TechDogs-"A Beginner’s Guide To Competitive Intelligence Tools"

Business Intelligence

A Beginner’s Guide To Competitive Intelligence Tools

By TechDogs

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You might remember when the Internet lost its collective mind after it was revealed that Captain America was a double agent. If you don’t recall, let us jog your memory. In 2017, Marvel Comics published a 10-issue story where Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, revealed his allegiance to the terrorist organization HYDRA. Can you imagine America’s favorite hero and the face of The Avengers as an espionage agent?

The truth is corporate espionage is fairly common in pop culture – Vesper Lynd betrayed James Bond just as Riley Hicks did in the Fast and the Furious series. However, spying on your competitors is far more challenging in the real world. We have some good news, though – you don’t need to send moles and double agents to know what your competitors are doing. We mean, how do you know they will not double-cross you, or do we mean triple-cross?

What you really need is a Competitive Intelligence Tool that helps you gather, analyze and act on business data from competitors to give you a competitive edge in the market. Read on to know how!
TechDogs-"A Beginner’s Guide To Competitive Intelligence Tools" Waait, This Tool Is As Competitive And Intelligent As Me?
How can you find out what your competitor is doing? After all, if you share the same industry, then you’re targeting the same audience with the same pain points. Can you be certain that your product, service or offering will be better received by prospective consumers? Or does your competitor have that silver bullet to invalidate your months of research, ideation, testing and prototyping?

Scary thought, right?

That is why we are talking about a resource that will easily allow you to understand what your competitors as well as the rest of the market entities are doing. No, his name is not James Bond – it is Competitive Intelligence Tools!

Read on to know what these tools are, how they came about, their working, benefits and future!

What Are Competitive Intelligence Tools?

Competing head-to-head in a crowded business landscape is challenging. Hence, Competitive Intelligence Tools help businesses collect, analyze, compare, strategize and act on competitive insights. Businesses can only stand out by differentiating their product/service and identifying what the competitors are doing as a result. These tools also tell businesses what the competition is not doing, so you can take advantage of those missed opportunities. Basically, Competitive intelligence (CI) Tools are the vibranium shield to your business' Captain America!

These tools also give you in-depth market research about competing businesses and help you see gaps (prospects) and commonalities (vulnerabilities) with your brand. Isn't that what every business wants?

Yet, it took a while for this to become the norm - let's see how.

Evolution And Origins Of Competitive Intelligence

TechDogs-"Evolution And Origins Of Competitive Intelligence"An Image Showing Captain America Being Removed From Ice
Captain America was asleep on ice for 70 years; businesses were not. They realized long back that they could enhance their marketing strategies and decision-making with competitor analysis and competitive intelligence. Although the concept was not new, it only became widely accepted for corporate decision-making in the United States in the 1970s.

Later, in 1983, Motorola CEO Bob Galvin established one of the first official corporate competitive intelligence teams; for more than 20 years, this group was a crucial component of executive decision-making within the company. By 1998, more than 80% of companies with annual revenue of $10 billion or more had an intelligence infrastructure that brought together various internal strategic teams.

Mid-sized businesses that were yet to create internal intelligence teams contracted with consultants and intelligence firms to handle their curation, analysis and reporting needs. Even smaller companies were collecting and analyzing as much data as they could on regional markets and direct local rivals. This provided more impetus to the growth of Competitive Intelligence Tools.

Today, these tools are used by almost every type of organization to stay relevant and competitive. Yet, what you really want to know is how do they work, right?

How Do Competitive Intelligence Tools Work?

The working of Competitive Intelligence Tools varies for each business, depending on the industry, company size, number of competitors, etc. A Competitive Intelligence Tool's primary aim, however, is always the same – to prevent businesses from being caught off guard by any predictable event. For example, if there is a new demand in the market, the tool will inform users so they can quickly launch a product or service to cater to the need.

The initial function of these tools is to assemble actionable information from diverse sources through efficient and ethical methods. That means you cannot (and should not!) send spies for corporate espionage! A Competitive Intelligence Tool then creates a comprehensive overview of the market so businesses can identify opportunities and potential concerns. Furthermore, these tools examine how various events can destabilize rival companies or give them a competitive edge. The tool can also show how businesses might put the insights into action.

Here's a quick breakdown of the three steps involved:
  • Aggregation Of Data

    The tool initiates a thorough research campaign aimed at the operational and organizational aspects of competitors. Reports are created from the collected data to provide both micro and macro insights.

