Competitor Intelligence

Strategy, Tools and Techniques for Competitive Advantage

Andrew Pollard

Publisher: Pitman Publishing, 1999, 220 pages

ISBN: 0-273-63709-6

Keywords: Research, Strategy

Last modified: Jan. 29, 2009, 12:42 p.m.

As markets become more global and competition gets more intense, the need for competitor intelligence has never been greater. Gathering and analyzing information about competitors' strategies, operations and performance enables your business to achieve its ultimate objectives of profitability, competitiveness and independence.

But how do you ensure that a competitive intelligence operation succeeds? This book directs you through the key factors — the 5Ps — for implementing a successful strategy.


Make sure your competitor intelligence operation improves the performance of the business. While each strategy will differ for each company, all should include certain common components. Discover what these are.


Get the right people into competitor intelligence. Understand the particular skills that the competitor intelligence manager should have, and learn how to refine them.


Make competitor intelligence an important function in your business. Do not allow the competitor intelligence operation to become a detached support service unconnected to the mainstream activities of the company. Find out how to ensure it is integrated with your business objectives, plans and processes, key decision-makers and your organisations' missions.


Analyze accurately the market for competitor intelligence . Who requires competitor intelligence within your organization? What do they need it for? What information do they require? Get to the core of what the competitor intelligence operation should be trying to achieve. Understand the other processes crucial to success (sources, networks, storage, production).


Competitor intelligence is a core managerial process. Its contribution to the business must be measured. Learn what to measure and how to measure it.

Extract competitive advantage; engage the tools of competitive intelligence.

    • Introduction
  1. Gaining advantage from competitor intelligence
    • Competitor Intelligence: What is it? Why invest in it?
      • What is competitor intelligence?
      • Why invest in competitor intelligence?
    • The benefits of competitor intelligence
      • Using competitor intelligence for business advantages
      • Competitor intelligence in a recession
      • Corporate radar
      • Closing the intelligence gap
      • Improved thinking and attitudes leading to better plans and decisions
      • Allied Steel and Wire
    • What will happen if you do not invest in competitor intelligence?
      • The lesson of Forte
      • Competitor intelligence failure
      • Pearl Harbor: the commercial lessons
    • Future trends in tools, techniques and practices
    • Summary of Chapter 1
    • Troubleshooting
  2. How to set up a successful competitor intelligence operation
    • Key success factors — overview
    • Plan: devise the right competitor intelligence strategy
      • Target intelligence versus radar/awareness intelligence
      • Expressed requirements versus own assessments
      • Producing for customers versus producing for suppliers
      • Tapping internal sources versus tapping external sources
      • Information versus intelligence
      • 'Facts' versus rumours
      • Efficiency versus effectiveness
    • People: get the right people into competitor intelligence
      • Right people, right skills
      • Motivation to produce what customers want and need
    • Position: make competitor intelligence an important function in the business
      • Integrate competitor intelligence into the business
      • Senior management support and involvement
    • Processes: do things the right way
      • Accurate analysis of the internal market for competitor intelligence
      • Tap the right sources
      • Use the right storage and retrieval and production processes
      • Produce tailored, targeted intelligence products
    • Performance: keep your eye on the ball
      • Measure and publicise the success of competitor intelligence
      • The key success factors of three companies
    • Avoiding intelligence failure
      • Input failure
      • Output failure
      • Process failure
      • The Tet offensive, South Vietnam, 1967
      • SmithKline Beecham Computer Healthcare overcomes the 'blockers'
    • Summary of Chapter 2
    • Troubleshooting
  3. Know your customers: identifying intelligence requirements
    • Who are your customers for competitor intelligence?
    • Why do they want or need competitor intelligence?
      • Radar/awareness intelligence or target intelligence?
      • Relative benefits of radar/awareness intelligence and target intelligence
    • What competitor intelligence do your customers require?
      • Wants or needs?
      • Strategic or tactical requirements?
      • Information or intelligence?
      • Competitor, competitive or total intelligence?
      • Who are the target companies?
      • What are the key intelligence requirements?
      • Benchmarking
    • When and how do your customers require competitor intelligence?
    • How to identify what customers require
      • Methodologies
      • Interviews
      • Workshops
    • Summary of Chapter 3
    • Troubleshooting
  4. Information collection
    • Constructing a collection plan
    • Internal sources
      • Human sources
      • Key success factors for internal networks
      • Ex-competitor staff
    • Competitor sources
      • Human sources
      • Hard copy sources
      • Electronic sources
      • Other competitor sources
    • Third-party sources
      • Human sources
      • Hard copy sources
      • Electronic sources: business databases
      • How to use business databases
      • Electronic sources: Internet
      • Electronic sources: media intelligence
      • Local intelligence sources
    • Airlines: two case illustrations
      • 'The world's Favourite Airline'
      • Swissair approach
    • Summary of Chapter 4
    • Troubleshooting
  5. Analysing competitors
    • From information to intelligence
    • First stage: Analysis
      • Pre-collection source selection/filtering
      • Evaluation
      • Indexing, filing and collation
      • Synthesis/Description
      • Forecasting/Speculation
    • Second stage: Analysis
      • Competitive opportunities and threats
      • Competitive strengths and weaknesses analysis
      • Competitive and business environment analysis
      • Competitor modelling/value chain
      • Key success factor (KSF) analysis
      • Market position analysis
    • Summary of Chapter 5
    • Troubleshooting
  6. Producing and communicating the right intelligence products
    • What intelligence products to produce
      • Specific items of evaluated raw information
      • Raw information collations
      • Competitor or target profiles
      • Competitor comparisons or benchmarks
      • Competitor analyses
    • Constructing the right competitor intelligence products
      • Choice of competitor intelligence products
      • Structure of individual intelligence products
      • Designing a good intelligence template
      • 'Crash' analysis
    • Producing actionable intelligence: competitive action plans
      • Actionable intelligence
      • Competitive action plans
    • Communicating competitive intelligence
      • Effective channels of communication
      • Effective forms of communication
      • Large-scale presentation of competitor information
    • Summary of Chapter 6
    • Troubleshooting
  7. Security and ethics
    • Security and leaks
      • Identify critical intelligence
      • Identify potential leaks
      • Reduce risk
    • Ethics
      • How far do people go when collecting competitor intelligence?
      • So what can we do about it?
      • SCIP code of ethics
    • The role of government in competitor intelligence
      • Governments as preventers of illegal intelligence collection methods
      • Governments as practitioners of normally illegal intelligence methods
    • Summary of Chapter 7
    • Troubleshooting


Competitor Intelligence

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Disappointing *** (3 out of 10)

Last modified: Jan. 29, 2009, 12:45 p.m.

How to find information to follow Porter's theories.

Of dubious value.


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