Have you ever wondered why your rivals rank higher on Google or seem to sell more products than you? Competitive intelligence might provide answers. It involves collecting and analyzing data about contemporaries in your industry and their customers, suppliers, products, and other factors. The result? You gain a competitive edge! Learn more about competitive intelligence in this guide from Symphonic Digital.

What Is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive intelligence (CI) is the collection and analysis of information about your marketplace. This data-gathering process is critical in competitive industries that might share the same target audience and sell similar products and products. With competitive intelligence, you learn more about your competitive environment and make smarter business decisions. It’s that simple.
 

Competitive intelligence takes into account the following: 
 

  • Your competitors’ customers
  • Your competitors’ products and services
  • Your competitor’s technologies
  • Your competitors’ suppliers and other partners
  • Your industry as a whole

 
Competitive intelligence provides a more comprehensive overview of your environment, allowing you to figure out what drives marketplace success.
 

Say a competitor ranks at No.1 on Google for many keywords you target. This company might drive more traffic to its website from search results, resulting in more sales than you. When you perform competitor intelligence, you can learn what strategies that company uses to outrank you on Google. But you can also discover how that company engages with its customers and partners, the technologies it uses, how it sells products and services, and how industry trends and developments impact its business operations. 

Benefits of Competitive Intelligence

Competitive marketing intelligence provides the following advantages:
 

  • Learn how your competitors operate
  • Understand how you perform compared to your competitors
  • Discover the best technologies in your industry 
  • Find out how consumers engage with competitors
  • Identify risks that might impact your business and industry
  • Recognize gaps in your marketplace
  • Grow your business

 
With competitive intelligence, you’ll generate insights that benefit your business. For example, you’ll learn whether a competitor saves money during manufacturing because they work with a certain supplier. Use this information to streamline your own manufacturing workflows and cut costs for your business. Another example of competitive intelligence is learning how economic trends in your industry can prevent your business from growing. Once you know this information, you can make changes to your organizational model and better prepare for the future. 

Competitive Intelligence Strategy

A competitive intelligence strategy is an action plan that will make it easier to research and generate insights about your marketplace. Here’s how to create a strategy:
 

Identify and research your competitors

Start by identifying rivals in your competitive environment and research the way they do business. For instance, you might want to find out which partners a competitor works with to create products and get them to customers. It’s impossible to analyze all your rivals so only include a handful of companies in your competitive intelligence strategy and research additional businesses if you need more insights.
 

Identify industry trends

Choose which parts of your industry you want to learn more about. For example, you can research economic factors that might negatively impact your marketplace in the future and use these insights to mitigate risk in your business. 
 

Decide what information to analyze

There are numerous ways you can analyze your competitive environment, including market research, reviewing competitors’ websites, looking at competitors’ social media profiles, carrying out customer surveys, and talking to your rivals’ partners. Choosing a handful of information sources to include in your competitive intelligence strategy will make analysis easier. 
 

Use the right technologies

Using competitive intelligence tools will let you evaluate your marketplace and generate insights. These technologies gather data from multiple data sources and present findings about CI on data dashboards and other visualizations, helping you identify patterns and trends. 

Competitive Intelligence Tools

Here are some of the best tools on the market for competitive intelligence marketing:
 

Craft

Craft generates historical intelligence about your competitors so you can learn more about their day-to-day operations. Learn about company acquisitions, social media presence, market share, and more.
 

G2 Crowd

This review website lets you find out what customers say about your competitors and understand your marketplace better.
 

SEMRush

 
SemRush’s Market Explorer tool helps you research your industry and competition, revealing insights about market competition, market size, and market share for different companies.

Final Word

Competitive intelligence provides the insights you need to size up your competition and analyze your industry. By creating a competitive intelligence strategy and using the right tools, you can discover how your rivals operate, identify industry trends that might impact your business, mitigate risks, and grow your company.