The Urgency of Finding a Data-driven Competitive Advantage in Uncertain Times
I have been in Marketing in one industry or another for many years now; more than I care to admit. What I’ve witnessed over the years is that industries just keep getting more crowded. New companies seem to pop up on a daily basis with the promise of the newest and greatest product; new technologies emerge to solve consumers’ most pressing needs; established companies broadening portfolios and entering adjacencies to scoop up market share; and everyone striving to rise above the noise. It’s an unsettling equation where competition has increased while brand loyalty has been steadily on the decline.
From recessions to economic expansion; from prosperity to a global pandemic, companies are constantly being forced to redefine and transform to position themselves to weather today’s struggles and capitalize on tomorrow’s opportunity. Complacency is the fastest way to win the race to irrelevance. The old adage, “adapt or die,” has never been more true in today’s ecomonic climate.
The current pandemic has compelled many companies to take a hard look at how they do business and how they modify strategies to the changing times. It has also exposed a critical weakness in many that their business processes are not agile enough to take in the real-time market data to proactively take action to capitalize on opportunity, or fend off competitive threats. Only the best positioned, best informed, and most agile companies will come out of this pandemic intact and ready to thrive.
In times of uncertainty, data is the currency that drives key advantages. Complacent companies that are unable or unwilling to capitalize on real-time market insights, will fall by the wayside, resulting in market competition becoming even stronger in a survival of the fittest scenario. So, in light of this era of “Economic Darwinism”, the question is, what is the true cost of doing nothing? Well, as it turns out, the status quo can cost your organization everything.
I know what you’re thinking, “Ok, Mr. Doom and Gloom, thanks for that thoroughly frightening assessment of the state of business today.”
However, this isn’t all about doom and gloom, and it’s not only about trying to stave off disaster. This is about using the best intelligence to build a proactive go-to-market strategy and outfox your competition to market leadership.
In fact, in a recent Delloitte Consulting survey of CEOs across 15 industries, providing their perspectives on the impact of the COVID pandemic on their business, over 75 percent report that the crisis created significant new opportunity for their company, with an equal number agreeing that their digital transformation has been accelerated by the crisis.
As I mentioned, data is the new business currency. Data-driven decisions mitigate risk and provide evidence for the best path to success. Visibility into the market and competitors insights is at the core of this. You can no longer wait. You need that insight to drive opportunity. Competition is too great and the stakes are too high. You need every advantage you can get, and chances are your competitors are already thinking the same thing.
In order to successfully leverage a data-driven approach to gaining a market advantage, we’ve identified three key missteps to avoid.
1. “Ad Hoc” Is Just a Fancy Term for Incomplete
Many marketing and sales executives get the value of understanding the market and their customers. They spend a lot of time diving into what makes their customer tick, and where the industry at large is moving. However, what many seem to miss is that competitive intelligence is also a critical component to developing a winning go-to-market strategy. Much of the competitive insights for companies come from ad hoc or anecdotal sharing. A sales person hears something in the field and passes it on to his/her colleagues.
In order to truly gain a competitive edge, a well crafted and organized intelligence plan across industry, customer, and competitors must be adopted and universally bought into by all stakeholders. Consistent, real-time competitive and market updates, curated in a coordinated fashion, provide invaluable intel that feeds all aspects of the business, from marketing messaging, to sales strategy, to product roadmap and customer success.
2. Just Keeping Up With The Jones’ Puts You One Step Behind
Winning businesses anticipate market changes and proactively address them to stay ahead of the competition. These are the leaders in space. Like Henry Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” If Mr. Ford wasn’t proactive in his thinking and didn’t look at the changing transportation and increasing mobility trends, we may all still be riding horses today. And to further this point, Steve Jobs even said when the iPod was developed, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Essentially, the market leaders take time to garner the insights, anticipate the changing landscape and take a proactive stance to innovate and gain market dominance.
It’s a simple fact that reactive business models never drive market share. However, You can only take a proactive stance by coordinating and automating insights and the data that feeds them. Which brings me to my last point:
3. Don’t Forget the Advice Your Parents Gave You to Work Smarter, Not Harder
Would you rather mow a lawn with a pair of scissors or a riding mower? One of the main reasons we hear why companies don’t consistently track competition is that it is a very time consuming process and they lack the resources to adequately follow dozens of direct and indirect competitors in their space. It doesn’t have to be a manual process, though. Technology innovation in competitive intelligence has enabled companies to automate the process of tracking, compiling, analyzing, and disseminating actionable insights to stakeholders. By automatically and constantly tracking across competitors’ digital footprints, platforms like Kompyte’s Competitive Intelligence Automation have effectively taken a process that took dozens of hours per month of manual resources down to just an hour or two.
“Kompyte makes my job easier. I get to spend more time being strategic and piloting digital tests that drive results.”
~Samantha Baker, Global Industries Marketing, Cisco Systems
Removing the human element of the research component, the system provides a much more comprehensive view of the competitive landscape by digging deeper and broader across the entire spectrum of data sources. Our proprietary Artificial Intelligence engine powering the analysis, also constantly learns and filters out irrelevant insights, ensuring that all intel is strategically important and actionable for your stakeholder teams to drive better decisions and win more deals. Technology is designed to make lives easier, and while yes, automation is a great marketing buzzword, it has effectively taken the heavy lifting off of the marketing and sales teams in terms of intelligence gathering, and truly provides a leg up in go-to-market execution.
The time is now to seize on the opportunity and move to gain key advantages amidst turmoil in the market. Data is the currency and actionable intelligence is what that currency can buy for your company. You can’t afford to stick with the status quo. The cost to your business is too great.