Arming Management Through Competitive Intelligence Programs
The basic meaning of a competitive intelligence program is the procurement of information about the products or services provided by a company for the purpose of educating the hierarchy who make up the administration of that company. This type of program also provides managers and executives with information regarding their competitors so as to increase their understanding of the market. It enables them to be able to effectively answer questions asked by employees and customers.
Companies, both large and small, are able to use competitive intelligence program software in order to increase their knowledge in order to benefit their business. It is a way of arming their representatives so that they can be productive in the workplace and keep operations running smoothly. Customers will often search online websites for products and services, and, upon seeing something that interests them, they may contact the company for more information or answers to questions. Intelligence and confidence is the key to providing the answers and advice. According to 48% of consumers, this is the most important time in the relationship between them and the company. Customers will base their opinion and their decision to either form a relationship with this company or move on to the next during their first communication. If they are treated well and in a professional manner, if the company’s representative is knowledgeable and informative, they are more likely to make this and future purchases on this site.
Approximately nine out of 10 customers admit that they would rather pay more for their purchase than to give their business to a company with which they have not had a good customer experience. This runs right alongside the fact that 91% of customers who are left unhappy with the service they receive will not return a second time. Customer satisfaction is a paramount reason why people stick with a particular company. Additionally, 80% of people in the United States feel that smaller companies are more concerned with customer satisfaction than are larger companies. Many people will turn to a more personal venue for this reason.
There are two types of competitive intelligence programs that are successful in reaching their goals. The first is tactical, which is geared toward a more short term time span and focuses on issues such as increasing revenues. And then there is the strategic competitive intelligence program that deals with long term topics like key risk and opportunities that face the business.
Competitive intelligence programs can have different meanings to people who hold different offices within a company. To a sales person within an organization, it might mean advice on how to successfully bid on a contract that will boost the company’s bottom line. To those who manage from the top, it could mean lucrative strategies for marketing that would give their organization an edge over their competitors.
Market intelligence which is typically the concern of the management, is information compiled and analyzed regarding the product market that the company is involved in. This is done for the purpose of helping management to make decisions regarding the organization based on the facts that they know. The facts will include any and all information relevant to their market. Upon this information they are able to plan strategies, direction, and future goals. In short, the long reaching goal set down by competitive intelligence programs is equip both management and employees to make decisions that will have successful effects on the company as a whole.
The sources used in this type of program are typically media reviews from different genres as well as customers and competitors reviews. Other sources include government reports, trade shows, conferences, experts within the industry, and public information. Market research intelligence is focused on the research of the organization’s competitors and customers. What is learned here also aids in the decision making processes of the upper echelon of the company.
There are important laws and practices that competitive intelligence programs must adhere to. In addition to the client’s code of behavior, they must also conform to legal and ethical best practices, and antitrust and trade secret laws. All of this for the protection of the individuals, the corporations, and the competitors alike.