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There are various functions which fall under the category of Market intelligence.

In this world of increasing competition, where each of the competitors have amazing depth in their product lines, market intelligence plays a crucial role in keeping the company on top of its game. Market intelligence in layman terms involves the spread of marketing information such that the decision makers are capable of taking the right decisions or altering their overall strategy based on the intelligence acquired. Thus market intelligence has the involvement of numerous entities. Many companies have a separate market intelligence and strategy department. In some smaller companies, the product manager will also be involved in gathering market intelligence. This market intelligence is then passed on to the strategy department wherein the decision makers take a right step to counter act such that these strategies are better than the competition and help the company increase market share and acquire customers. This is all possible on the basis of market intelligence gathered. So what are the ways in which you can gather market intelligence? 1) Use your sales force Your sales force can be the best source for information on improvement in the products, marketing strategies as well as in finding new products which might be needed in the market. Generally it is the sales force which is the represenative of your company. Thus they have the maximum interactions with the end customer. Hence, your sales force is in a much better position to give you practical and realistic market feedback. Time to time competition and market survey through your sales force helps in gathering a lot of useful markeing intelligence. 2) Use your channel Your channel partners are business owners and they too will have a say in the way your company should run. More than your sales representative, the channel partners will be highly interested in the sale of a product as their livelihood depends on it. Thus if it is a matter of new product expansion, you need to involve your channel dealers to know which products they will be confident of selling in the market, which products will they be ready to stock, and hence, which product should the company focus on next. The channel dealer can also suggest improvements in the companies current strategies. The channel dealers are the internal customers of the company and taking feedback from them also keeps them motivated so that they remain loyal to the company. 3) Network Not only your own sales representative and channel partners, but competitors sales representatives and channel partners can also be a source of market intelligence. This is the job of product managers in any organization. The product manager should not only keep an eye on his product but he should also be in touch with the competition to know whatever changes in strategy is being brought about by the competition. Off course, this calls for some smartness and coy strategy from the product manager. But hey, if marketing was so simple, then any dumb person could do it right? Building a network and building solid business relationship are defining characteristics of marketers and they need to use this to their best advantage while gathering market intelligence. 4) Seek external help External help can be of two types. One can be by hiring a consultant or a market research agency which gathers market research data and competition data from time to time. This method is costlier but more efficient. This method is mainly used by B2C companies wherein the number of individual customers is high and knowing the consumer psyche is very important. The other way is to gather data from resources such as government data or mass market research data released from time to time from organizations such as Nielson and IMRB. This data can also be used for market research and competition analysis. This is a less costly method but then the information is not exclusive. Your competitors too will receive this common domain information as easily as you will. The only thing which may defer is the decisions you take based on the data and the strategies you implement. Both these forms of market intelligence are efficient if you make the right decisions based on the intelligence you have gathered.

5) Use the web Nowadays, social media monitoring is being used a lot to know what your customers think of the product and what they want or expect from the company. A simple search on twitter will show you what people are talking about and also what specific things they have to say regarding your product / brand. Thus twitter forms an excellent market intelligence tool. Similarly, there are social media monitoring agencies which map various social media platforms for their clients, they try to find out what are the opinions of the consumers and they might even try to build a brand or change consumer psychology through online interaction via comments, blogs, twitter posts, forum posts or other such actions. However, slowly but surely, the internet is surpassing all other medium in its importance to consumer decision making. 6) Form a customer advisory panel A customer advisory panel is made of your most loyal customers, cusomers who hate you, customers who dont like your products or customers who are more loyal to your competitors. In essence, any customer who is brand conscious can become an advisor provided he knows about the brand he is buying and why he is buying it. Even better customers are the ones who know inside out of the industry. Consider a young chap buying a CHIP magazine regularly. He would be a perfect advisor to a company who wants to make new apps. The company can get an insight from the customer of what he wants. If 8 out of 10 customers say they want more games, then the company knows that it needs to build games as people are still hungry for it. Using the above methodologies, strong market intelligence can be gathered which can then be used in your MIS system such that the information is disseminated throughout the organization to have a holistic marketing culture. This market intelligence will also help you build your image in front of the internal customers and stakeholders, and at the same time, it will help the company thrive in the business market.

50 Competitive Intelligence Analysis Techniques


Analysis is often where the ball drops as far as competitive intelligence analysts are concerned. Yet this is the only way the team can truly extract insights from the data and the intelligence gathered, and have a chance to play a role in the companys strategic planning process. You will find below 50 analysis techniques you should master. This is not a complete list, and it should be adapted depending on the strategic needs of your company, as well as the nature of your business.

