How do we reduce risks? Is our strategy flexible enough for all plausible market disruptions? What is the best timetable for our product launch? Time for CI, someone says. Yes, but...what is that?
There is a tendency to conflate CI with market research. Certainly, understanding market dynamics is key for responding to a competitor’s offering. Checking in with customers through surveys, focus groups, and social media touchstones sheds light on preferences and wish lists. For the most part, though, market research looks back, solely focused on a customer’s inclination to buy.
Competitive intelligence looks ahead, taking the long view of your category and your market. Developed with vision and intention, CI probes manufacturing, distribution, inventory, corporate structure, messaging, new entrants (those you can see and those barely visible), investment strategies, pressure points, threats, and yes, customers.
Watch CEO + President Ken Sawka and Founder Leonard Fuld discuss the definition and nature of competitive intelligence today: