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Competitive Intelligence Part 2 of 3

Your mission should you accept it Mr. Hunt is to...

Angelo Ponzi - Strategic Market Intelligence

Image - DCollection

In part one of this series on Competitive Intelligence, I discussed the importance of thinking about competitive intelligence as an on-going business strategy.  It’s a process that requires a well thought out plan with input from the various company stakeholders.  Not only a plan for identifying and collecting information, but how to analyze those insights and turn the results into actions.

Also in part one of this series, I shared a variety of free, subscription tools and services were mentioned that you can use to help in the collection of information.  Your initial effort in data collection and analyses needs to establish a base strategy upon which you will build and implement all future collection strategies.

Determine how far back in time you need to gather information to be relevant to your program.  Once you’ve done that, you only have to focus on current information.  However, to do that, you’ll also need to establish the frequency in which you collect and analyze information.  Weekly?  Monthly?  How often will you disseminate your findings and recommendations?  Think this part of your process through so you won’t find yourself always playing catchup.

While there are many resources available, the website “Law and Technology Resources for Legal Professionals”,, is one site that provides a good overview of resources all in one place. For example, their Competitive Intelligence A Selective Resource Guide provides a one-stop-shop for suggested search engines, web archives and open data repositories, as well as suggestions for blog and social media search tools.  This is a great place to start as you develop your data collection plan. For tools to help with your CI on the web, check out KissMetrics' 37 Best Marketing Tools to Spy on Your Competitors.

Regardless of where you collect your data, you must keep the following in mind…you must understand where the data comes from and how it was collected.  This will have an impact on the validity in the data and the confidence you can have in its reliability. For example, if the sample and methodology of data collection was poor, the results you might use in your analysis will be poor as well, potentially leading you to unreliable decisions.

So, put on your best sleuthing hat and music. Mission Impossible themes always get me in the mood, and remember CI is not an impossible mission.

"Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom."  C.H. Spurgeon

In part three of this series on Competitive Intelligence, find out why the analysis phase of your CI plan is the most critical…deeper analytical review can reveal key drivers behind the market.

I welcome your comments below, and hope to seeing you October 28th for Taking Data-Driven Strategy Beyond Messaging: Bridging the gap between marketing and product development innovation.

Photo - Angelo Ponzi - Strategic Marketing Intelligence

Angelo Ponzi, Principal
Strategic Market Intelligence

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