Competitor Intelligence Research | B2B International

Businesses now operate in a world in which information is more promptly and publicly available than ever before. Thanks to the development of the Internet, data on market trends, legislation, customers, suppliers, competitors, distributors, product growth and about every other conceivable topic is available at the click of a mouse. Search engines, on-line libraries, party websites and other sources provide information in an increasingly plentiful, easy to find, and slowly to digest way .
even traditional forms of information planning such as libraries and publications are moving on-line. All in all, information providers are responding to customer demand by making more and more information available not merely on-line, but besides in a searchable format ( see Figure 1 below ) .
Figure 1 – Gravitation Towards Online, Searchable Information
Competitor Intelligence
Despite this swerve, it is often the most valuable information which cannot be found online. An case of this is competitor intelligence, regarded by most information users as the most difficult character of information to acquire. Collecting such information often requires access to an technical market intelligence adviser, who will glean information from the rival or another source. similarly technical data, particularly in quickly evolving ( and consequently confidential ) areas such as product development, is often ill documented and consequently requires one-on-one discussion with a engineer.

In other words, whilst general data is frequently available freely in every common sense of the word, information that is sufficiently specific, validated and well presented to be of real use to decision-makers often requires a specialist market intelligence provider .

What Is Market Intelligence?

market intelligence is a term that is widely used, widely misunderstood, and frequently mistaken for a mysterious art requiring high-level detective bring. Before providing advice on how market intelligence can potentially benefit your business, it is therefore essential that we begin this newspaper by agreeing on a definition .
It is defined by Wikipedia as follows :

market Intelligence is the data relevant to a company ’ s markets, gathered and analyzed specifically for the aim of accurate and confident decision-making in determining commercialize opportunity, market penetration strategy, and market development metrics .

In simple terms, market intelligence is information that is gathered for the purpose of making business decisions. It is largely synonymous with market research, the systematic gather, recording, analysis and interpretation of data about a company ’ randomness markets, competitors and customers. DVL Smith and JH Fletcher ’ s overview of the market research diligence in 2008 describes the convergence of grocery store inquiry surveys and grocery store intelligence that has occurred over the past decade :

The final few years have seen the arrival of ‘ new ’ commercialize research. run low are the days when market research posed as a quasi-academic activeness that only flirted with the business decision-making process. today, market researchers are much more focus on improving the quality of business decision-making .

In practice grocery store intelligence tends to refer to the branch of commercialize research called market assessment research, which is designed to help a company establish a foothold in a market, or increase its presence in a marketplace. As such, distinctive areas covered would be routes to market analysis, market size calculations, rival analysis, substitute products ( or services ) analysis, and commercialize emergence predictions – in drumhead, information about the external market environment .

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Three steps to brawny commercialize intelligence :
Three steps to powerful market intelligence

market news can be obtained outwardly – by a market research and intelligence company, or by an internal department. Once the market intelligence is obtained, it is normally managed in-house, often in an cozy fashion, but increasingly with the aid of IT-based grocery store news systems provided by engineering and market inquiry companies .
Market intelligence, competitor intelligence & business intelligence
market intelligence is sometimes confused with rival news. The latter is a more specific term, referring specifically to information about a particular company ’ randomness competitors. SCIP, the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals, defines it as follows :

The legal and ethical solicitation and psychoanalysis of information regarding the capabilities, vulnerabilities, and intentions of a business rival .

In effect, rival news is a specific type of market intelligence. As a leave, a good quality provider of market intelligence should offer competitor intelligence as part of its range of services.
business news ( BI ) is besides a term that is frequently used interchangeably with the term grocery store intelligence, again falsely. Business intelligence refers to all of the information used by a company for the purposes of decision-making, but tends to refer to data relate to the company itself, preferably than its market environment. BI therefore includes sales data, production data and fiscal data, and tends to be collected internally quite than by outside agencies. BI is normally closely relate to businesses ’ KPIs ( key performance indicators ) .
This paper
With the above definitions in take care, this newspaper discusses how to add respect to your business using market intelligence, with particular attention paid to the crucial discipline of rival intelligence .

