Competitive Intelligence

Written by Charles Peacock
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Competitive intelligence is one of the best ways to keep a leg up on your competitors and to remain an important force in your industry. Competitive intelligence refers to a collection of information about one's competitors in order to better discern how to compete and out-perform those companies. Instinct leads many people to question if this practice is in some way unethical, but competitive intelligence professionals insist on employing methods that are completely legal and ethical.

Why and How Competitive Intelligence Works

At its core, competitive intelligence, or CI, seeks a better understanding of a particular business environment. This involves examining the products and services offered by one's competitors and comparing and contrasting them with one's own products and services. This type of analysis allows a company to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors.

Armed with CI knowledge, your corporate staff will be better equipped to keep your company running smoothly, and to enhance your standing in the marketplace. Let's say, for example, your competitor is consistently outperforming you in sales as a result of television advertising. By analyzing what works about their advertising, you can employ some of their most effective techniques to increase your own performance.

CI is also a crucial part of long-term planning. It's important to learn where your competitor's plan on going in the coming years, so that you can stay on pace or ahead of them. CI specialists employ only the most unequivocally ethical means in gathering this type of information.


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