An Introduction To Competitive Intelligence For Small Business Owners

What is Competitive Intelligence? 

Competitive intelligence (CI) involves gathering and analyzing data on your competitors. When done correctly this is entirely legal, ethical, and helps you make informed business decisions. 

The internet and digital data tools have moved CI from a practice that only enterprise size businesses could perform, to something even small businesses can use to their advantage. 

Information is now so readily available online, that CI is not an overly expensive option.

What can you do with CI? 

Once you’ve gathered information through CI it can be useful for a number of different teams. 

Sales can use the data to overcome objections and secure new customers, marketing teams can accurately adjust messaging and targeting, research and development can understand competitors’ pricing and packaging models. 

Data including competitors’ pricing models, ad campaigns, social media activity, PR, online reviews, branding, website designs, website traffic, sales data, earnings reports and more can be great sources for intel you can use to make informed business decisions.

Lots of this information can be easily gathered by online tools or research, but you can also use your own departments to add information into the mix. Your sales representatives for example,  have direct contact with leads and customers and can provide useful data.

Getting started with competitive intelligence 

Start by narrowing it down to the top few brands that offer a similar product or service to the same target audience as you. 

If you want to go deeper into the market you can then also create a database of indirect competitors. 

Once you have your list of competitors the aim is find key insights from their strategies to inform your own decisions on what works and what doesn’t in your sector. You should also set goals for the information you want to gather before you start. So for example; what are the key objections for buyers in this sector? You should also define the methods you want to use to gather this data. 

Once you gather enough information you can start looking for patterns and discover strengths and weaknesses in your competitors.

About Visual Caffeine Branding & Marketing Agency

If you are looking to improve your marketing and sales strategies to get ahead of your competitors, get in touch with the experienced team at Visual Caffeine to see how we can help you.

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