The Purposes Of Market Intelligence

market intelligence can be used to assist with more or less every decision faced by a caller. The overriding function of most market intelligence, however, is to help the company grow – to increase tax income, profit, or market share. good market news can therefore have a huge render on investment – $ 40,000- $ 150,000 spent on intelligence can generate or save many times that amount in excess customer gross or the avoidance of a bad investment decision .
The purposes of grocery store intelligence are constantly evolving. figure 2 shows the key purposes of marketplace intelligence, and the character of market research or grocery store intelligence study that is typically used to meet these requirements .
Figure 2: The Purposes Of Market Intelligence

Purpose Type of study that typically meets this purpose
Help enter new market, or expand presence in a market Market entry research and market expansion studies
Minimize the risk of an investment decision being wrong Market assessment research or acquisition studies
Keep ahead of the competition, obtain first-mover advantage over competitors Competitive intelligence research
Give the customers what they want, expand market share Needs assessment studies
Establish and maintain a distinctive corporate identity B2B branding research
Tailor products and marketing effort around customer needs B2B segmentation research

How To Gather Market Intelligence

Market entry and market expansion studies
Means of gathering market intelligence vary according to the objectives of the intelligence. The first gear exercise in the postpone above – market entrance and grocery store expansion intelligence – is the most vary in terms of the mix of intelligence assembly methods used. In order to gather adequate good quality information to inform a decision to invest in a newfangled commercialize, or just to increase investment in an existing market, the market research and intelligence firm would gather information from the surveil sources :

  • Potential buyers – to ascertain how much demand there is for the product/service
  • Distributors, agents and other intermediaries – to find out how to best get products and services to market, and again to ascertain how much demand there is for the product/service
  • Competitors – to find out how other companies have successfully entered and stayed in the market, and judge the market’s likely response to a new entrant
  • Industry experts such as journalists and industry associations – these organizations can frequently provide a quick and concise overview of the market, as well as numerous leads in the form of contact details of market players

In short-circuit, conducting a comprehensive examination and actionable market entry or market expansion project requires a 360-degree watch of the market .

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How to profile the rival :
How to profile the competition

Market assessment studies are extremely exchangeable in their border on, albeit the adviser is broadly cross-checking a decision that has largely been made, preferably than exploring a wholly new marketplace or opportunity. Acquisition studies form region of the due diligence of an skill prey, with most of the data being gathered through the follow means :

  • Interviews with the acquisition targets themselves – to gauge their strategy, intentions, performance and characteristics
  • Interviews with competitors of the acquisition target – to assess their views of the company’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the strategy, intentions, performance and characteristics of the competitors
  • Interviews with customers of the acquisition target – these are arguably the most important interviews of all, as they allow us to gauge the reputation, performance and brand values of the acquisition target, as well as pick up ‘industry gossip’ regarding issues such as the target’s financial status
  • Published information such as annual reports and industry reports
  • Suppliers and distributors to the acquisition target are generally of less use, but can provide some interesting perspectives in terms of the performance and attributes of the acquisition target

Competitor intelligence studies
Competitor intelligence studies are in increasingly high demand, and typically companies seek the ‘ inside ’ opinion of that company ’ second scheme and approach. Sales figures and product data would be a typical exercise. surely this inside view can be highly valuable. What can be tied more valuable, however, is ‘ external ’ intelligence on the rival. such information does not require anyone to ‘ tap up ’ an employee or search through the company ’ s garbage can. distinctive sources of data used in a competitive intelligence study are described below .
Press analysis – Publicly available information such as headline fiscal figures, changes of key personnel, senior management statements etc can be of great interest, and most companies conduct such research in-house on a regular but unsystematic footing. On a more conventional footing, a park project conducted by external market inquiry and intelligence agencies is marketing psychoanalysis of competitors. For example, detailed trailing of adverts placed over a period of meter can be combined with exploration of publications ’ advertise rates to come up with an accurate estimate of a rival ’ south advertising budget. Press analysis can besides be used to assess competitors ’ marketing scheme ( by assessing the messages behind the adverts ) and, through examining use advertisements, gain valuable intelligence on wage rates .
Pricing research – there are a count of unlike types of pricing inquiry. statistical techniques such as conjoined analysis and SIMALTO are pure market research techniques which are used to calculate what prices the market would bear for unlike types of offer. In terms of competitive news studies, rival pricing research is easier to explain but arguably no easier to carry out ! This painstaking make involves trawling websites, price lists and other sources of information for the prices of competitors ’ products and services. This data is then benchmarked against one ’ mho own prices.

