After a lot of effort and dedication, your company has its product up and running, has set up distribution and promotion channels, and the clients are buying. You got revenue and your business is finally sustainable. Life seems wonderful.
Want to keep it that way? I’m going to tell you the secret: keep moving. Innovate.
Competitive Intelligence: The Key to Innovate
A company’s environment grows in complexity every day. Opportunities (and threats) come from numerous fields: new technologies, laws and regulation, competition, new clients’ expectations, providers, new products…
Though the future seems promising, you want to ensure your company’s place in it.
You don’t only want to know what your competitors are doing and plan to do. You may also want to find partners to develop new products, and want to know where your sector is heading.
Strategists and technologists like yourself used to have doubts: why spend time, energy and resources in Competitive Intelligence? What are the reasons to approve the budget?
Well, the answer is simple yet powerful: it will make your company earn money and save time down the road.
In fact, in France, one of the countries where CI has more ‘tradition’, it is known as Intelligence Économique. It clearly seems to have something with saving money.
Read carefully, because here are the reasons why you need Competitive Intelligence for your business.
1. Stay Ahead of your Rivals
Smaller businesses use CI to learn about their competitors and incumbents in their markets, learn from other’s mistakes, and discover windows of opportunity and underserved markets.
Larger businesses should use Competitive Intelligence to stay ahead of their rivals and identify the best emerging players to work with them, partner with them… or acquire them.
Think of Tesla. They were the first ones to give people what they’ve been asking for for years: a reliable electric car. Now the company has a purchase waiting list of over a year and is worth $35 Billion.
2. Differentiate your Business
The days of following your competitors are over. Being disruptive is the only way to succeed now. You need to gather data on ‘the-state-of-the-market’: learn what is hot, what people want to hear about and what are their expectations.
Your product (and user experience!) must be different, to stand out and to be memorable.
How? Well, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is working wonders on this aspect, as the latest Accenture report points out.
3. Be Aware of the Market Dynamics
Do not only focus on your competitors. Stay current with trends and forget about solving new challenges with conventional mindsets. Competitive Intelligence helps new ideas and sparks fresh thinking to flow into the company.
Take the airline industry for instance. Fuel is its largest expense and they are constantly looking for ways to cut fuels costs. That’s why United Airlines has partnered with a tech company to convert animal fats into jet fuel, what will allow them to replace up to 30% of its petroleum-based fuel for the L.A. flights.
4. Focus on Innovation
Probably the most crucial use of Competitive Intelligence. Innovation will help you to sustain a competitive advantage and allow you to leapfrog in front of your customers, not just mimic and follow. And yes, that means profit.
Focus on segments in need of products and solutions you can develop (or find partners to develop those products with them).
Following the United Airlines‘ example, the company has started its own startup accelerator program and has invested $ 30 Million in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a first-of-its-kind factory that will turn garbage into fuel for airplanes.
5. Make Better Decisions
All these intel gathering processes of keeping an eye on competitors, market, technologies and trends will leave you with a massive amount of data to digest.
CI is a way of processing and visualizing it in an effortless way so you can quickly spot trends.
Remember you are aiming for the long run. What will determine your team’s success is your vision, so let data-driven foreseeing give you a helping hand!
If you are interested in more information, monitor the progress of your industry or want to find a partner, just ask us.