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Podcast Episode: A Practical Guide to Competitive Intelligence

Tis’ the season for a brand new episode of Into the Fray: The Competitive Intelligence Podcast

In our latest installment, podcast guest host Will Thompson (Crayon’s Director of Growth Marketing), sat down with the trio of authors behind the recently released A Practical Guide to Competitive Intelligence —  Zena Applebaum, Phil Britton, and Alysse Nockels — to dig deep into some practical advice anyone can use to improve their CI program.

Listen to the full episode right here or read on for the top 5 lessons we learned from Zena, Phil, and Alysse!

1. There is no "right path" to becoming a competitive intelligence professional.

“It’s almost a joke in the industry that very few of us went to school to do what we are doing. In fact, I was doing CI for a retailer before I even realized that is what I was doing. I was keeping tabs on the competition, talking about how their pricing is different from ours, when my boss pointed out that I was doing competitive intelligence. All of us have similar origin stories to get us to where we are.” - Phil Britton

2. Practicing CI requires you to be strategic and tactical.

“People tell us the only way for CI to be effective is if it’s strategic. But all three of us would argue that it is, in fact, very tactical. If you can’t help your teams today win accounts and bring in revenue, then who cares what your 5 year strategy is? I’m not saying that strategy is bad, but let’s not bash the tactical.” - Alysse Nockels

3. Always keep an eye out for ankle biters.

“You want to look out for ankle biters who are coming in to take a piece of your market share. Keep them warm on the back burner, but look for signals that they are moving out of ankle biter status. It’s about keeping an eye on them without diverting too much resource to them, if you’re paying attention you’ll start to recognize when the competitor is gaining power.” - Zena Applebaum

4. Competitive intelligence is really about the people.

“As much as we talk about tools and structure, it’s really about people. We all got here standing on the shoulders of others. I wouldn’t be here without those who acted as a mentor to me in the past, so don’t be afraid to reach out to other people who have been around the CI block a couple of times — we’re all happy to help, we’re all happy to contribute.” - Phil Britton

5. You can't do it all — and that's okay.

“You can’t do it all. Full stop. You won’t be able to do everything you read in a book or theoretical novel about CI as a single person. When you’re just starting out, figure out where you can provide the most value and what your strengths are. Then, mash those together so you’re hitting something that you are naturally good at and is providing value to your company. Otherwise you just get overwhelmed.” - Alysse Nockels

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Madison Blask
Madison Blask is a Content Marketing Senior Specialist at Crayon, where she creates compelling content that converts. Prior to joining Crayon, Madison worked as a Senior Copywriter at CXD Studio, a proudly women-owned creative agency based in Boston, MA.