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What is Competitive Cleverness?

Jay C
Knowledge about your product, consumer and competitor is a pre-requirement in case you want to survive in the business world. Keep reading to know more...
It can be said that a good competitor is only one who knows the solutions before the problem arises. To predict the situation, intelligence is a pre-condition. Competition has given birth to immense necessity of requirement of competitive cleverness.
Competitive cleverness is a process of monitoring the competitive environment to enable senior managers in companies of all sizes to make informed decisions about everything from marketing, R&D, and investing tactics to long-term business strategies. It is not a new concept at all. CC is fueled by availability of information only.
In other words:

It is the analytical process that transforms disaggregated competitor intelligence into relevant, accurate and usable strategic knowledge about competitors, position, performance, capabilities and intentions.
Before reaching a decision, the strategist requires a lot of analysis of data and information. That means you need collection of details to derive even to alternatives.
The main aim of this Story is to explore research options available to the strategist, to fetch important data and information for further processing.

Common Goals of Competitive Cleverness

1. Become aware of competitive threats
2. Do away with or shrinking surprises
3. Getting competitive advantage by decreasing reaction time
4. Exploring new opportunities

What you should know about your competitors?

1. Identify Your Competitor - Direct or Indirect.
2. Who is threat in the market? You or Any major competitor.
3. If your entry or existence is threat to your market, have in depth wing of research.
4. Identify capabilities (strength) or weaknesses of your competitor.
5. Identify your competitor's future prospects or opportunities.

You should look out for

1. Financial data
2. Marketing data
3. Advertising strategies
4. Other industrial information
5. Specific companies in your field of business
Annual reports, credit reports, government filings, published articles, stock exchange reports and expert's comments should enable you to analyze your competitor's financial performance. "A competitive world offers two possibilities. You can lose. Or, if you want to win, you can change." How? Answer is simple... Search. Research. Adopt. Market Research enables the strategist to envision the market, sitting at his desktop. Market research can be primary research and secondary research.
Primary Research

1. Questionnaires.
2. Focus groups.
3. Indirect research (spying, counting)

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Secondary Research

1. Government Reports and Publications

2. Reports from research firms like AC Nielsen, Burke, Dun and Bradstreet, Millward Brown, The NPD Group, Opinion Research Corporation, TNS, Forrester Research, Frost & Sullivan, Gartner Group, Gomez Research, IDC, Jupiter Research, MarketResearch.com and Yankee Group
3. News and Articles
4. Yellow pages, Trade magazines, Associations and Industrial buyer guide

Advertising War

Advertisement war among competitor through different medias is important to analyze. Advertisement media can be newspapers, magazines, hoardings, TV, broadcast media, online and outdoor media, exhibition & fairs and PR.

Views of Industrial Experts

Sometimes views from industrial experts published or listened through articles, key magazines, biographies, speech at conferences and consultancy carry high importance for strategist.

Internet / Electronics Media

To know further about companies specifically, following electronic knowledge may help.

1. Yahoo! Business Directories

2. Hoovers is the ultimate source for company information. It publishes information about more than 12,000 public and private companies worldwide.
3. EDGAR, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system, performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by companies, and others who are required by law to file forms with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

4. Electronic details published from exhibitions, presents you single effort information.
Lastly, it can be said that "Competition is easier to accept if you realize it is not an act of oppression or abrasion," says Diane Sawyer. Learning from competitors and competition will always strengthen your business muscles. All the best in your endeavor!