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2018 CI trends and insights

Competitive intelligence research resources

December 04, 2018

Home Blog 2018 CI trends and insights
CI 2018 insights and trends

Competitive intelligence research is a growing request from our clients in business and law. And, since you’re here, we gather it’s of interest to you, too. Read on as we share some 2018 trends and insights and compile some additional CI readings and information.

2018 State of market intelligence

Crayon, a new provider of market and competitive intelligence tools, surveyed over 700 information professionals this year. Following are key findings:

Status of CI and MI research efforts and programs

  • 89% of large companies have headcount dedicated to market intelligence
  • 22% have defined goals for CI programs and 19% have defined KPIs
  • 40% of market intel programs have been in place for less than one year

Do you see your CI programs and efforts reflected in these numbers?

Also, it may be helpful to distinguish market intelligence from competitive intelligence. It’s essentially self-explanatory:

Market intelligence (MI) is information relevant to your target market(s), taking a holistic view that encompasses competitors, customers, partners, thought leaders and other variables that influence market success.

Competitive intelligence (CI) focuses on the collection and interpretation of data on competitors.

Size of CI teams

It appears that competitive and market intelligence gathering remains an ad-hoc process in many organizations, with 17% having no staff dedicated to it and 24% having only a portion of one employee doing the work. Their research found that only the largest companies (over 1,000 employees) have headcount and teams dedicated to this function.

CI / MI budgets

18% of companies report no program budget and 28% report $5,000 or less in annual CI / MI program spend. It’s no surprise that the bigger the company, the bigger the budget, with 49% of the largest companies spending $100,000 or more annually. Most of the respondents expect to keep the same budget next year, with 33% reporting an increase and only 4% saying their budget will go down.

How CI / MI budgets are allocated

Companies are investing their competitive and market intelligence dollars on software and services of outside agencies or consultants, with a quarter of businesses using three or more tools. Yet many businesses are finding other ways to collect and assess data themselves. For example, in the largest companies (>1000 employees), 27% are not using any dedicated CI / MI tools and 42% are not employing the services of outside providers.

As for the kinds of competitors that are being tracked, the majority (91%) are focusing their resources on direct, named competitors.

Who uses competitive and market intelligence

CI and MI users are mainly sales people (53%) and executives (49%) with marketing, product marketing / management and customer service / success being other primary user groups.

The CI process

A finding that didn’t surprise us: the most time-intensive part (43%) of the competitive intelligence process is the research phase. That compares to 32% on analysis and 26% on communication. Relevant, reliable information is not quickly found or discovered, especially in casual internet searches. Yet we find, and this report confirms, that many organizations are limiting their efforts here, to their own detriment.

CI sources

When it comes to sources of competitive information, such as websites or social media, 67% track fewer than 10 sources. The top resource is competitor websites, which is no surprise as they are free and easily accessible. However, focusing there means you’re getting the same information everyone else is, plus it’s the most biased and incomplete source. Real market and competitor insights come from other sources, some paid and some free, some easily accessible, some hidden. That could be anything from news services to social media to tradeshows and conferences.

Other competitive intelligence readings

Following is some the most requested and viewed information on competitive intelligence available on our website:

Case studies and sample reports

Sample CI reports and fact sheets from LAC Group’s research and intelligence team:

 CI needs for sales teams

Turning intelligence into action

CI for law firms

CI for private equity and investment firms

LAC Group’s CI process and services

Click here to request a copy of Crayon’s State of Market Intelligence report (requires registration).

Robyn Rebollo

Robyn Rebollo

LAC Group Vice President, Robyn Rebollo, is a research services consultant, strategic procurement adviser and information services professional. Her reputation has been established through many years of experience and numerous contributions to the design, development and implementation of information and knowledge solutions for corporations, law firms and universities.
Robyn Rebollo

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