Competitive intelligence: Know your rivals

Istock 000003150284xsmallDoes competitive intelligence sound like complicated industrial espionage to you? Don't worry — gathering information about your competitors is a sensible market research practice that allows you to be proactive about your business decisions.

What is competitive intelligence?

First, know your own business inside and out — what are your goals? What sets you apart from your competitors? Anything unique will give you an edge. The next step is to be aware of the market. The old adage is true: knowledge is power.

Get started by studying your competition's marketing and visiting their brick-and-mortar locations. Become a client if you can. Keep track with information available in the public domain and through social media.

Armed with a bit of background information, you can then consider sources close to your competition. You may even sound out their employees. Other sources include:

Why not make competitive intelligence part of your business routine, like media monitoring? You may even hire a market research firm or a competitive intelligence consultant.

What should you try to learn?

Don't forget about counter-intelligence — what are your competitors learning about you? Try to protect your own business information while keeping up to date about those around you.

Our section on Industry sector data can help you stay current about trends that could influence your business. Our information on Benchmarking may allow you to evaluate your own performance.


Posted by Dai on November 7, 2011
Hello, nice to read your article, article to you of many view feel to agree, at the same time, I in China is also do business service agency, such institutions in our country is not well developed, there are so many places to learn from you! Hope there many exchanges!
Posted by Mr. IP on November 10, 2011
The article does not specifically mention monitoring intellectual property activities - patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial designs, and IC topographies. Gauging your competitors current research efforts and learning from the fruits of their past efforts may save valuable R&D time and resources. Keeping close watch on IP and manufacturing activities also ensures your IP assets are being respected.

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