Competitor pricing research is increasingly difficult, increasingly valuable and increasingly expensive. The key reason for this is that pricing models are increasingly building complex. Definitions of ‘ intersection ’ in most markets have broadened to encompass service benefits and intangible brand benefits. The services associated with a product are sometimes priced individually as add-ons, and sometimes included as separate of one ‘ all-in ’ price. evening the product benefits themselves can be priced as separate of one overall price is some cases, and as add-ons in others .
By means of exercise, it is worth considering the way different cars are priced in the USA. A BMW 3-Series ( ) is advertised at around $ 35,000 for a basic model, whereas the begin price of a Lincoln MKS ( see ) is advertised at between $ 37,000 and $ 38,000. It would therefore appear that the BMW is the cheaper vehicle. A closer look at the BMW web site reveals, however, that the buyer is invited to ‘ build their own ’ vehicle. A host of options ranging from metallic paint to leather seats, sun-roofs and satellite seafaring are available for supernumerary incremental fees. precisely the lapp applies to the Lincoln. however, not lone does the monetary value of each of the options vary between the vehicles, thus excessively do the options themselves .
The manner of speaking tip for the BMW is $ 825, against $ 800 for the Lincoln – the price of these two equivalent offerings can be directly compared. This is the exception, however. Look foster and it can besides be seen that the Lincoln offers a typeset of ‘ 20 ’ ’ polished cast aluminum 11-spoke wheels ’ for a tip of $ 1,195. The BMW offers no such choice, but does offers ‘ 17 ” V-spoke wheels with run-flat tires ’. How do we compare the prices of these two completely unlike types of bicycle ? Add to this run costs, fuel efficiency and other outgoings associated with owning a car, angstrom well as the fact that prices of all packages, options and benefits constantly change over time, and it is acquit that price benchmarking is an extremely difficult and resource-intensive job .
Figure 3 – Complex Pricing Options (
Pricing options available
Market research and news agencies are employed, of course, to devote the clock time and expertness necessity to make sense of such data. The agencies scour price lists and store the information they gain into databases. As the databases are arrant, close comparable ‘ options ’ are compared directly against each other. In accession, typical ‘ packages ’ of benefits are drawn up and then priced. indeed, a ‘ distinctive ’ basic BMW software would be compared with a ‘ distinctive ’ basic Lincoln package, flush if the typography of the two packages is not precisely the lapp .
It is deserving mentioning that rival price studies allow us not merely to compare prices, but besides to compare our respective companies ’ ability to capture value. If our product or service is more expensive than a rival ’ randomness, this is alone cause for concern if our gross, market contribution or profit is decreasing. Our price must reflect the value to the market of the software of benefits offered. Every aspect of our product, consociate services, and the intangibles such as brand should be charged for, if they are valued by the target audience .
Competitor interviews – Competitor interviews are a unmanageable, but valuable means of gaining rival insights. clearly senior management such as Marketing VPs are particularly utilitarian sources of information, if they can be persuaded to talk. Gaining co-operation with such groups is one of the most difficult tasks carried out by inquiry and intelligence agencies. If the agency can avoid revealing the patronize of the survey ( this is very rare ), a fiscal incentive may gain co-operation. Far more normally, the respondent is happy to take part in an ‘ data exchange ’. This normally results in the answering receiving a outline of the overall grocery store research findings in return for a face-to-face or telephone interview .
It should be highlighted that a rival interview does not inevitably need to target a high-level respondent in order to be utilitarian. Mid-management employees such as Sales Managers can be an extremely utilitarian source of data on products, innovations, overall strategies and a host of early topics. These employees are trained to talk and persuade and tend to be less circumspect than their colleagues in other departments. The typical format of an interview with a rival ’ second sales team is the ‘ mystery shop ’, where a market research agency rings makes contact as a prospective customer and obtains answers to a range of pre-defined questions .
Speaking to a variety of competitors – If asking a rival to provide details on their own business is unmanageable, asking them to talk about other market players is more easily achieved. Given that staff of all levels move between competing companies, and competitors talk to each other, asking Competitor 1 to ‘ dish the crap ’ on Competitor 2, before asking Competitor 2 to return the complement, can be an extremely effective way of gaining rival insight angstrom well as an overview of the market as a solid .

