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Driving business growth with Competitive Intelligence

Market research 04 12
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Driving business growth requires strategy built on the foundations of research. It is essential that a business understands where they stand – in the eyes of their customers and relative to their competition. 

Competitive intelligence allows for businesses to make data driven decisions for their strategic growth, and is a must for any business looking to enter a market or to grow their existing market share.


What is competitive intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence cvr

Competitive intelligence (CI) can be defined as the mechanism of gathering data about your nearest competitors and analyzing that information to drive changes in strategy. It’s an important function for businesses – as they can have a good idea of what’s happening inside the company but it’s not enough information to base future strategy off of. 

Competitive intelligence allows a company to gather external information, which is crucial for a business to make strategic decisions. Any business needs to make data-driven decisions based on their competitive landscape while keeping internal factors and attributes in mind.

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How does competitive intelligence work?

To gain competitive intelligence a business accumulates information from multiple sources, which is sourced ethically. It is collected for a business to be able to anticipate and respond to challenges in the marketplace before they arise. 

CI is an intensive exercise, with much research put into understanding your competitors strategies. These strategies can include their business plans, their target market, their advertisements and how they operate. Competitive intelligence also helps you understand how external events and factors impact your rivals, and how their supply chain reacts to it. 

CI holds different levels of importance to different departments within an organization. Sales people will leverage competitive intelligence in a manner that is different to how a product engineer would use the same. Top management can use this data to devise strategies to gain market share. 

The end goal behind competitive intelligence is to ensure that no department in your organization is caught napping by your competitors. 

A typical scenario for gathering intelligence includes these elements:


Competitors and their activities are monitored. Any upcoming launch is observed, including marketing and advertising campaigns. Competitor social media channels are scrutinized as well. 


Large scale surveys are conducted among demographics that would typically constitute the target audience for you and your competitors. A variety of questions are asked which allows businesses to glean insights into customer thinking and behavior.

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Types of competitive intelligence

There are two categories of Competitive intelligence – Strategic and Tactical

Tactical CI

This is focused on the short term and is essentially aimed at helping a business quickly gain market share and increase revenue.

Strategic CI

This type of competitive intelligence is focused on long term goals and issues. It helps businesses understand opportunities and risks facing the organization and gives them ample time to strategize for any eventualities.

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Ethics around competitive intelligence

Under no circumstances should competitive intelligence be confused with espionage. CI involves legitimate research carried out by ethical means – such as surveys, studying competitor habits across multiple channels, etc.

Espionage involves illegal activities like hacking into a competitors IT infrastructure or bribing their employees for information into their plans.

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Research & Analysis for competitive intelligence

There are multiple techniques available to businesses which allow them to gather data for competitive intelligence, such as observation as well as face to face, phone and online surveys.

Enterprises can conduct comprehensive surveys among their target audience and find out whether they’re using your products or competitors. If they’ve chosen not to engage with your brand, online and phone surveys can help you pinpoint why. 

However gathering data is only one part – you need to glean actionable insights to be able to term that data as competitive intelligence. Which is why businesses must use analytics tools in conjunction with their surveys. Analytics helps turn your data into insights, and the right software can help create and distribute reports easily.


Competitive Intelligence survey questions

Q) What is your name?


Q) What is your age?

Q) What is your profession


Q) What is the highest level of education that you’ve completed?

High school

Middle school

Undergraduate degree

Post graduate

I do not wish to share

Q) Which of these companies have you purchased from most recently?

Company a

Company b

Company c

Company d

Q) Please describe that company in one work


Q) How interested would you be if Company A offered Product X?

Extremely interested

Somewhat interested

Neither interested nor disinterested

Somewhat disinterested

Extremely disinterested

Q) Could you please share your reasons why you selected that particular answer?


Q) How much would you be willing to pay for product X from company A?


Q) What do you like most about *insert competitor product name*?


Q) Would you be willing to switch to *insert your own product name here* if it offered the same features?



Can’t say

Q) If yes, How much would you be willing to pay for it?