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February 2020
6 Min read

Competitive Intelligence Analysis Techniques

Derkach Anastasiya

5/5 - (1 vote)

Competitive Intelligence: Marketing Research for Strategic Management

Competitive intelligence (CI) is a marketing tool for studying competitive environment, which is a focused collection of information about competitors for making managerial decisions on further strategy and business running tactics.

The concept of competition is a diagram of external factors of influence that carry both prospects and threats to the business. It means the CI concept should be extended not only to existing companies that sell similar goods or services, but also potential competitors in the future, and also to suppliers and customers.

Today, the competitive environment analysis is an integral part of marketing strategy for any organization. Information about counterparties can become a significant competitive advantage, insider information extraction is a separate marketing task.

The CI purpose CI includes only the actual data mining, and not its analysis that is used only as a tool for extracting necessary information from indirect data. The CI tasks are an auxiliary information function to complement marketing analysis for strategic management purposes.

Competitive Intelligence Research Methods

CI methods are divided in 2 categories:

  • Indirect and direct intelligence methods.

Direct methods are used for obtaining additional information about competitors from reliable information sources. Indirect methods are methods of calculating competitive company’s important parameters.

  • Penetration and external observation.

External monitoring is analysis of a competitive company’s personnel actions without direct contact. Intrusion or penetration is a direct interaction with a competitive organization’s personnel to accomplish assigned tasks.

Let’s be more specific and describe CI methods used to analyze competitors:

  • acquisition of competitors’ goods;
  • visiting specialized exhibitions with presented competitors’ products;
  • store check (how competitive product is placed on a store shelf);
  • conversations with competitor’s former and current employees, their dealers and distributors;
  • collection and study of rival’s promotional materials;
  • Mystery Shopper technique (calling competitors as a buyer, in order to learn as much as possible about a rival’s product or service, get a price list);
  • study of competitor’s financial information.

Competitive Intelligence Analysis Techniques

Specially developed intelligence analysis methods allow you to correctly interpret the company’s external environment parameters and neutralize suddenly emerging threats. They will help you make better strategic decisions and take advantage of opportunities.

1. Alternative Outcomes Method.

Offers several explanations for a specific problem of competitive intelligence. It is useful if an analyst has received inconsistent or unclear data from several sources, if a client customer needs to discuss several possible scenarios of the events development, or if a long-term perspective assessment is needed.

An analysis of scenarios will also help to identify weaknesses in the overall strategy, lack of assets in a company’s portfolio, or even justify the need to monitor certain environment state parameters and indicators as one of CI process areas.

2. Opportunity Analysis.

Allows the analyst to put himself in the business owner’s shoes who makes decisions and identify potential company actions. This method allows you to “highlight” the risks and opportunities faced by a company seeking to influence the competitive situation by answering the question “How to act? ” rather than “Do I need to act? ”

Opportunity analysis offers a different approach: you need to focus on the measures that your company can use to make it difficult for competitors to use new technology. For example: concluding licensing agreements with a limited number of partners or revising your own development strategy in order to develop new, more advanced technologies.

3. Linchpin Analysis.

It is aimed at forcing the analyst to change or completely abandon his basic assumptions about competitors and to rethink the direction of his analysis. This method avoids stereotypes and reduces the “grouping of thinking” effect or other consequences of organizations’ “bureaucratic style”.

This method encourages the analyst to carefully consider all possible explanations and options for competitor’s or another company’s actions, and also helps him to go beyond the narrow framework of the “most plausible”, at first glance, explanation.

4. Event Analysis Method

It identifies certain events occurring in the company’s external environment. This technique can detect important trends in the company’s competitive environment and serve as an early warning tool, since it allows you to notice changes in the competing companies’ activities.

5. Analysis of Competing Hypotheses.

Allows you to compare various analytical conclusions and explanations regarding rivals’ actions. It also allows analysts to check the consistency of collected intelligence, as well as detect dubious or needing additional analysis sections of the report.

This not only makes it possible to clearly determine which hypothesis is best confirmed by the collected reliable data, but also to verify the reliability of various information sources.

Scheduling Worldwide Marketing Research Agency

Our experts can help you to find out what happens in the external environment and what it means for your company. Please, follow the link Scheduling Europe and learn more information about us and services we provide.

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