Talk to anyone in the intelligence community and you will hear all kinds of terminology thrown around. It’s no surprise to hear words such as competitive intelligence, market intelligence, M&CI, business intelligence, or even lesser-known terms like talent intelligence.
But do you know what all these kinds of intelligence actually mean?
It’s okay if you are confused — many people use these terms interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing, so let’s discuss each one a bit more.
Market intelligence refers to acquiring insights and staying on top of what is happening in the greater market environment — think of it as a more holistic view.
With market intelligence, you look at elements such as market trends, how (and if) people spend money, and any changes in the socioeconomic environment that may affect your business.
Market intelligence frequently uses a PESTEL analysis or something similar. It examines the political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal environments and their effect on the industry. All of this filters back to what your business is doing, as these factors will affect you in some way.
Obtaining this kind of information allows your business to be proactive. You could even launch a solution that addresses a customer need that has been identified from the trends you identified. It means you go from being reactive to being a trendsetter.
Every business shares a greater market environment with competitors, so it’s important to survey them carefully. Competitive intelligence considers both the industry and direct competitors.
When looking at competitive intelligence, analysts will consider all their competitors, what products/ services they offer, and what they are doing in general. Competitive intelligence goes far beyond the basics of products, pricing, promotions, and stock as discussed by Luís Madureira.
Competitive intelligence also includes looking at competitors’ practices in general. You want to uncover everything competitors are doing: If they are investing more in research and development, you want to know. If they suddenly spend on legal fees, you want to find out why.
One of the most familiar competitive intelligence tools is the SWOT analysis. In it, businesses identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the competitive environment. Another kind of analysis is Porter’s Five Forces which considers different forces that may affect your business.
Understanding these small details about what’s going on in the competitive landscape allows your business to determine whether your organization has similar concerns. It gives you sufficient time to adapt, come up with a new way to meet customer demands, and strengthen your business.
Although knowledge about the greater market and the competitive landscape is important, you also need to know as much as possible about your own organization. This is where business intelligence comes in.
Business intelligence focuses on only your company. It helps you determine how resources are being divided and used and whether they are providing the intended ROI. Business intelligence also illuminates how you can use resources better to improve revenue and meet business objectives.
When considering business intelligence, you can focus on different departments — finance, marketing, people, operations, and so on — in the organization. It also provides an opportunity to share intelligence between various departments to determine how you can strengthen the business as a whole.
As you can see, intelligence is about much more than knowing what is happening at the moment. It’s about understanding the market, the competitive landscape, and your business.
Over time, you will come to learn about other types of intelligence that you may not have thought about from the start. For instance, financial intelligence has to do with a business's finances, outcomes, expenses, investments, and so on. Similarly, talent intelligence, which looks at current and potential employees, is becoming increasingly important.
Although it’s important to be aware of the different types of intelligence, you don’t need to know everything. Here’s a recap of the most important terms to remember:
What’s more important is how you plan on using this intelligence to improve your organization. You want to use this information to your advantage.
Find out more about how you can do that by attending our upcoming webinar on Social Intelligence (SI) vs. Competitive Intelligence (CI). It will enlighten you on why you should care about intelligence and how to use it properly in a B2B context.
Collecting and analyzing all this information can be a daunting task — that’s where we come in. Intelligence2day® is an award-winning platform that helps businesses to collect, curate, and use external and internal intelligence. Contact us today to learn more.
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