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18 Dec

What Is Competitive Intelligence?


Whether you run a fortune 500 company or a small, family-owned business, chances are you’re affected by competitive intelligence. In fact, a recent study showed that over 55% of successful companies implement this strategy to gain leverage. Here we’ll take a look at competitive intelligence and explain how it could help, or hurt, your business.

Before I go into the definition of competitive intelligence, it’s important to understand that it’s different than corporate espionage. While there are a few basic similarities between the two, competitive intelligence is both ethical and legal, Whereas corporate espionage may not be. The legality of corporate espionage is based upon the acts which are taken, along with laws governing the location in which the espionage took place.

Competitive intelligence is a fairly broad term that can be interpreted in a number of different ways. Essentially, one could accurately describe competitive intelligence as collecting, reviewing and analyzing data which from a competitor. This data may include information in regards to their products, customer demographics and environment. Once the data is received, it’s then used to make better business decisions to increase the company’s profits.

To better understand competitive intelligence, you can look at how it’s used by branches of the government. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is one such government institution which utilizes the principles of competitive intelligence to forward their interests.

To some, this may sound similar to espionage, but one of the main differences is how the data is collected. With competitive intelligence, the data is openly available and collected as such. For instance, if a clothing retailer in the same market as your company has a magazine which details their inventory, you can use competitive intelligence to review and analyze what they’re doing. Authors can also use competitive intelligence to find out what other authors are writing about.

Competitive intelligence insights undoubtedly gives a business or company an upper hand over those who don’t have this data. On the other hand, it can also negatively affect your business if it’s used against you. While some businesses may go out of their way to try and protect themselves from competitive intelligence insights, there’s oftentimes no foil-proof way to guard your business against it.

Website owners can also take advantage of competitive analysis insights by searching out other for-profit websites in similar niches. In fact, it’s actually quite easy to utilize this process with the high visibility of websites on the search engines and other advertising platforms. A website owner can simply do a search on their target terms to identify others which share pieces of their market. Once other websites are located, you can gather readily available data and utilize it to forward your website.

Understanding competitive intelligence insights is important for any business, big or small. Not only will it help your business thrive, it can will give you the data needed to sustain its success. Many businesses pop up one night and fall the next. Utilizing competitive intelligence insights will help you make better business decisions.


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