What Does a Competitive Intelligence Analyst Do?
June 28, 2021
Competitive intelligence is vital in today's business world, where the competition gets fiercer every day. Competitive intelligence is the subset of Market Intelligence focused on the position, capabilities, and actions of specific competitors. It involves the ethical collection and analysis of primary and secondary competitor information. The information and subsequent analysis resulting from competitive intelligence engagements help businesses anticipate what their competition will do, learn from their mistakes, and learn from their successful strategies. Competitive intelligence can be applied in many ways, some examples of specific uses include:
- New product and service development or market entry planning
- Existing product or service enhancements
- Research & Development prioritization
- Sales and marketing messaging improvements
- Go-to-market strategy adjustments
- Acquisition or partnership due diligence insights
- War gaming and other competitor simulations or scenario planning
- Corporate or business unit strategic planning
- Strategic vendor selection support
Competitive intelligence analysts can provide incredible value to any department of any organization. But what exactly is a competitive intelligence analyst, and what do they do?
What Is A Competitive Intelligence Analyst?
A competitive intelligence analyst has a wide range of responsibilities. However, they all revolve around a key function: data gathering and its subsequent analysis. Many competitive intelligence analysts focus on secondary research or use software to gather and analyze secondary research information. It's important to mention that the best competitive intelligence analysts specialize in primary research and apply years of experience to collect and analyze data in a way that no computer software is able to do. After all, no software can connect the dots as well as a skilled competitive intelligence analyst.
In a nutshell, competitive intelligence analysts gather and analyze information from a company's competitive landscape. Then they produce actionable insights and communicate their findings to teams and decision-makers in an organization to plan and develop the best strategies to get ahead. Some competitive intelligence analysts also provide ongoing support as organizations implement these strategies and help them make adjustments along the way as new intelligence from their competitors becomes available.
Competitive Intelligence Analyst Skills
Every job requires a set of skills to be performed satisfactorily. We mentioned earlier that a key function of a competitive intelligence analyst is gathering and analyzing information. There's an important skill involved in that function, and it represents the first skill on our listóbut the skill set of a competitive intelligence analyst doesn't end there:
- Research and analytical skills: Competitive intelligence analysts must be proficient in gathering information from various sources through secondary and primary research. They must also be able to understand and analyze a massive amount of data to translate that data into actionable insights. Data is useless unless it is properly assessed and evaluated.
- Computer skills: Competitive intelligence analysts must be tech-savvy. The most significant source of secondary research and even the contacts to conduct primary research can be found on the web. Moreover, competitive intelligence analysts need to know how to use programs like Excel, PowerPoint, etc., to organize their findings and present their conclusions with the data to back them up.
- Communication skills: Competitive intelligence analysts must be active listeners with interview skills to gather data from primary research subjects and be flexible to dig deep and get the best informationówhich is rarely on the surface. Then, competitive intelligence analysts must also be able to communicate their findings in a very concise and clear way.
- Time management: Finally, almost all job descriptions include time management among their desired skills. For a competitive intelligence analyst, time management is fundamental. Keeping ahead of your competition is a goal that makes all information and data gathered to achieve it extremely time-sensitive. This is why presenting findings and analyses along with suggested strategies needs to be made in the most efficient and timely manner.
Peak Innovation's experienced principals have proficiency in all the above-mentioned skills. Furthermore, they are highly competent at secondary research, and even more so in primary research. As a matter of fact, it's our primary research and competitor analysis skills layered on top of secondary research that differentiates us. It's this difference that customers value in our competitive intelligence
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