Competitive intelligence and analysis can improve marketing techniques for businesses at any size. As defined by Investopedia.com, competitive intelligence legally and ethically gathers relevant information about competitors’s businesses. That information is then used in the short term, or tactically, and also in long ranging tasks, referred to as the strategic method. There are dozens of competitive intelligence programs businesses can use on their own, or have implemented by hiring a competitive intelligence agency. Here are a few easy techniques to get you started today.
The Popularity of SWOT Is a Result of How Easy and Simple It Is to Do.
SWOT stands for Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats, specifically the ones of your business. It is a convenient tool that can be applied to just about any new situation, but lends clarity particularly well to the business sector. Making a list of SWOT can take just minutes. If your company is on the larger side, it would be best to have input from the most knowledgeable employees of each area. When the list is complete, you’ll have in clear idea of what is working; what is not working; what might work in the future; and what could possibly derail successful operations in the future.
While the SWOT exercise has its perks, namely that it is quick and simple to do, it also has its drawbacks. First, it may not be an in-depth report. Meaning, there will likely be estimates instead of hard numbers, especially for future projections. Secondly, the data is just data. It needs to be analyzed critically before a plan of attack can be formed. It’s competitive intelligence and analysis, after all.
How TOWS Matrix Lends Itself to the Analyzing of Competitive Intelligence and Analysis.
While SWOT gives you a clear picture of internal affairs as a kind of employee branding strategy, creating a TOWS matrix is more of an external plan by examining the internal data. Basically, it requires asking critical questions about the data found by completing a SWOT exercise. The goal is to improve both customer service and customer experience. One way to gauge the effectiveness of a new procedure is to request customer feedback, perhaps through consumer satisfaction survey questions. Changes can be adjusted according to how well the customer responds.
It can be difficult to do well in the business world. Sometimes, you need to take inspiration from your competitors. But do so in an ethical, and of course legal, manner. Successful competitive intelligence really depends on how well you know your company and can effectively analyze that information.