As a CMO, you are a leader — or senior consumer — of your firm’s competitive intelligence (CI) activity, and you want to get the greatest value from it.
The first principle in any intelligence activity is that it must be aligned with an organization’s priorities. In other words, intelligence must be focused on those areas where you expect to find growth.
Next, try to frame CI assignments as a series of questions that will help you make critical decisions. Your intelligence team should be able to guide you through this essential step of translating priorities into the right questions.
Beyond that, intelligence is a process as much as a product. So here’s an overview of that process and the inside scoop on how to get the most value from it:
- Tasking – As discussed above, it is essential to start by aligning CI assignments to priorities. In addition, it’s useful at this stage to clarify what the information will be used for so that your analysts can shape the deliverable to your needs.
- Collection – Finding the right data is essential for good analysis. Your CI team will have a good idea where to look, but any additional insights regarding sources that you consider valuable (or not credible) can improve performance at this stage.
- Analysis – The raw data collected needs to be filtered and turned into answers for you and your colleagues. Your CI analysts should have a clear picture of the questions you need answered at this point, and the format in which you need those answers delivered.
- Distribution – Have a plan (or system) to ensure the rapid delivery of the CI analysis as soon as it’s prepared.
- Feedback – This is the second most important step in the process (after aligning tasks to strategic priorities), yet it’s the most frequently overlooked. Constructive feedback and dialogue with the intelligence team will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of all aspects of the process and make future reports you receive more relevant and actionable.
Your CI program should deliver timely information to support new business opportunities, insights regarding key clients, analysis of industry trends and the activities of your competitors. It is an investment from which you should expect a return in timely and action-oriented information, and a few simple steps can ensure you are getting the most value from your investment in CI.
For more guidance on building an effective CI function, download our Law firm CMO’s guide to CI.