Collecting Competitive Intelligence

Don't make competitive intelligence difficult. You will be surprised at how easy it is to collect certain types of intelligence. The most reliable forms of intelligence are primary sources. Primary sources of intelligence include:

  1. 1) Speeches by executive management that provides intelligence about future strategies of the Company. This would involve all types of communication mediums: TV, Radio, Business Magazines, etc.
  2. 2) Annual Reports and SEC Filings of companies.
  3. 3) Product Spec Sheets and other company literature distributed at trade shows, conferences, and other events.
  4. 4) Physical observation of operations, facilities, and other activities. For example, if you wanted to estimate the volume of gasoline from a distribution point, you can count tanker trucks over a representative sample period.

Secondary sources of intelligence are easier to collect, but are not as reliable as primary since they come from secondary sources. Secondary sources of intelligence include:

  1. 1) Articles, news stories, and other features created by someone outside the company about the Company.
  2. 2) Books about the industry and/or companies in the industry.
  3. 3) Special studies, research papers, and analyst reports about an industry and/or company.

Although secondary sources are not always as reliable as primary sources, they can provide a much broader view of industry trends and strategies. Finally, don't forget to do an intelligence audit within your company. You will be surprised at the many sources of intelligence residing within your company. Journals, publications, and employees are potential sources of intelligence.

Collecting intelligence is like an Easter egg hunt. Eggs are hidden everywhere. Your challenge is to go out and collect the intelligence wherever you can find it. And once you collect it, analyze it and translate it into strategies for managing the future.

matt evans photo Written by: Matt H. Evans, CPA, CMA, CFM | Email: | Phone: 1-877-807-8756

Return to Listing of All Articles | Share | Related Article > Organizing Competitive Intelligence