I have ranked them by theme, but also suggested the level of complexity. The techniques marked with an asterisk* are included in Competias course Advanced Analysis Techniques.

Industry Structure and Competitiveness

1-SWOT* A structured method to analyze both internal and external factors that are likely to affect a companys success. This framework needs little introduction as it has been used and overused in virtually every strategic planning discussion I have been part of. I would caution analysts that SWOT might be useful to organize information, but certainly not to guide strategic decision making. It needs to be combined with the TOWS matrix to gain additional insights. More: Complexity: low 2-SCP Framework ( Structure-Conduct-Performance)* The SCP framework is process to understand how players behavior and external shocks can affect an industrys future profitability and growth. It can be at times difficult to run as it requires executives to project into the future, but insights are real and lead to great strategic discussions. More on McKinseys site (includes an audio file): An example of analysis here: Complexity: Medium 3-ADL Matrix

This analysis helps one understand how an industrys maturity and competitive position affects strategy. It compares two axes: industry maturity (ranging from embryonic, growing, mature, to aging) and competitive position (from dominant to weak). More here: Complexity: Medium

4-Porter's Five Forces* Porters framework provides a checklist to analyze the competitiveness level of an industry based on the balance of power. When using it, do not forget it is only the start of your analysis. The next step includes defining which strategy would augment chances of success: cost structure strategy, differentiation strategy or integration strategy. More: about Michael Porters work at Harvard Business School Complexity: Low 5-Industry cost curves

Using supply curves, the frameworks helps you anticipate capacity investments, plant closures, and pricing changes for a product. More: Complexity: High

6-Value Net This analysis extends the five-forces framework by examining the role of complementors (companies from which customers buy complementary products or services) and their effect, which is the mirror image that of competitors. More: dscape-p31-35.pdf Complexity: Low 7-The Space Matrix This is a valuable method for analyzing the competitive position of an organization. It highlights two internal dimensions (financial strength and competitive advantage) and two external dimensions (industry strength and environmental stability) to determine the organizations strategic position in the industry. The companys strategic strength is then defined as aggressive, competitive, conservative or defensive. More:

0Matrix.pdf Complexity: Low 8-PEST This framework is used in the early phases of strategy development to describe the landscape and environment in which a firm operates ( PEST stands for Political, Economic, Social and Technological). Note: It is sometimes transformed into SLEPT (Social, Legal, Economic, Political, Technological), PESTEL (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental/Ecological, Legal), STEEPLE (Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, Legal, Ethical), etc. More: Complexity: Low

9-Inflection point analysis

An inflection point is: An event that changes the way we think and act. This analysis identifies when and where inflection points are likely to happen. More: I like the short explanation here: An example by Accenture in the US Biopharmaceutical Industry Complexity: High 10- Hypercompetition By leveraging Richard dAvenis frameworks of competitive cycles, analysts can predict future industry dynamics. More: and get the book Complexity: Medium

Future market size estimation and analysis

11-Evaluation and Estimation of the Market Size* These techniques will allow you to calculate the size of the market even when no study exists or no information is publicly available. Many methodsfrom top-down to bottom-up and extrapolations from market segmentscan be triangulated to get the correct answer. The main advantage of these analyses is that they lead to a good, solid strategic definition of the industry or market boundaries and helps highlight blind spots. More: from Harvard Complexity: Medium 12-Lifetime value analysis This customer lifetime value analysis consists of predicting the revenue a customer will generate over his or her entire lifetime. More: Complexity: Medium 13- Supply and demand curves In microeconomics, supply and demand is an economic model of price determination in a market. It concludes that in a competitive market, the unit price for a particular good will vary until it settles at a point where the quantity demanded by consumers (at current price) will equal the quantity supplied by producers (at current price), resulting in an economic equilibrium for price and quantity. More: a good primer here Complexity: High

Customer intelligence

14-Journey map The journey map describes the journey of a user by representing the different touchpoints that characterize his or her interaction with the service. More: Complexity: Low 15-Personas The personas process includes the development of archetypal users to direct the vision and design of new products or services. More: Complexity: Medium 16- Value chain analysis A systematic approach to analyze your value chain, and identify where to create the greatest value for the customer. More here: and here Complexity: Medium

