More than Market Research is Required for a Successful Competitive Strategy
Executives are constantly evaluated based on their performance. Their business plans must meet or exceed stakeholders' expectations for increased market share, increased profits, and continuous growth. In an era of swaying economies, political unrest, fluctuating currencies, and rapid innovation, however, executives must contend with fierce competition. All indicators point to widespread market disruption, with no company remaining untouched.
Therefore, CEOs must collect and utilize as much information as possible to ensure that they are well-equipped to make the best decisions and are prepared for an uncertain future.
Implementing a Successful Competitive Strategy
A corporation must have a structured framework for collecting, processing, analyzing, and disseminating data in order to develop and successfully implement winning competitive strategies. However, data is analogous to a jigsaw puzzle that cannot be completed until every piece is in place. Market Research (MR) and Competitive Intelligence (CI) are the two primary categories we use to classify company data (CI). Occasionally, the distinction between the two is blurred, jeopardizing the usefulness of CI as a distinct art and science. As a business leader in the current, fast-paced global economy, it is essential to recognize and exploit the benefits of market research and competitive intelligence. Let's examine their respective definitions separately:
What is Market Research?
Market research focuses on the present, documenting what has transpired to reach the current state or determining what is occurring in the market at the present time. It focuses on using opinion polls, focus groups, surveys, the voice of the customer, and other tools to assess market potential, market penetration, and market development indicators by analyzing historical data. Market research is more science than art because it produces data points that represent a determinable or recognizable market characteristic, such as market share, brand recognition, and customer experience.
What is Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive Intelligence is a method for identifying and avoiding business disruptions, distortions, rumors, and smoke screens. As a discipline focused on the future, competitive intelligence assists in understanding what a competitor can and will do. It describes situations in which a variety of stakeholders, such as regulatory agencies, partners, and suppliers, may or may not act, as well as how they may do so. Consequently, the primary outcome is a market analysis that provides insight into the probability or likelihood of future occurrences, tailored to support particular corporate objectives and executive decisions.
As a future-oriented discipline, competitive intelligence must encompass a broader range of art and science than market research. Experts in it employ scenario planning, early warning systems, win/loss analysis, corporate wargaming, and other techniques to achieve this perspective. The foundation of competitive intelligence approaches and the source of their value is the analysis performed to identify future-oriented occurrences. Its analysis converts data points from the present into knowledge about the future, which is inherently unknowable.
Evolution of Competitive Intelligence into Competitive Strategy
It is essential to abandon the either/or mentality and instead concentrate on the value of combining market research and competitive intelligence initiatives. Only by combining these competencies can "the hypercompetitive nature of the majority of industries" be addressed. Competitive intelligence is required for understanding the external environment and developing a competitive strategy that can withstand disruption, stand out in the market, and provide distinctive offerings for which customers are willing to pay.
Competitive intelligence is a required extension of market research and a crucial element for informing decisions that lead to achieving a strategic goal and competing in your industry.
Conclusion: Competitive Intelligence to Strategic Competitiveness
It is essential to recognize the value of combined market research and competitive intelligence efforts and to move beyond the dichotomy of either/or. Only by combining these disciplines can "the hypercompetitive nature of most industries" be addressed. Understanding the external environment in order to construct a robust competitive strategy that withstands disruption, differentiates in the market, and solidifies unique offerings that customers are willing to pay for requires competitive intelligence.
Differentiating Strategies are Created by Combining Disciplines
When a company combines current-focused data with the knowledge of the future, it is better positioned to execute market strategies and achieve its goals for any of the four issues listed above. The increased availability of data as a result of technological advancements has made it more difficult to interpret the data into meaningful plans. Positively, leaders will have more opportunities to fine-tune their company's strategy, with more levers to pull and more decision-making approaches. When coupled with a competitive strategy that considers historical patterns, investigates current internal and external issues, and plans for the future, you have a recipe for success in the disruptive market.