Competitive intelligence is information about competitors that is obtained using sources considered to be legitimate and legal. This type of ethically gathered intelligence can go a long way toward helping a business develop strategies to compete with other companies offering similar goods and services, and seeking to attract consumers in the same markets. The importance of competitive intelligence is seen in every aspect of the business operation, beginning with the products themselves and moving on to the sales and marketing efforts, and even factors such as the ordering and customer care that customers receive after a sale is complete.
The importance of competitive intelligence as it relates to the product itself is especially important. Gathering data about similar products makes it possible to compare and contrast the qualities and features of the good or service, effectively identifying how likely it is that the the features will motivate consumers to choose the products of one company over another. The data can also be helpful in terms of setting pricing, so that products what are very similar in terms of function, ingredients, and quality can be priced competitively in the marketplace. Even information such as upcoming changes in how competitors are packaging their products can be very helpful in positioning a company to compete successfully.
There is no doubt that the importance of competitive intelligence is seen in the sales and marketing efforts. Obtaining intelligence about the consumer markets targeted by competitors can go a long way in the creation of sales and marketing schemes that can either allow the business to compete in those same markets, or even allow the business to identify other markets that competitors are currently ignoring. Either way, the sales and marketing campaigns can be crafted to generate additional levels of public recognition and build a loyal customer base that the competition may find hard to undermine.
When it comes to issues such as order management and delivery, the importance of competitive intelligence can be extremely helpful. Knowing how competitors make the ordering process easy and also ensure customers receive orders quickly can go a long way toward helping a business restructure their own internal processes to offer similar levels of service. In like manner, obtaining information on how customer support and service initiatives are carried out by similar companies can make a huge difference in terms of customer retention. Essentially, the importance of competitive intelligence cannot be underestimated, since the data is highly likely to be useful in multiple areas of the business operation.