Finance promising start-ups.
Company A develops a new dog collar that changes color based on the dog’s mood. Nothing like this has ever been done before, and the product flies off the shelves. Meanwhile, Company B had no idea anything like this was in the works, and executives spend months coming up with a response. When Company B’s dog collar is released, it’s old and it’s a flop.
In this case, coming in second is the same as coming in last. A Competitive Intelligence Director could have helped Company B by researching Company A’s activities and developing a response.
If you’re a Competitive Intelligence Director, the Chief Strategic Officer and the Marketing Director are your two closest colleagues, and you meet at least once a week to discuss your company’s products, price structure, and processes. Periodically, you review your list of competitors, adding new companies and deleting those that are no longer a threat.
In most cases, you have a team of workers who do the research for you, but as the Competitive Intelligence Director, you provide a significant amount of guidance to make sure the team does the job legally. Reading public reports, patent applications, press releases, and other public documents is legal. Sneaking into the other company’s file room is not. You supervise employees closely, and you ask them to document each and every fact they find.
Using these facts, you develop lengthy reports that list what your competitors are doing, and you outline what your company should be doing to stay competitive. Sometimes, you suggest lowering the price of certain products. Other times, you suggest developing entirely new products.