Is Competitive Intelligence better than market research? No, they are just different.
Unlike conventional market research, Competitive Intelligence should be viewed differently. As a more strategic and future-focused process. Where you strive to surpass your current understanding. So is Competitive Intelligence better than market research? No, they are just different.

In contrast, Market Research is predominantly about what’s happening now. And what people/customers think of their current offering. Like Competitive Intelligence, there is so much to Market Research. But at a base level, Market Research is about the now and the past. And Competitive Intelligence about the future.

A definition of Competitive Intelligence
Competitive Intelligence is about collecting and analysing information whose goals are to:

Understand and anticipate competitor activities
Perceive and interpret industry and market events.
Find, isolate and negotiate market disturbances
To manage risk
And gain organisational competitive advantage.
It’s also about the analysis
Competitive Intelligence is not processed until analysis take place. Analysis like what-if scenarios, analysis of competing hypotheses (ACH) or war gaming. So you have a chance to understand what your competitors are likely to do in the future. To assess potential future scenarios to justify specific business directions or decisions.

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence is the finding, sorting and critical analysis of information. To make sense of what’s happening and why. Predict what’s going to happen and give the options to help you control the outcome. Competitive Intelligence offers more certainty, competitive advantage, and insight.
Use published and non-published sources and talk to people. People who will know the answer. Insights gathered on marketplace dynamics and the challenges in structured, disciplined and ethical.

Strategic activities that are created from working with Competitive Intelligence
Create a timely and accurate understanding of competitive and market forces. To input into your own strategic planning.
Developing those useful insights through your research and structured analysis.
Strengthening your marketing message, financial situation and operational activities.
Minimising decision-focussed risk and reduced uncertainty.
Competitive Intelligence plays a crucial role every day and also planning and strategising. So by understanding things like:

What are they planning?
Understand competitor business models
How are they planning to outflank you?
Why are they doing what they do?
And why your customers could be attracted to them?
What are the best decisions and actions to take?
Improve your productivity by focusing on winnable activities and pitches
Provide an early warning of competitive threats
Make better strategic decisions and take action
Isolate and take advantage of their strengths and weaknesses to stay ahead of the game
Where are they winning?
Be more informed and open to innovation
Stay fresh in the industry
Create exciting value propositions
And finally, identify alternative marketing channels your competitors are successfully (or not) using
And it can be argue that market research is part of Competitive Intelligence, but that’s another story.

Is Competitive Intelligence better than market research? No, they are just different.
In conclusion, while Competitive Intelligence and Market Research have different focuses, they are both important for understanding the market and making sound business decisions. Market Research provides historical data and insights into what is happening now, while Competitive Intelligence provides information on what may happen in the future. Both are essential for a well-informed business strategy.

Art by Thomas Ashlock

Author's Bio: 

Octopus Competitive Intelligence consulting agency | Your competitive advantage starts here #compintel #competitiveanalysis #marketintelligence