The Importance of Competitive Intelligence

December 20, 2006

How much time do you spend trying to learn about your competitors?  How important is this activity to your business success?  Do you examine their products from a manufacturing point of view?  What about their packaging, pricing, promotion, advertising?  Do you really understand who runs their businesses?  Their backgrounds and experiences?  Do you try to construct their strategies?  Do you do third party research with your customers to examine your customers’ strengths and weaknesses?

If you are not doing most of the above, you may be overlooking a critical element in competing in today’s marketplace.   How can you plan from a strategic and tactical point of view without as much knowledge about your competition as possible?  Just think how much more effective your plans could be if you had this knowledge.

But, you say it is impossible to get most of this information?  Nonsense.  In today’s information age, you can get almost any information.  You can certainly get answers to all of the above and much more.  You can use outside consultants where appropriate to interview customers and suppliers as well as past employees of your competition.  And, there is a wealth of information available on the Internet, especially for public companies.

So, gather as much competitive intelligence as you can.  You will be surprised how helpful this information will be during your planning cycle.

Rich

Bizvice:  Strategy, Marketing & Entrepreneurship

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