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From dear To Great – Best Practices In Benchmarking :
From Good To Great – Best Practices In Benchmarking

Customer interviews – There is no more effective, authentic or valuable source of rival information than customers. Buyers have never been so bequeath to say precisely what they want, and how they want it, nor indeed willing to complain or take their business elsewhere if their requirements are not fulfilled. Customers much display a remarkable level of fairness when talking about their suppliers, even those with whom they have a conclude and collaborative relationship. Issues arsenic diverse as price, service, contractual details and technical information can be discussed, vitamin a well as ‘ industry gossip ’ such as who is buying who, or which company is in fiscal difficulties .
Interviews with suppliers, distributors, other industry players and experts – In every industry it is worth mapping out the supply chain in order to assess who might be able to provide valuable market intelligence. Those at the center of the supply-chain – intermediaries such as distributors, agents and importers – are often those that know most about the market, as they are in frequent contact with manufacturers and sellers alike. Most markets have a act of ‘ experts ’ of some kind who are autonomous and will to contribution the information they possess. Industry associations and journalists at industry publications are typical examples .
Company websites are an obvious, but increasingly effective, generator of rival information. information which merely a decade ago would have been top-secret, or merely gettable by making a visit to the company, is now freely available. Technical data sheets, company vision and scheme, merchandise invention, staff credentials and a horde of further information is available to anyone uncoerced to spend the prison term sifting through the often hearty contentedness .

Output Of Competitor Intelligence Studies

It can be seen that rival penetration studies are diverse and rich in the information they provide. These studies provide a comprehensive description of the competitive environment ampere well as detail rival profiles covering topics such as company characteristics, needs, views on supplier performance, investment plans, selling strategies, fiscal data, expansion record and plans and much, much more. rival profiles are by nature bespoke, although models such as Porter ’ s 5 Forces ( see Figure 4 below ) can be used as a footing for a eminent level assessment of the overall competitive environment in any markets .
Figure 4 – Porter’s Five Forces
Five Forces (Michael Porter)

Needs Assessment, Customer Satisfaction, Corporate Positioning and Segmentation Studies

Needs appraisal, customer satisfaction, corporate aligning and division studies are based on two key sources of information – customers and potential customers. indeed, the subject areas covered by each are alike, each referring ( in different levels of detail ) to how the decision-making work and buying process workplace, requirements from a supplier and views on suppliers .
The four types of project vary greatly in terms of output, however, with corporate aligning and cleavage studies being the most complex in terms of analysis .
Corporate positioning studies are designed to establish the essence of a trade name, and make recommendations in terms of how to make the sword values as pass and positive as potential, and how to increase a market ’ s awareness of the brand. A keystone output of many branding studies is a competitive brand map, which uses satisfaction and perception scores provided by customers to statistically plot the relative strengths of competing companies against each early .
In a post map ( see Figure 5 below ), the attributes towards the center of the map are least differentiate, whilst those towards the borders are most differentiate. The same principle applies to the suppliers or brands on the map – the approximate they are to the border, the more discrete their bodied stead. A supplier or brand with a rightfully alone aligning will be plotted near to an assign towards the surround of the map, but a distance away from competing suppliers. In Figure 5, it can be seen that each of the competing suppliers are perceived as being quite distinct from each other, although none has actually gained ownership of a particular assign. The forward-thinking supplier would invest in resources and market campaign that associated it with an property that was classifiable, authoritative, and in which that supplier has already demonstrated some aptitude. By communicating a clear and distinctive message and delivering against that message, the supplier can increase customer loyalty, sales revenue, prices and ultimately profitability.
Figure 5 – Brand Map
Brand mapping example | Brand map example
Segmentation, like stigmatize, is a means of differentiating oneself from the competition, in holy order to increase profitableness. The most effective type of cleavage – needs-based cleavage – is based upon quantitative data on the target market ’ mho requirements. The prey audience is broken down into groups of companies with like needs. Each of these groups is then targeted ( or not targeted ) on the footing of these needs and the probably profitableness of the segment to the supplier. Implementing the division takes the shape of developing and marketing different offerings for each of the choose segments. Hence, segmentation studies have direct input into product development and marketing creative.

