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4 Steps to Profitable Competitor Intelligence Durham

Think about how much you and your colleagues know about your competitors – but do you have a formal way of gathering this information and sharing it effectively around the business? Read on and get the answer.

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4 Steps to Profitable Competitor Intelligence

Step 1 – Knowledge
“Knowledge is power”
Francis Bacon

A simple information gathering process is something that’s often ignored by companies. Think about how much you and your colleagues know about your competitors – but do you have a formal way of gathering this information and sharing it effectively around the business?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Debrief new staff – what do they know about your competitors? How about people who have worked for your competitors? They’ll have a real insight into the culture and sometimes the decision making process. It’s important to collect this information in a structured way so that you can interpret it alongside other data.
  • Sales force feedback – often they know more than you could imagine. The secret of success is finding a useable way to capture and share such knowledge.
  • Quarterly Competitor Meeting – invite key people from around the business to a sandwich lunch in a room decorated with information you’ve gathered about your competitor. Prepare an agenda of the main areas where you’d like to gather additional information and task individuals with trying to find that information.
  • Literature – make sure you’re on your competitor’s mailing lists and that you keep copies of any of their advertising and press coverage. It’ll provide useful insights into their product range, pricing and for the initiated enable you to second-guess their marketing strategy.
  • Web watch – as part of your regular tracking activity review their website and any links you’ve found to their site. Web technology allows companies to test out ideas and change products, services, pricing and promotions frequently and quickly. You may be able to spot a new product launch on-line before they have time to launch off-line – buying valuable time for you to develop an appropriate response.
Step 2 – Research If you can’t find out everything you’d like to know about a competitor from information gathering alone you may need to commission a specialist firm to research your competitor for you.

But don’t forget when you conduct your own research surveys you can include questions which might provide a better understanding of your competitors, without overtly mentioning them.

Some independent research, which may even be available from published sources, can help address the fact that the information you’ve gathered in stage 1 is not completely objective.

You might also choose to mystery shop your competitors, to experience a ‘customer’s eye’ view of their business.

Step 3 – Understanding It’s all very well gathering information but interpretation is all. It’s important to spend time and get advice from the right people within your business to interpret the information you’ve gathered. You might for example wish to consider the areas of their marketing mix: product range, pricing, distribution methods and promotional activities.

Setting up some simple systems and using empirical techniques can help.

Step 4 – Strategy de...

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