategic insights.

Pay special attention to your competitor’s About and Careers pages, staff LinkedIn profiles, as well as feedback on culture. At the end of the day, no one is more well-versed in your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses than their employees.