  • Synthesis Of Data

    Businesses analyze these reports and draw important conclusions that help them distinguish their brands and increase market share.

  • Acting On Data

    Organizations put a roadmap plan into action to improve their performance, realign operations and advance toward strategic growth priorities.

So, once this is done, what can businesses expect?

Benefits Of Competitive Intelligence Tools

A Competitive Intelligence Tool provides businesses with a multitude of benefits. It’s like Captain America’s shield – a piece of armor, a frisbee weapon or even a tool to wedge doors open as they slide shut!

TechDogs-"Benefits Of Competitive Intelligence Tools"A GIF Showing The Falcon Using Captain America's Shield As A Frisbee Weapon  
  • Offers Competitive Business Insights

    The tool collects qualitative and quantitative data on the commercial operations of competitors from pertinent sources. This enables firms to examine themselves more objectively, gaining a better grasp of their strengths and areas where they fall short in the market.

  • Helps Track Industry Trends To Predict Future Moves

    Organizations are guided by thorough competitive information as they adapt for the better. It provides insightful predictions about upcoming trends, expectations, disruptions and more.

  • Helps Improve Business Decision-Making

    Data-backed insights speed up decision-making since they allow organizations to evaluate their current capabilities and areas of strength before realigning their resources and efforts to focus on those areas. Less time is spent making decisions and more time is spent acting.

  • Increases Speed-to-Market

    Speed-to-market indicates the amount of time it takes for a product or service to go from conception to being sold to the general public. The more competitive an industry, the faster a business must increase its speed-to-market commitments (without compromising on quality!). The tool simplifies this process and offers a high return on investment.

  • Helps Predict The Behavior Of Competitors

    The goal of competitive intelligence is to measure operations against the leading rivals. An organization can more accurately predict a competitor's activities and attempt to outwit them by using the data gathered by aggregation, synthesis and action of competitive intelligence solution.

If you were astonished to hear that Captain America was a HYDRA spy, the next section will astonish you further (just kidding – nothing can beat Double Agent Captain America!).

What’s The Future Of Competitive Intelligence?

Over the next three years, there is a 91 percent chance of disruptive, non-traditional competitors establishing themselves in the market and shaking up established norms, according to the Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), a global non-profit community. This means that there is a greater chance of unidentified competitors posing a threat to your businesses than existing ones. Naturally, Competitive Intelligence Tools will become even more critical going forward.

The SCIP study also noted that current competitive intelligence teams aren't allocating their time effectively. Inadequate time is spent on analysis or working with stakeholders to understand their shifting priorities, while too much time is spent on low-value tasks like data collection. Businesses will hence seek to automate data collection and enhance competitor data analytics going forward.


TechDogs-"Conclusion "A GIF Showing Captain America Saying "Later!"
Captain America's greatest asset isn't his shield; it's his quick thinking and leadership skills. Similarly, the greatest barrier to making strategic decisions isn't low budget, ambiguity in decision-making, or even the complexity of your products. The greatest barrier is not prioritizing competitive insights that help you gain ground in the business landscape. Only by understanding your position in the market can you improve your standing!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Competitive Intelligence Tools?

Competitive Intelligence Tools are essential resources that aid businesses in gathering, analyzing, and leveraging competitive insights to refine their strategies and enhance their market position. These tools offer a comprehensive view of competitors' actions, allowing businesses to differentiate their offerings and capitalize on unexplored opportunities. By understanding what competitors are doing and not doing, businesses can tailor their approaches for maximum effectiveness.

How Do Competitive Intelligence Tools Work?

Competitive Intelligence Tools function by aggregating data from various sources, synthesizing it into actionable insights, and enabling businesses to act strategically. Through ethical and efficient methods, these tools provide comprehensive market overviews, helping organizations identify opportunities and potential threats. By following a structured process of data aggregation, synthesis, and action, businesses can refine their operations, realign resources, and pursue strategic growth objectives effectively.

What Are the Benefits of Using Competitive Intelligence Tools?

Competitive Intelligence Tools offer numerous benefits to businesses, serving as indispensable assets for informed decision-making and strategic planning. These benefits include gaining competitive business insights, tracking industry trends to anticipate future developments, enhancing decision-making efficiency, accelerating speed-to-market, and predicting competitor behavior accurately. By harnessing the power of Competitive Intelligence Tools, organizations can gain a competitive edge, adapt to evolving market dynamics, and navigate uncertainties with confidence.

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