Check this post A Competitive Intelligence Note to Strategic Marketing from Strategically Thinking:
Everyone else is working on the current products and the near-term tasks. Meanwhile, you are responsible for what comes next. Your focus is the next wave of products and the technologies that they require. You are monitoring key standards bodies, investments made by competitors and shifting loyalties of the key customers. There is pressure to make sure that the company is preparing correctly for this future. Your job depends on making the right calls and convincing busy people that you are right.
The bulk of the organization focuses on tactics. There is urgency in their actions. Near-term competition and priorities consume most of management’s attention. The last thing that most want is to be distracted with thinking about the future, especially when it might negatively affect what they are doing today. Your job, however, is to convince these busy people to change because of what is coming. They need to be convinced to balance what is pressing today with what is necessary to prepare for the future.
Few have the right combination of skill, motivation and shear persistence to do this job well. Here is what you must accomplish and how Competitive Intelligence helps with those challenges.
- Understand the market direction. It not only what is currently happening that matters, it is what is going to happen. Competitors are entering and leaving the market. The forces which affect pricing power are changing. Trends of all sorts affect how well your strategies work. If commodization is looming, that means one thing. If disruption is likely, that means another. Competitive Intelligence monitors market dynamics and specifically tracks how known and merging competitors affect those dynamics.
- Characterize the competitor strategies. No important competitor is passive. Dedicated people are working to shape the future in their favor rather than yours. They are implementing strategies to beat you and thwart your own efforts. You need to know what they are doing and what it means to your strategies. Competitive Intelligence allows you to “know” these competitors intimately by understanding their culture, processes and people.
- Define the product lines. The long term vision of where your company needs to go concerns your senior management. Decisions about resource allocations, R&D investments, M&A and so on are derived from the products that must be developed for future competitiveness. Competitive Intelligence builds projected product roadmaps for competitors and allows you to compare, segment by segment, their likely future products to yours.
- Create the strategies. Analysis only prepares you for the critical decisions about how to position your company in concrete terms for long-term success. At some point, you have to propose the right strategy. You must understand future scenarios, forecast competitor actions and align people in the organization. Competitive Intelligence explains future scenarios based on industry patterns, competitor strategies and market trends giving a context for future strategies.
- Justify investments. Once you create and propose a strategy, the work of convincing others begins. The internal measure of success is how well you secure money to implement the strategies. There will be debate and disagreement. Your assumptions and judgment will be questions. Many will test your credibility to determine if they should support your strategy. Competitive Intelligence helps you accumulate hard and soft information, define a coherent strategy story and explain risks convincingly.
Competitive intelligence can help you do a better job at strategic marketing. It helps you create better strategies and get them accepted more effectively. More than that, it links the future to the present and helps all of the people that are thinking tactically to make (some) changes to support the future.