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Who's Responsible for Competitive Intelligence?

Posted by Ellie Mirman on Mon Feb 19, 2018 08:30 AM

Who is responsible for competitive intelligence in an organization? Is it the VP Marketing? Product marketer? Business strategy lead? CEO? Is there a single owner or should it be owned by everyone? There’s no perfect arrangement that will work for every company, and as a result, every company takes their own approach to tackling competitive intelligence. In the 2018 State of Market Intelligence Report, we dug into what companies are doing in this area - how they are supporting competitive intelligence efforts with their people and resources. Here are the trends we found.

Large Companies Have Dedicated Intel Teams

The first thing that becomes clear in the data is that not every company has the resources to dedicate to competitive intelligence full time. About half of small companies (200 or fewer employees) have dedicated headcount for market and competitive intelligence. Meanwhile, 89% of large companies (with more than 1,000 employees) have dedicated headcount for MI/CI, and 80% have dedicated teams for that function.



Bigger Teams Bring Bigger Budgets

As companies grow larger, they not only invest in people for MI/CI, they also invest in program budget for both software tools and consulting services. Of the large companies surveyed, 69% spend more than $25,000 annually on CI, 56% used more than one software tool, and 49% hired more than one consulting agencies in the last year. The trend here is clear - companies want to invest in CI, but they need to combine a variety of tools and services to get complete coverage of the market intelligence landscape.



Intel Leadership Can Live in Marketing, CI, or Executive Teams

Here is where we see how distributed CI leadership can be. When asked the role each team plays in the CI process, marketing, intel, and executive management teams were most often noted as primary leaders. Meanwhile, sales, executive management, and the broader marketing team were most often cited as CI consumers. With participation in CI so distributed, it’s critical that whoever owns CI to distribute the intel to key stakeholders.



Marketing Leads the Way in Market Research

Perhaps a key reason the CI function is so distributed is because there are different types of activities involved in intelligence. These activities span research, analysis, and, finally, communication. In terms of the research phase, it’s marketing that most often takes the lead. Product marketing was most cited as participating in the research phase of competitive intelligence, followed by other parts of marketing and intel teams. Given their broad view of the organization and market, and their strategic role in the company, it’s no surprise that the research most often falls on product marketing.



Executive Leadership Dives Into Market Analysis

What we can also see in the data above is that executive management is most likely to be involved in the market analysis phase. Given their high level of experience and ability to drive actions across the business, this is a positive trend to see because executives can make sure that the intel makes its way into the company’s decision making.

Sales and Executives Are Top Consumers of Competitive Intel

Finally, when it comes to the communication phase of CI, sales and executives play a key role. This phase involves the consumption and distribution of competitive intel analysis. These two groups represent two key ways the intel can be used - sales can use intel to go head-to-head against competitors in sales conversations, and executives can use the intel to drive overall company strategy in light of market movements. It’s a positive sign that marketing is not too far behind in consuming intel, because there are many tactical and strategic actions that marketing can take by leveraging competitive intelligence.

What we see in the data here is that competitive intelligence requires participation from the entire company. Organizations that are able to get all the key stakeholders involved, whether in research, analysis, or simply consumption of the intel, are best positioned to take advantage of competitive opportunities and protect themselves against market threats. To learn more about how companies are tackling market and competitive intelligence, check out the full State of Market Intelligence Report.

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