Sometimes marketing departments under pressure to learn about competitive threats, will request that their field staff gather CI without giving any direction.

Whether they don’t want to risk turning off team members by imposing too many “rules” or are simply too busy juggling priorities, the outcome will be disappointing. I these situations, CI invariably becomes the flavour of the month versus providing ongoing strategic value.

Factors Driving Failure

Factors (and consequences) that sabotage what otherwise would be an effective communication process are:

  • Data not is verified, resulting in incomplete, unclear and inaccurate findings.
  • Data dumping occurs, making reading painfully time consuming and boring.
  • Duplication of information creates the impression that no one is checking their CI before they email.
  • Bias in the findings creates doubt as to accuracy and objectivity.
  • Information is mostly googled: thereby questioning the value in communicating CI, since anyone can google


  1. Information must be verified by at least one other source, whether that be another person or the internet.
  2. Reporting CI should begin with a brief summary of findings and what the implications are to your business.
  3. To avoid duplication, check the depository to see what CI has already been reported.
  4. Advise field staff to put their opinions in italics, thereby separating their opinions from the information they uncover.
  5. Create a bi-monthly summary report. This will remove the “fluff” and force you to focus on important findings.