Competitive Intelligence

Loading the player...

DEFINITION of 'Competitive Intelligence '

The process of collecting and analyzing information about competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in a legal and ethical manner to enhance business decision-making. Competitive intelligence activities can be basically grouped into two main types – 1) Tactical, which is shorter-term and seeks to provide input into issues such as capturing market share or increasing revenues; and 2) Strategic, which focuses on longer-term issues such as key risks and opportunities facing the enterprise. Competitive intelligence is different from corporate or industrial espionage, which use illegal and unethical methods to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

BREAKING DOWN 'Competitive Intelligence '

Competitive intelligence means different things to different people within an organization. For example, to a sales representative, it may mean tactical advice on how best to bid for a lucrative contract. To top management, it may mean unique marketing insights to gain market share against a formidable competitor. The ultimate end goal of competitive intelligence is to help make better decisions and enhance organizational performance.
 
While most companies can find substantial information about their competitors online, competitive intelligence goes way beyond merely trawling the Internet, on the premise that the most valuable information is seldom – if  ever – easily accessible online. A typical competitive intelligence study includes information and analysis from numerous sources. These include the news media, customer and competitor interviews, industry experts, trade shows and conferences, government records and public filings.
 
In acknowledgement of the growing importance of competitive intelligence, the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) was founded in the U.S. in 1972. It underwent a name change to Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals in 2010.
 

RELATED TERMS
  1. Absolute Advantage

    The ability of a country, individual, company or region to produce ...
  2. Perfect Competition

    A market structure in which the following five criteria are met: ...
  3. Industrial Espionage

    The theft of trade secrets by the removal, copying or recording ...
  4. Business Ethics

    The study of proper business policies and practices regarding ...
  5. Collaborative Commerce - C-commerce

    Optimization of supply and distribution channels in order to ...
  6. Economic Moat

    The competitive advantage that one company has over other companies ...
Related Articles
  1. Active Trading

    Competitive Advantage Counts

    What's the best indicator of a company's future success? Its ability to succeed when others fail.
  2. Economics

    Prisoner's Dilemma

    Learn more about this classic game theory scenario.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    Getting To Know Business Models

    Learning how to assess business models helps investors identify companies that are the best investments.
  4. Entrepreneurship

    Public Relations: Offering Businesses A Competitive Advantage

    To maximize the sales potential of any business, a public relations program should be part of the master marketing plan.
  5. Active Trading

    Economic Moats: A Successful Company's Best Defense

    Find out why some companies thrive while others flounder.
  6. Entrepreneurship

    Make Sure Your Business Complies with These 3 Environmental Laws

    Discover why 1970 is considered the year of the environment, and learn about several major environmental laws with which businesses must comply.
  7. Investing Basics

    Financial Boiler Rooms Today: Real-World Examples

    High-pressure sales environments pitching inflated penny stocks or faux companies exist and cost investors millions every year. Here are a few examples.
  8. Investing Basics

    High-Pressure Sales Tactics You Should Be Aware Of

    Beware of financial advisors (and others) who use these common high-pressure sales tactics.
  9. Entrepreneurship

    Every Business Needs To Answer These 5 Questions

    Although there are endless ways to reframe and rephrase them, there are only really five important questions that every business needs to answer.
  10. Investing Basics

    How to Dodge Brokers Using Smarmy Sales Tactics

    Many finance professionals use illegal, high-pressure sales tactics to sell bad securities to investors. Here's how to know if you're being swindled.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between CI (competitive intelligence) and competitive analysis?

    The difference between competitive intelligence and competitive analysis is that competitive intelligence refers to the understanding ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between business intelligence and competitive intelligence?

    Competitive intelligence is the act of understanding a company's industry and industry rivals so the company can make better ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the historical origins of business intelligence?

    Business intelligence is not a well-defined term and is often interpreted differently depending on source or context. This ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are some common methods of gathering CI (competitive intelligence)?

    There is one unifying characteristic throughout the most common methods of performing competitive business intelligence: ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Who are Monsanto's main competitors?

    Monsanto (MON) is a multinational company that provides seeds and agriculture products to farmers worldwide. Its business ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Which of these is not one of Porter's 5 competitive forces?

    Which of these is not one of Porter's 5 competitive forces? a) Threat if new entrantsb) Threat of subsitute goodsc) Rivalry ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  2. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  3. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  4. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
  5. Dark Pool Liquidity

    The trading volume created by institutional orders that are unavailable to the public. The bulk of dark pool liquidity is ...
Trading Center