Growth path analysis

17-Three Horizons* The Three Horizons framework provides a structure for companies to assess potential opportunities for growth without neglecting performance in the present. The concept was developed in the book, The Alchemy of Growth: Practical Insights for Building the Enduring Enterprise. Listen to an explanation here: A guide here: Complexity: Low

18-Staircases to Growth* The staircase approach is a method to map a companys possible growth path by continuously compounding skills and options. I have used this framework extensively to either map a competitors past staircase (and hence anticipate future moves) or as a tool for a strategy team to brainstorm about strategic options. More: The excellent McKinsey Quarterly article here is a must read : Complexity: Medium 19-Seven degrees of freedom This analysis is based on the belief that the success of a strategy is based on the ability of a company to identify its strengths and build on them. For more, read The Mind of the strategist by Kenichi Ohmae Complexity: Low 20-Directional Policy Matrix* The directional policy matrix allows you to pick growth avenues based on market attractiveness and company strength. It has also been called the GE matrix, as GE uses this analysis in its strategy process. It can be run qualitatively or quantitatively, depending on the learning style of your executives.

More: read here Complexity: Low 21-BCG Matrix Frankly, I hesitated to include this analysis here. The BCG matrix is a framework to help decision making on existing product lines. Developed in the 1980s, it has been used to evaluate how a company should think about its portfolio based on two criteria: the relative market share of a product and the market growth rate. I wont spend too much time on it as it often leads to erroneous decisions (niche strategies do not fit very well in here). More on Wikipedia Complexity: Low 22-Ansoff Growth Strategy Matrix The Ansoff Matrix (first published by the Harvard Business Review in 1957) is sometimes called the Product/Market Expansion Grid. It shows four growth options for business formed by matching up existing and new products and services with existing and new markets. More: quick summary here Complexity: Low 23-Strategy diamond The framework (developed by Donald Hambrick and James Frederickson) puts the economic logic at the center of the analysis. Four dimensions are analyzed: Arenas, Vehicles, Differentiators, Staging and Economic logic. Strategy is about making important choices, and the real power of a Strategy Diamond is that it integrates important choices into a bigger picture instead of as a piecemeal approach. More: Complexity: Medium

24-Familiarity Matrix Its two axesfamiliarity with market factors and technology or serviceare both divided into new familiar and new unfamiliar. The market dimension refers to the amount of knowledge possessed by the diversifying company of various characteristics of the market and the competitors within it. Newness of a market is the extent to which the company has previously targeted it. More here: Complexity: Medium 25-Core competence analysis An organization's core competencies are its strategically important capabilities that are central to fulfilling its mission and providing an advantage in the marketplace. Core competencies are difficult for competitors to imitate, and they provide companies with a sustainable

competitive advantage. This analysis often forms the first step into the Staircases to growth analysis. More: Complexity: High

Financial analysis ( for the non financial specialist)

26-ROCE Tree* The ROCE Tree is a simple method to compare players in an industry and understand structural differences in performance. I like it allows you to simply present on a one-pager insights from both the balance sheet and income statement, and relate these to shareholder value. This is a great analysis for non-financial professionals to master. More: and an illustration here Complexity: Medium

27-Cost structure comparison / Value chain analysis When no information is available on the competitors costs, this anal ysis provides a structured approach to identify and calculate differences. It is helpful when one has no access to the actual competitor cost information (which is always the case), and allows an alternative analysis method. As you can imagine, there are not many companies advertising about how they do the analysis. This is one of the most powerful analysis tools I knowit helps anticipate product margins, bidding prices and sustainability of pricing strategy. More here: Complexity: High 28-Monte Carlo simulation Forecasting or predictive analytics can best be described as statistic modeling enabling prediction of future events or results, using present and past information and data.

More: and an example in financial reporting here: High

Competitor's Management Team Profiling

29-Myers Briggs' psychological profile* of competitors management team Used in alliances, acquisitions or for competitors, a powerful tool to understand leadership differences and anticipate reaction to industry events. More: Complexity: Medium 30-Power Structure This is a model to look at a company from the outside and understand who the decision makers and those in situation of power. This is an extremely useful analysis for any analyst supporting a proposal and bid team, or working with sales. More: Web-based Analysis for Competitive Intelligence by Conor Vibert. An example here. Complexity: Medium

