Do you really truly know your customers’ ever-changing needs and wants? What about your competition’s latest messaging, design and pricing? Staying on top of market trends and competitor moves is critical for any business to thrive and knowing the answers to those questions is vital.
But when some organizations change and upgrade their brand every 2–3 months, it makes it almost impossible to monitor these types of constant changes. What’s more, is that these very competitors could be gathering data about your organization at this very moment to win the race in product development or customer acquisition.
How can you stay in the loop and be one step ahead of them? The answer to your solution is, of course, advanced competitive intelligence software that has the ability to gather insights and help with better business decision making.
Simply put, competitive intelligence is the process of gathering large amounts of information on an organization's competitors from various sources. This data is analyzed and turned into insights that can be given to the major decision-makers to help them make more informed decisions. At the end of the day, this gives businesses a way to gain a competitive edge against competitors and hopefully gain more market share too.
According to SCIP, “Competitive intelligence is a discipline that enables organizations to reduce strategic risk and increase revenue opportunities by having a deep understanding of what has happened, what is happening, and what may happen in their operating environment.”
Google alerts are great, but they simply do not bring enough insightful data to warrant using them when making important decisions in business. What businesses need is a magnitude of external and internal sources that will deliver the right content, at the right time, and in such a way to avoid information overload.
Competitive intelligence software has many advantages over and above allowing a business to gain an edge. The software supports competitive intelligence professionals and makes their everyday tasks much easier, but it also supports those in different departments and positions too.
Directors and executives
Individuals in these positions can access data about investments, changes in market shares, as well as challenges and opportunities that are constantly arising.
Innovation and development departments
With the right data at their fingertips, these teams have the opportunity to see what direction competitors are taking (or not taking) and use it to their advantage. They can use the data to make decisions on enhancing products and services to keep up with competitors or use the data on customer information to go in a different direction that their competitors might not have thought about yet.
Human resource management
HR can keep an eye on other companies’ employees to see who has moved or joined the company, as well as its company culture. Remember, company culture can be seen as a huge competitive advantage.
With the right market intelligence tools & techniques on your side, competitive intelligence software should help you and your team act upon insights fast, whether it be through media monitoring, intelligence management, insight creation or trend radar tools.
There are many tools on the market that claim to help collect insights for competitive intelligence, but not all tick the right boxes to be categorized as a real CI system. To really discover the hidden insights buried in large amounts of data, you need the right tools.
We recently hosted a webinar on The Modern CI Mythology which helped to demystify the process of CI software, purchase and implementation for those who weren’t quite sure what system was best for their organization. Here our participants took part in a survey where one of the questions was whether or not they thought the definition of a "CI System" is unclear in the market today. Close to half of the respondents answered ‘Yes' and an additional 20% were ‘Not sure’. We found these results fascinating. Clearly, more work is needed to continue educating buyers on what a complete CI system entails.
In our experience, products that are pitched as a CI system are not always what they say on the tin. More often than not, these “CI systems” are niche products that can only do one element really well, such as social media monitoring tools or alerts. This does not mean that users will get the full scope of market and competitive intelligence to use to their advantage.
Of course, one can always start small with competitive monitoring tools but eventually, you will need to manage your intelligence with competitive intelligence analytics for better insight creation. Buyers in the market for a complete CI system with all the bells and whistles, therefore need to ensure that their due diligence is inclusive enough to make an informed list of finalists before selecting the best system for their organization. Having a long term perspective is key when selecting a CI system as it will really pay off in the long run.
This is particularly important for niche industries that require data from a vast amount of sources, both external and internal, in order to gather the most relevant information that is tailored to their organization, such as the pharmaceutical industry for example. This industry needs specialized pharmaceutical competitive intelligence tools that can help them to save time and always stay one step ahead of the game.
When is the best time to invest in competitive intelligence? Today is always the best time, but yesterday was even better.
We understand that there are many competitive intel tools out there and it can be overwhelming to begin to understand which one to choose. That’s why we suggest experiencing a demo for an in-depth competitive intelligence software comparison that is tailored to your company’s needs. Different competitive intelligence portals offer different tools and it’s important to go with the one that’s best for what your organization needs.
If you’re looking to understand the different market intelligence tools, competitive intelligence techniques and competitive intelligence tracking, we touch on all of these topics in our latest webinar. In this webinar series sponsored by the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals, the experts explain what you should expect from a real CI system and help to demystify the process of CI software, purchase and implementation as well as clarify what’s best for your organization. You can access the recording here.