Scoping out the CompetitionDec 28, 2021
By Stephanie Goldman
Starting your own business is a huge task with so many new things to consider, such as your website design, branding, and marketing. It can be overwhelming deciding where to start. Many of us find ourselves scoping out the competition to see just how they are doing it. It’s ok to admit it, we’ve all done it and guess what...you should! It's actually a real thing! Today we will discuss Competitive Intelligence, the importance of Competitive Intelligence, and what to do with Competitive Data.
So you have been scoping out the competition and finding out their prices, seeing their advertising, or maybe looking at their web designs. Did it make you feel a little creepy? Well, you are not alone and definitely not a creep! In fact, that was good business practice! Scoping out the competition in this way is a form of competitive intelligence or CI. Competitive Intelligence is tracking, gathering, reviewing, analyzing, and receiving CI data of your competition. This type of scoping out the competition is completely legal and does not infringe on anyone’s rights. We all need to have a strong code of ethics in our business practices and it is understandable that it may feel like a grey line, but rest assured it is being done by your competitors as well. Now, let’s all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that competitive intelligence is a good thing and important in your business practice.
Importance of Competitive Intelligence
The need for your business or service is constantly evolving and you will need to be adaptable to make the changes and adaptations required to stay ahead of the game. One can think of competitive intelligence as the cherry on top of marketing and strategic planning in your business. An importance of competitive intelligence is to assist you in making sound business decisions to be the most effective, productive, and efficient. You will find that in your business planning and research that if you add a component, the cherry, of competitive intelligence it will be a huge asset to understanding the current business environment and to strategize for the future based on data you collect and also by really honing in on the needs of your future customers. Competitive Intelligence is a huge part of business for many organizations and firms. There are computer software programs that have been developed for your purchase, and even competitive intelligence analyzers available for hire, of course you can do the work yourself.
Now that we have established that scoping out the competition is a small form of competitive intelligence and the importance of competitive intelligence, let us examine where to find competitive data and what will be beneficial in gathering. Websites are a significant source for gathering data of the products and services of competitors. You can gain insight into the tools they are using and how they are marketing. Social media is a great place to gather competitive data by looking at reviews left by customers and truly understanding what the customer feedback is relaying. This gives a deep insight into your competition as it allows you to know their strengths and weaknesses and will assist you to have an advantage. Using both ideas to gather information about pricing truly gives you insight on markup and packaging. These are just a couple of ideas to get you started in gathering your own competitive data. There is so much more data than can be used. It is important to continually monitor your data and keep it updated, noticing pricing trends, keeping up to date with customer needs, inspiring ideas for growth based on the needs, and also to gathering ideas to help market based on the weaknesses found.
As you can now see, scoping out the competition is a great business practice and something you should be doing. It is good to note that Competitive Intelligence is not something that should just be done upon the startup of business, but instead should be continually gathered and monitored. The importance of competitive intelligence should not be overlooked because the competitive data that you will gain is priceless. Hopefully, by scoping out the competition and using the data, you will be way ahead of your competitors!