Is Your Competitive Intelligence Actionable?

 In Competitive Intelligence, Market Analysis

Many companies that we work with invest considerable time and effort to gather competitive intelligence, yet in some instances, what may be valuable insights do not factor into the product plan.  We were not surprised to note that, in a recent study, 45% of computer intelligence analysts surveyed said that their input did not make enough of a difference to improve management decision-making.”[1] This raises a question about how competitive intelligence practitioners can make the results of their hard work more useful and actionable for product managers

One approach we see gaining more universal appeal is the construction of a market map that positions competitive intelligence insights and market research findings within the context of current market dynamics and the product plan.  As such, competitive insights are viewed on multiple dimensions; market size, growth opportunities, organizational capabilities/competencies and emerging trends on the horizon, any of which may impact the product plan.  A market map can even be used to plot possible partnerships and acquisitions, giving you fact-based insight to support a decision to build an alliance or to block a competitor’s next move.  You can find MIDIOR’s step-by-step approach to building a market map in this article published in Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals Magazine.

A second technique that can be useful to make competitive intelligence insights actionable for product managers is focused on analysis and presentation of any primary research you may conduct.  Conversations with your competitor’s customers will often yield a treasure trove of rich qualitative data. However, the mechanics of translating these free-form discussions into meaningful, structured data to support product decisions is not easy. You can read more about MIDIOR’s approach to this challenge here.  And don’t forget to place as much attention on the presentation of your results as you do on the fact-gathering and analysis.  You will lose the battle in the final mile if your competitive findings don’t pass the “so what?” test.

This post is another in our series of tactical innovation tips that we hope will have an impact in delivering incremental revenue for your product organization.


[1] Benjamin Gilad and Leonard Fuld, “Only Half of Companies Actually Use the Competitive Intelligence They Collect”, Harvard Business Review (January 26, 2016)
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