The world is experiencing the most profound changes in the economy since the Industrial Revolution. Technology, globalization, and the accelerating pace of change have yielded chaotic markets and fierce competition. A global pandemic has shifted much about the way we live, the way we work, and the way we do business. Business leader Carly Fiorino has said, "The pace of change is so great, there is always something else going on. What that says to me is that you have to have strategic vision and peripheral vision. Strategic vision is the ability to look ahead, and peripheral vision is the ability to look around, and both are important."
However, it is critical that your visions be well-informed. That means timely, accurate, curated information about your markets and especially about your competitors. After all, heads of state, presidents, government leaders all get a daily intelligence briefing to keep them up to speed with how the world is changing. Why should business leaders be any different?
There is no reason to believe the pace of change is going to get slower. All signs point to increasing change being an enduring reality for all of us. In this environment, can you risk not having the most recent, and most accurate competitive and market intelligence available to you – every day?
Risks you face are:
1. The Risk of Being Blindsided. No matter how small or established your market is, the increasing availability of innovation, AI, IOT, changing consumer trends, economic, social and regulatory changes makes assuming that you know what's happening in your market very risky. Airbnb blindsided the hotel industry by providing on-demand accommodations through an easy-to-use platform. (By the way, Airbnb was recently valued at $130B, far more than any existing hotel giant.) Similarly Uber blindsided taxi companies nationwide, who had previously relied on state and local governments and regulations to protect their market. Despite many legal disputes, Uber and its competitors were embraced by consumers, and regulators fell into line for the most part.
2. The Risk of Relying on Google Alerts. Media Monitoring, and Industry Newsletters. These are all good sources of information, but they are all designed to deliver the "most popular stories," the ones that everyone expects to see. Like an iceberg floating in the ocean most tools simply focus on the "tip of the iceberg" - publicized information. In addition to that you need "below the waterline" unpublicized market and competitive information. Many times the unpublicized sources will give you the most intelligence value.
3. The Risk of Missing the Big Picture. If everyone in your company who needs to track the market and competitors has their own tools, you are probably missing a great opportunity. Everyone is tracking what they think is important, from their own perspective, and in their own way of tracking. You are missing the opportunity to form a common foundation of knowledge. How can you make good decisions in meetings, if everyone has different views of what is happening in the market? If everyone is doing their own competitive tracking, you are wasting time, resources, and could also create confusion and division. As a recent customer noted, "If everyone has their own tools, one person could read an article and - BAM! - corporate priorities could change."
4. The Risk of Missing Revenue Opportunities. A daily competitive and market briefing sets your company up for an ongoing evaluation of the market and your competition. Having more frequent intelligence helps your sales team understand competitor positioning and weaknesses, helping them win more deals. Daily competitive briefings bring you information about competitor action before you get blindsided. Everyone in your company is making decisions based on a common understanding of what is happening, not guided by their individual biases or guesses. Finally, having a frequent check on the market helps you identify new revenue opportunities through partners, product offering adjustments, and acquisitions.
5. The Risk of Missing Collaboration. Information should be available across the organization and employees should be encouraged to weigh in and add their insights, ideas, and reactions. Collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and Slack make it easy to share competitive and market intelligence – and resulting recommendations and actions – throughout the organization.
6. The Risk of Relying Too Heavily on AI. Artificial intelligence has become a very popular competitive intelligence tool. However, even the best AI software still can't really understand what is most important for your market. For that, you still need human curation and analysis. Maybe AI will be able to replace people in 15 to 20 years, but we are not there yet. Relying on AI by itself poses a great threat of missing critical information hiding within lots of noise.
Competitive Intelligence Best Practices
For competitive intelligence briefings to have the maximum impact in your organization, there are some best practices that should be followed.
● Some companies have internal staff who want to create a full analysis report on key market events, trends, competitive announcements, and so forth. While these reports are valuable and have great depth, many times they are only delivered on a quarterly or at most a monthly basis. Facing increasing change in our environment, that is too long to wait. Companies need ongoing daily or at least weekly briefings, even if they don't explain immediately the ramifications or impacts of market and competitive movements.
● Be careful not to limit your targets to only your Tier 1 current competitors. The value of competitive intelligence increases when you look at potential new entrants, adjacent industries where opportunities may arise, innovation / disruption areas and so forth. You never know where the next threat to your business will be coming from. (See Risk #1 above about being blindsided.)
● Each stakeholder should get a customized daily competitive and market intelligence briefing, specifically designed to meet their information needs. Stakeholders should be able to consume the briefings in no more than 12 minutes per week, ensuring that no time is wasted, and that the information delivered is most efficient.
Daily competitive and market intelligence briefings can be delivered through cloud-based solutions that are very reasonably priced, even as low as $20 per month, per stakeholder. Further, no additional staff is needed in your organization. At that rate, and given all of the potential risks, can you afford not to have a daily intelligence briefing about competition and the market?
Contact CI Radar today to learn about daily competitive and marketing intelligence options.