Future Trends' Analysis

31-Alien Eye Analysis* The futurist Edie Weiner suggests there might be only two kinds of intelligent life forms that do not suffer from educated incapacity: aliens from other planets and children. This analysis allows a management team to look at its existing company, products, and industry with a drastically new vision, allowing it to avoid blind spots. New realities emerge when looking at analysis with an unbiased view. More: FutureThink

1&keywords=futurethink Complexity: Medium 32-Scenario Planning* This analysis, spearheaded by Shell in the 1970s following the companys inability to forecast future oil prices, allows a company to look at possible futures, develop a system to flag events, and prepare alternative action plans. There is abundant literature on the subject, so the sources below are just a starting point. More: by Harvard An example at Shell . The Monfleur Scenarios ( South Africa) Amazing work done by the team at DPDHL on the future of the logistics industry. Complexity: Medium 33-Trend mapping I include here tools that help map large amounts of information to identify trends and patterns. More: there are so many resources online, that choosing has been a challenge. I like the light tutorial on how to analyze trends in Excel , an example of three data visualisation tools about macro-economic data here and the list of visualization tools here. Complexity: High 34-Assessing uncertainty A McKinsey framework of four levels of uncertainty can be helpful to select the right set of strategic tools. More: Complexity: Medium

35- Precursor analysis: This term comes from the chemical industry and describes the analysis of weak signals that might have led to an incident. The same methodology has been used sparingly by competitive intelligence analysis to pre-empt competitors moves: In the aftermath of catastrophes, it is common to find prior indicators, missed signals, and dismissed alerts that, had they been recognized and appropriately... More: Complexity: High

Competitive Strategy Exploration

36-Blue Ocean Strategy*

When competition gets intense, companies need to break out of fierce bloody competition and create uncontested market spaces. This process helps identify untapped market opportunities. More: An app on Apple's itunes store. Complexity: Medium

Source: Blue Ocean Strategy

37-Business Model Generation* The excellent work by Alex Oesterwalder opens the door to companies that need to rethink their business model. It offers a practical step-by-step process to find new ways to create value and analyze a companys current model. More: or Complexity: Medium

38-3-C framework Together, the strategic three Cs form the marketing strategy triangle, matching between the Company, (current and potential strengths and weaknesses), Customers (served and not served), and Competitors (current and prospective) needs to be considered. More: Duke's introduction is quite thorough. Complexity: Medium 39-Three value disciplines Treacy and Wiersema propose a set of three value disciplines similar to Porters generic strategies. The three strategies are Operational Excellence, Customer Intimacy, and Product Leadership. More: ntemacy.pdf Complexity: Medium 40-Innovation Ambition Matrix The Innovation Ambition Matrix is a variant of another 22 growth framework, comparing the axes of where to compete (existing vs. new markets) and how to compete (existing vs. new capabilities). More: Complexity: Medium

41-Strategic Blindspots* One of the most difficult habits to develop in learning to drive a car is to beware of blind spots that area along the periphery of the car where we cannot see whats happening. Despite the rearview and side mirrors, there remains an annoying small area where passing vehicles or pedestrians cannot be seen. If you neglect your blind spots when changing lanes or turning, you put yourself and your car in jeopardy. A strategic blind spot analysis will help you identify if your management team is prone to such blind spots, and how to correct this. More: An article I wrote on these for the Institute of Internal Auditors: . More here Complexity: High 42-Strategic Chessboard AT Kearney proposes four distinct strategic approaches using these two dimensions predictability and a company's ability to shape or adapt to its industry.

More: Complexity: Low

Predicting Competitors Future Strategy

43-Porters Four corners The Four Corners Model to help organizations analyze their competitors' positions, and predict their future courses of action. More: Complexity: Low 44-ValuePerform analysis The ValuePerform Analysis generates a set of spider webs showing:

Importance: How well are your priorities aligned with your strategy?

Perfomance: How well are you actually performing on the critical issues? Potential: Identification of those areas where you MUST improve to execute your strategy successfully?

More: Complexity: Low

45-War gaming This is a process to anticipate competitors likely moves by getting your executive team to play out various scenarios and responses as if they were the competitors themselves, responding to one of their strategic moves. More: Complexity: High 46- Game theory Often defined as the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers, game theory can provide a path of analysis to anticipate a

competitors future moves. The approach involves distilling all possible analyses of a rivals response to a particular strategic move into a sequential consideration of three questions:

Will the competitor react at all? What options will the competitor actively consider? Which option will the competitor most likely choose?

More: McKinsey (pdf) Complexity: High