Are you keeping up with the Jones’? How do you stack up? Are you using CI?

Are you keeping up with the Jones’? How do you stack up? Are you using CI?

By : Dalia E Paratore Harrison

Competitive Intelligence or CI allows you to know what your competition is doing, where they’re successful, where they’ve made mistakes, how they’ve gained market share…and how you stack up against them.  The problem is that smaller companies usually do not have the resources for dedicated CI teams so this may not be prioritized.  Allow me to argue that if you don’t take the time to do this, in a consistent fashion, you will remain small. There are definite ways to conduct this research and then implement your findings regardless of the size of your organization. 

Conducting CI can be divided into four phases:

  1. Objective: What are you trying to learn?  How to make your brand better known?  Are you trying to define buyer personas? How to price your products/services? Product features? How to stay ahead, keep or take market share?
  2. Discovery: This is where you gather information. There are several ways to conduct research: A. public sources such as web searches, company websites, social media channels, influencers and digital footprints in general. Government statistics such as from the Bureau of Labor & Statistics. B. Commercial sources such as Pew, Gartner or information from online subscription databases such as Lexis-Nexis. Another great way to learn about products your competitors have is to do research on their patents.  That will provide you with a plethora of information such as R&D trends, emerging fields and collaborations.
  3. Analysis: Now that you have this information how do you distill it into actionable items? Based on the kind of information you gathered (based on your objective), figure out how to group items.  If you have a lot of raw data you can simply use Excel, and you can get fancier and use pivot tables.  But for other kinds of data, such as bells and whistles on a product, marketing campaigns used by the competition, pricing and contracting used by other companies, or buyer profiles gleaned; this information can be easily summarized in a document that outlines these findings.
  4. Implementation: So, how do you go about proper implementation? The recommendations for your company must also be agreed upon by all the stakeholders in your organization.  Everyone must be on board. Remember, an organization usually functions holistically.  What this means is that a proposed marketing campaign may fail because of production and scheduling.  Or a new sales strategy may fail because samples of products cannot be shipped in time to potential customers.  All of this should be taken into account when crafting solutions. Recommendations must take into consideration the entire picture and this picture can only be attained with proper consensus.

What are the benefits of competitive intelligence and how can it help you grow? 

  • Benefits for Marketing and PR:  Marketers can take a look at competitors’ content strategy, campaigns, social media posts, SEO rankings, and events that the competition is attending. By analyzing what your competitors are doing, you can use their success and failures to better inform your marketing campaigns and PR.  You can see how best to engage your audience.
  • Benefits for Sales: Without knowledge as to pricing, product, contracting, and process, Sales teams will not know how best to position themselves in the market against their competitors.  Understanding buyer personas is key for Marketing and Sales.
  • Benefits for Owners (and C-Suite): By keeping a pulse on your competition, you can stay on top of funding announcements, partnerships, and can track overall market standing. This helps shape overall strategy for you company ‘growth.
  • Benefits for Product:  If you don’t know how and what products you are competing against, how will you ever gain or keep market share?  Your product team can take market feedback and competitor updates and use those findings to enhance or create on your own products.
  • Benefits for Human Resources: With the help of CI, your HR team can better attract and retain talent, build a positive company culture, and offer competitive salaries and benefits. Seldom thought of but you are only as good as the talent you attract and keep.

Does all this seem complicated or you simply don’t have the time to conduct research internally?  No problem! Outsourcing has become a big business for competitive intelligence professionals. Paratore Enterprises, Inc customizes our research, pricing and strategy to meet your needs.

To find out more about what we do and how we can help guide you, please contact us at or

Paratore Enterprises, Inc team has over 50 years of experience in providing strategy and consulting in marketing, sales and business management for organizations in the Defense and Tactics space, as well as retail and commercial markets. We provide know-how in vendor relations, trade show/event tactics, dealer of record implementation, competitive/differentiator analysis, sales leadership coaching and development. We enable companies to better target their audiences, improve reach, reduce churn and improve pipeline management.


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