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A competitive intelligence report is a document that contains information about your competitors' behaviors, gains, and target markets. Sales and marketing professionals need to know about their competitors' actions so they can plan accordingly. If you plan on targeting a certain demographic with a particular sales pitch, you will want to make sure that one of your competitors is not already successfully pursuing this approach, since it could hurt your own chances of success. To create a competitive intelligence report, your first step should be to determine who your competitors are. For example, if you are in the auto manufacturing business, list all of the other car manufacturers that offer similar models for similar prices.
It is also important to determine what you would like to find out when you are creating a competitive intelligence report. Sit down with your colleagues and decide which questions are most important. In most cases, questions are related to specific projects. For example, a marketing professional might want to learn how his or her competitors appeal to clients in a certain market. If a competitor can persuade buyers that his or her products are cutting edge, you might want to spread the message that your products are more trustworthy; this will allow you to appeal to a different sensibility.
Once you have decided who your competitors are and which questions you want to answer, the next step in creating a competitive intelligence report is to determine how you can acquire intelligence. Some information you can get simply by making observations. If you work for a grocery store that sells organic foods, look for coupons and advertisements from similar grocery stores. Find out which tactics their marketing departments use. You may even want to go to competitor stores as a customer to gain a different perspective.
A professional might also use a market research firm to create a competitive intelligence report. Market research specialists can help you develop surveys that you distribute to customers in your targeted demographic. For example, if you want to learn about customer satisfaction in a particular region, you can purchase phone numbers and have market research representatives call random people in that region to learn how satisfied individuals are with relevant services.
The format of your competitive intelligence report depends largely on the information you want to organize. If you would like to see how satisfied customers are with a competitor, you can create a rating system that allows you to graph your results. To track the success of your competitors among individuals from different income brackets, you might want to create a spreadsheet.