50 Competitive Intelligence Key Terms
If you’re charting a course through the sea of enterprise, competitive intelligence (CI) is the celestial navigation of your business ship. Nope, not all of us have compasses or astrolabes, but knowing how to read the stars can mean the difference between sailing smoothly and shipwrecking on the shores of irrelevance.
In the modern marketplace, understanding CI isn’t just a nice-to-have. It’s a strategic imperative, offering insights into the ever-changing tides of market trends, your competitor’s whispers in the wind, and the treasures—new opportunities—that the vast ocean of commerce may hold.
To help you man the sails with confidence, here are 50 anchor terms – Competitive Intelligence 101 – that every business leader and analyst should know like the backs of their hands.
Competitive Intelligence: The ABCs of the Marketplace
- SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats – It’s the cornerstone that spells out the four pillars of strategic planning for any business.
- PORTER’s Five Forces: Named after the economist Michael E. Porter, this model analyzes the competitive forces in an industry to help shape strategic planning.
- Scenario Planning: The art of creating hypothetical, but critical, situations in the future to map plausible courses of action.
- Market Segmentation: Dividing a broad market into subsets of consumers based on any sort of shared characteristics.
- Market Share: Your piece of the pie—how much of total sales revenue in a market goes to your company.
- Benchmarking: Comparing business processes to other businesses in your industry or a similar industry to ensure you’re top of your game.
- Value Chain Analysis: Understanding the internal linkages between the elements of your business and seeing where you can stack value.
- Key Success Factors (KSF): Elements or conditions in the environment of a product that can be managed to differentiate and make a difference in the company’s success.
- Lead Time: A critical metric referring to the time required to deliver a product to a customer after it is produced.
- Competitor Profiling: Creating a comprehensive report on key competitors in your market by detailing their history, capabilities, and future intentions.
The Spies and Analysts of CI
- Ethnography: The systemized study of people and cultures—how they live, work, and consume.
- Crowdsourcing: Enlisting the public to contribute to your competitive data through various challenges or open calls.
- Mystery Shopping: Anonymous shoppers used to gauge the quality and level of service by competing companies.
- Competitive Benchmarking: A systematic process to compare your business processes and performance metrics to industry bests or best practices.
- Regression Analysis: A set of statistical processes for estimating the relationships among variables.
- Customer Survey: Systematic investigation of customers’ perspectives of the company.
- Competitive Simulation: Simulating competitive scenarios to train decision-makers to respond to external changes.
- War Gaming: A competitive risk analysis technique in which management plans are stress-tested against possible actions that could be taken by competitors.
- Political Risk Analysis: Evaluating political risks of an international business environment to prevent or mitigate losses.
- Stakeholder Analysis: Taking into consideration the objectives and concerns of any stakeholder in a forward-thinking plan.
Technologies and Tools of the Trade
- Web Scraping: Extracting data from websites to use for competitive and marketing intelligence.
- Big Data Analytics: Analyzing complex sets of data to uncover valuable information, patterns, and trends.
- Voice of Customer (VoC) Tools: Gathering customer feedback and deciphering the data to improve brand strategies.
- Social Media Listening: Monitoring digital platforms to analyze the public sentiment around your brand and competitors.
- Market Intelligence Software: AI and machine learning-powered tools to automate the market intelligence process.
- Competitive Intelligence Platform: A system that collects, analyzes, and presents information on markets, competitors, and customers.
- Predictive Analytics: Using data, statistical algorithms, and machine learning techniques to predict future outcomes.
- Machine Learning: AI technique that lets machines learn from data and find patterns to make decisions.
- Artificial Intelligence: Simulating human intelligence processes by using machines, especially computer systems.
- CRM Software: Systems designed to manage customer data, track interactions, and provide insights to use for customer acquisitions and retention.
The Currency of Data
- Data Mining: The process of discovering patterns in large data sets involving methods at the intersection of machine learning, statistics, and database systems.
- Primary Data: Information collected firsthand through experiments or surveys.
- Secondary Data: Information collected by someone else that may come in the form of polls, reports, or studies.
- Quantitative Data: Requires measurement of quantity or amount, often with large datasets.
- Qualitative Data: Information about qualities; information that can’t actually be measured in numbers.
- Competitor Data: Information collected about your competitors, their prices, and their products.
- Market Data: Information about the needs of various customers, trends, and demands.
- Sales Data: Information from all aspects of sales, ranging from customer behavior data to product data and sales channel data.
- Point of Sale (POS) Data: Information that updates real-time on what and when a particular product sells, often leading to re-order.
- Customer Data: Aggregated information about a company’s existing and potential customers that is analyzed to improve customer relationships and increase profits.
The Strategic Mindset
- Agile Strategy: An approach to strategic management under conditions of rapid change, when a company desires a quick, flexible response to a swiftly changing environment.
- Disruptive Innovation: An innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market, displacing the established market leaders.
- Blue Ocean Strategy: Simultaneously pursuing differentiation and achieving low cost, creating a new, untapped market.
- Red Ocean Strategy: Competing in an existing market space, with well-defined rules, where the competitive focus is on the existing competitive structure and the central point is on beating the competition.
- Competitive Positioning: The tactics and strategies a company uses to dominate its competitors by optimizing their products or services.
- Cost Leadership: When a company produces and markets a product at the lowest cost in its industry.
- Differentiation: Providing unique and superior value to buyers through product and service innovation.
- Focus Strategy: A strategy that targets a specific niche in the marketplace, rather than the whole market.
- On-Demand Economics: A model where goods and services are within instant reach and available 24/7 based on demand.
- Competitive Advantage: Offering customers greater value, either by means of lower prices or by providing greater benefits and service.
Competitive intelligence isn’t just a tool in your chest—it’s the wind in your entrepreneurial sails. By familiarizing yourself with these 50 CI key terms, you’re already one broadside ahead of the competition.
Now, the expansive blue of the business sea awaits your vessel. With the stars to guide you and a strong knowledge of CI at your helm, you can navigate through the most treacherous waters and emerge with newfound islands of potential, ready to claim your undiscovered markets.