Competitive Intelligence Mistakes to Avoid

Competitive Intelligence Mistakes to Avoid


Are your team members are all over the map when gathering Competitive Intelligence?  Do they generate the same or similar information, start from scratch each time they gather Competitive Intelligence or provide unfiltered data that lacks insight? If so, then it’s time to formalize a Competitive Intelligence program. The following steps explain how.


Key Steps

  1. Start by identifying those negative perceptions (e.g. “Competitive Intelligence” is spying”) that will hinder any effort to set up the program.
  2. Create a Competitive Intelligence mission statement (e.g. “provide the right information, to the right people, at the right time, to make the right decision”, “fill information gaps that market research is unable to”, “pinpoint competitor weaknesses to leverage to our advantage”, etc.)
  3. Get agreement on which competitors to monitor, what information sources are essential to track these competitors and with what frequency.
  4. Teach Competitive Intelligence skills to team members through online training or face-to-face workshops.
  5. With Legal, develop guidelines to carry out Competitive Intelligence ethically.
  6. Upgrade how the Competitive Intelligence is being deposited into the company’s email repository.
  7. Develop a monthly Competitive Intelligence summary report to discuss results and share ideas.
  8. Create an active exchange of information between global headquarters and your office.
  9. Put in measurements (e.g. what % of the Competitive Intelligence is being used, # of “wins” that Competitive Intelligence has achieved) to assess the effectiveness of Competitive Intelligence being generated.
  10. Set up a process to acknowledge Competitive Intelligence contributors who go out of their way to generate Competitive Intelligence.



Ultimately the success of any activity lies in how much effort is put into formalizing the process. Otherwise, findings that need to be read and acted upon are lost among all the other data being communicated.