Market Intelligence In International Markets

The systematic gathering, analysis and present of grocery store news has taken invest in western markets for around 4 decades. presently, however, it is in the modernize markets that demand for market intelligence is increasing. Countries such as China, India, Russia, South Africa and Brazil are seeing repeated double-digit increase rates year-on-year. Most of this growth, it should be started, is driven by westerly clients both inside and outside their home countries .

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Rehearsing The Future – Making Better Strategic Decisions :
Rehearsing The Future – Making Better Strategic Decisions

There are few real methodological differences when it comes to obtaining market news in different countries. When it comes to data collection, it is true that asian markets, for both cultural and logistic reasons, frequently require more face-to-face data collection than western markets. It is besides on-key that market intelligence can be more difficult to obtain in developing countries. A key reason for this is that economic records tend to be less well-established. however, a market intelligence provider with knowing employees and a multilingual capability should be capable of obtaining intelligence across different markets. indeed, this skill is increasingly substantive as the requirement for multi-country intelligence increases .

The ROI Of Market Intelligence

This paper has summarized the main types of market intelligence, placing particular emphasis on rival news. The purpose of all of this intelligence is to increase profitableness. Market introduction, market expansion, market assessment and acquisition studies achieve this by advising on the right naturally of carry through when invest in a ( normally new ) market presence. Needs judgment studies allow us to better meet customer requirements and consequently increase market commitment and market share. cleavage, brand and competitor intelligence research tend to refer to markets where there is an existing presence, and are peculiarly utilitarian in helping us differentiate ourselves from the competition and appropriate more rate .
Figure 6 Which type of research/intelligence? (Using the ANSOFF Grid)
ANSOFF Grid - Which type of research / competitor intelligence
A winder question, however, is what is the veridical ROI ( return on investment ) of this intelligence ? How do the benefits weigh up against the costs ? It is impossible to provide a definite ROI figure ; however we can at the identical least compare the relative ROIs of unlike types of undertaking. figure 7 below shows the typical video in terms of outsource market news projects. few studies cost more than $ 200,000, and most cost importantly less than this ( assuming one cogitation covers one market ). The rewards, it can be seen, may be substantial, with grocery store entrance studies and similar projects providing huge vengeance in terms of tax income gains or costs saved. Unsurprisingly, less dearly-won projects normally yield less solid returns.

Figure 7 Estimated ROI Of Market Intelligence Projects
Market Intelligence Return On Investment For Competitor Intelligence

Making Market Intelligence Work For You

The objective of this paper is to demonstrate that market news can bring significant benefits to all businesses, whatever their activities or objectives. We finish by providing the reader with a abbreviated overview and 5 keystone recommendations .

  • There is more information readily available to businesses than ever before. However, information that can really help a business make decisions is scarce and valuable, and usually requires the services of an outsourced intelligence provider
  • Market entry and market expansion studies provide intelligence to be used when entering a new market or expanding an existing market presence. Information is typically gathered from conversations with buyers, intermediaries, competitors and industry experts
  • Acquisition studies form part of the due diligence of an acquisition target, with most of the information being gathered through interviews with acquisition targets, their customers, their competitors, their suppliers, and industry experts
  • Competitor insight studies are increasingly sought after, and are based upon press analysis, pricing research, competitor interviews, customer interviews, interviews with other market players, and online research (particularly of company websites)
  • Other types of market intelligence include needs assessment, customer satisfaction, corporate positioning and segmentation studies – each of these are most appropriate when the sponsor already has a market presence and is seeking to differentiate itself
  • Market intelligence is increasingly purchased by Western companies seeking advice on developing markets. Whilst the fundamentals of gathering intelligence in these markets are the same as elsewhere, a knowledgeable provider with a local understanding is essential
  • It is extremely difficult to measure the ROI of market intelligence; nevertheless, it is clear that the price of projects broadly reflect the potential benefits. The most expensive studies are market entry intelligence studies, on the basis of which huge investments are often made (or avoided)

It is deserving finishing the discussion with some recommendations to ensure that the ROI of your market news is a high gear as possible :

source :
Category : News


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