How well do you make business decisions? Would you make better decisions if you could rub a crystal ball and see into the future? For those of you who are skeptical of Dionne Warwick’s ability to help you discover the next great innovation in your industry through the Psychic Friends Network, try competitive intelligence.
While I cannot promise to out-predict the mythical wizard Merlin, I can help you can gain valuable foresight into market trends, buyer behavior and your competitors’ plans by employing creative techniques for gathering information from public records, interviews and physical surveillance and then using sophisticated methods of analysis to combine numerous pieces of uncommon information into strategic recommendations for your business.
“Intelligence is uncommon information analyzed for its strategic implications.”
Thousands of years ago, the brilliant Chinese military strategist Sun Tsu stressed the vital role of military intelligence to gain a “Foreknowledge” of the enemy’s plans and the use of counterintelligence to deceive your enemy. While military intelligence is gathered through spying, commercial or competitive intelligence is gathered through a thorough review of public records for hidden information, excellent interviewing skills and keen physical observation, all geared toward predicting the future plans of your competitors and customers by understanding their behavior and thought processes.
The really good competitive intelligence professionals are extremely creative and go well beyond public records.
Good, timely intelligence about the market in which you operate is critical to innovation, strategic positioning and effective business decision-making. Competitive intelligence can be used not only to predict and counteract your competitor’s strategic moves, but also to better understand your customers and your market, allowing you to become the market innovator.
According to the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals, only seven percent of large corporations have a formalized, full scale, competitive intelligence capability.
If you are looking for a competitive advantage, try looking into the mind of your customers and competitors through competitive intelligence.
If you are looking for additional revenue in your own business, why not hire a private investigator?
Here at CompassPoint Investigations, we had a case not too long ago where a client wanted to start a commercial landscaping service in Pensacola and he asked us how he could jump-start his marketing and advertising. The solution was immediately clear: go to the consumers of such services first and offer to do the job better and a little less expensive than the current provider.
He hired us to pick 3 commercial landscaping companies to follow and develop a client list. We not only developed an extensive client list for him but obtained copies of the competitor’s marketing materials, products used, service fees and client points of contact!
Out of the 71 service consumers we identified, he landed 18 of them and had instant start up revenue; 11 of these 18 were clients of the same landscaping company, so we both realized that there was an obvious service problem that was exploitable. We then focused our efforts on that competing service provider for 2 more days and our client ended up gaining an additional 6 accounts.
He completely recouped his cost for our services in less than 2 months and obtained 24 new clients!
We have replicated this type of service now well over a dozen times in different markets and businesses. Competitive intelligence is a featured service at CompassPoint Investigations.