Most product marketers understand the importance of competitive intelligence (CI). But product marketing doesn’t typically control the budget. Doing a thorough competitor analysis requires an investment. Staying on top of CI over time requires even more of one. And beyond the financial investment, making sure that what you learn in a competitive analysis is put to use across the organization requires other departments to see the value of CI too.
All that means product marketing has to be prepared to make a case for why CI matters. And while that potentially means extra work for you, you have right on your side. Competitive intelligence provides a number of tangible benefits to your organization. You just have to effectively make the case.
6 Strategies to Justify the Cost of Competitive Intelligence
When making the argument for the value of competitive intelligence in your organization, think about who your audience is and what they care about. You’ll likely want to take a different approach when making the case to your executive team than you use when touting the importance of CI to your sales team.
But while the details and focus may differ depending on who you’re talking to, you have a few compelling arguments for CI that can form the basis of your justifications.
1. Competitive intelligence enables you to identify threats.
You can’t take anything for granted in business. You may have figured out a business strategy that worked great for the last couple of decades, but changes in the marketplace, technological innovations, or new companies coming onto the scene can change everything over night. While some threats and disruptions are impossible to see coming, many can be anticipated if you make a concerted effort to stay on top of what’s happening in your industry.
Competitive intelligence can help you spot new businesses coming into your space faster, learn about new products your competitors are releasing as soon as they’re announced, and stay on top of trends that may disrupt the way you do business. Your business will be more adaptable if you can see threats coming, and react sooner rather than later.
2. It also enables you to spot business opportunities.
The flip side of spotting threats faster is that you’ll also be better at identifying opportunities that are good for business when they arise. That could mean identifying a new product offering your audience needs, expanding to new markets, or trying a unique marketing approach based on new concerns you identify.
Businesses that always do things the same way risk becoming obsolete. Competitive intelligence can help your company stay creative and spot smart ways to evolve.
3. It reduces reaction time, to keep you more competitive.
When you do face a new change to the market, you need to be able to move fast. Competitive intelligence helps you spot relevant trends and changes faster, so you can get your internal teams moving in response. Instead of taking months, or even years, to identify something changing, analyze what it means for your company, and start the process of implementing, you can do it all in days or weeks.
The first step is having a system in place to spot meaningful trends in your industry faster. A CI program is how you do that.
4. It improves your ability to effectively plan and prepare.
Successful businesses aren’t run on whims. They depend on thoughtful planning and strategies. Competitive intelligence should play an important role in any planning process. It’s key for gaining a clear understanding of where your industry is, so you can match your strategies to the current state of things. And it can help you predict where your industry’s going, which helps you to be better prepared for the trends and changes to come.
5. It helps you develop and improve your positioning
A good marketing strategy should be based on effective positioning. Your business doesn’t just need to sell what’s good about your product, but also what makes you different from other options in the space. An in-depth competitive analysis is important to developing messaging and positioning that takes your top competitors into account.
And building a program for monitoring and updating your competitive intelligence on an ongoing basis ensures your positioning stays relevant and effective, even as the market around you changes.
6. It leads to increased profits.
Other benefits may seem like nice-to-haves, but at the end of the day if building and maintaining a competitive intelligence process costs money, you need to demonstrate ways it will help the company make more.
By helping you improve your marketing with better positioning, CI can help you reach more prospects and more effectively move them through the funnel. Understanding your competitors and what your audience thinks of them is crucial to developing effective sales enablement tools that help your sales team close more deals. And CI that helps your business identify lucrative opportunities to evolve and expand can lead to higher profits as well.
CI Can Be Lucrative And Low Cost
Staying on top of competitive intelligence will cost your company something, in terms of both time and money. But you can keep the costs down by developing a system that makes CI more efficient.
Investing in a competitive intelligence product that automates much of the work of monitoring competitors and spotting changes in the marketplace can considerably reduce the time CI requires. And if you follow that up with creating solid processes for turning competitive insights into materials for teams across your organization to use, you’ll ensure the investment pays off.