Economic downturn is temporary but it has the power to turn profitable enterprises into bankruptcy. When growth is slack, companies adjust their corporate budget in order to remain profitable. A reduced budget forces management to rethink their long-term strategy. While corporate budgets are being cut, there are ways to continue competitive monitoring and implement survival strategies until the economy rebounds.
The need for competitive intelligence
While the global economy may further contract, it is important to note that some companies continue to stay on their growth path at the expense of others. But how do they manage it? The elixir to the situation is competitive intelligence.
Competitive intelligence help companies mitigate risks arising from external business environment and alerts the management on a timely basis. It involves gathering information about competitor’s products, pricing, investments and external factors such as market conditions and government regulations.
Competitive monitoring programs
By investing in competitive monitoring programs, companies track their competitors’ movements globally. Most companies commission a research supplier or perform in-house research for data collection and compilation.
The competitive monitoring programs include:
- Competitor profiles: With the help of competitor profiles, companies monitor new product developments, expansion plans, merger and acquisition activities, strategic plans, strength and weaknesses of their competitors.
- Market assessment: This includes opportunity and price analysis of products and services in a specific geographical region.
- Conducting business intelligence before commissioning a research method: Conducting business intelligence through secondary research and expert interviews will help companies in formulating qualitative and quantitative research methods.
The common sources for competitive intelligence are annual reports, analyst reports, patent applications, press releases, regulatory filings, media and blogs. The approach to competitive benchmarking process consists of budget allocation, planning, research (appropriate research to conduct the study), Integration of the findings and analysis of information from the sources.
A reduced research budget on the back of economic slowdown puts companies at a strategic disadvantage. Smart companies prioritize and get the most out of their competitive monitoring programs to stay ahead in the competition.
Competitive intelligence focused on decision making
The data acquired using the monitoring programs is evaluated, analyzed and made available as finished intelligence for managers to use in planning and decision-making. Competitive intelligence helps companies determine competitors’ key strengths and weaknesses, new product developments, service ideas and effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Competitive intelligence allows companies respond to competitive threats, fine-tune strategy to foray into new markets, improve strategic thinking and focus on action steps. Many companies spend millions on tracking their competitors, and use the information into their business strategies.
Intelligence is an analytical process that transforms information into actionable knowledge. Competitive intelligence is a value-added concept which layers over the top of business development, market research and strategic planning. It improves market knowledge, cross-functional relationships and gives confidence in product and strategic planning.
Competition these days is more intense, complex, and multi-dimensional than ever before. Being completely aware of competitive activity, and going a step ahead is vital for the success and survival of organizations in difficult times.
– Research Optimus