“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there,” is a famous quote from author Lewis Carroll.
We’re using it ourselves to inspire and guide your market intelligence (MI) and competitive intelligence (CI) plans. In our experience, clients that attain the highest CI and MI value are those that align their intelligence efforts with their strategies for marketing, business development and client relationships
Creating your Market Intelligence Map
When you engage with LAC Group for ongoing MI or CI support, one of the first deliverables we create for you is a map. Working collaboratively with your project team, our analysts detail the following information:
What to look for
What matters the most
Where to find it
Key topics and subject matter
Key questions and relevant keywords
With this information, the best Market Intelligence Map can be developed, offering the most direct way to save time, avoid pitfalls and dead-ends, keep everyone happy, and ensure continuity when team members change.
LAC Group’s Market Intelligence Map generally includes any or all of the following topics (plus any others you specify), depending on your needs and concerns:
- Key market sectors and niches
- Competitors and competitive threats on the horizon
- Current client news and awareness
- Macro market trends
- Specific concerns like regulatory or financial environments or sustainability
The role of the Market Intelligence Map is to ensure our analysts are working with a detailed, comprehensive view of your market information requirements, one that is scrutinized regularly to handle changing needs and dynamics. This precise mapping allows the LAC analyst(s) dedicated to your needs to find and distill the most meaningful information and present it in a format that suits your project team and other stakeholder groups.
Minding your KITs and KIQs
If you’ve seen or heard these acronyms and wondered what they are, remember:
KIT is Key Intelligence Topic:
- The most relevant aspects of your business environment or situation. Generally concerned with early warning of threats and opportunities, alignment with strategies and your position or standing.
KIQ is Key Intelligence Question:
- Since the best answers start with the right questions, we ask and help you formulate questions that will get you what you want to know about a KIT, what you don’t know about it, and what you need to confirm or dispute.
As the competitive landscape is in constant flux, the Market Intelligence Map is also an ongoing work in progress. Renewal of sources, keyword modification, user feedback, economic changes and other factors demand that we keep your map flexible and dynamic.
Most of the maps we develop with our clients include multiple KITs and KIQs. For each KIT, we outline a sub-topic, targeted keywords and key sources. To monitor pension plans in the United States, for example, KITs may be created for largest funds, such as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System or CalPERS. Following is a sampling of what might be covered:
Market and competitive intelligence mapping for success
LAC Group alleviates the burden of gathering, assessing and distributing information about your clients, markets and competitors in support of your business decisions and actions. Yet sometimes companies find that even with that burden lifted, CI and MI investments fail to contribute to important success factors like:
- Lead generation and qualification
- Revenue growth
- Competitive wins
- Competitive loss analysis
- Cross-selling and up-selling
- Client loyalty
We generally find three primary reasons behind poor ROI on market and competitive intelligence initiatives:
- Poor planning and preparation
- Failure to establish and measure the right KPIs (key performance indicators)
- Lack of accountability
Besides handling some or all of your intelligence-gathering work, our people and processes can also help you address the above challenges:
- The maps we create and refresh as needed will instill planning discipline and details to ensure your efforts are on the right track.
- We will support realistic KPIs and analytics to the best of our ability, monitoring how and if users are gaining access to the reports and briefings we generate.
- Accountability improves with strong KPIs, along with customized CI and MI reports and briefings for different timeframes and user preferences.
Gathering and using market and competitive intelligence is a collaborative process, and collaboration is most effective when it includes planning and preparation, the right amount of flexibility and accountability for all stakeholders to play their part.
We started this article with a quote from author Lewis Carroll about the importance of knowing where you want to go before initiating any MI or CI activities. We end with a different spin, from baseball legend Yogi Berra, famous for his funny yet insightful malapropisms:
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
Your MI and CI efforts won’t lead to someplace else with a Market Intelligence Map and intelligence support from LAC Group. You may use our contact us page to ask me any questions regarding your MI needs and challenges.