Research Proposals: A Guide to Success

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She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement. Skip to main content. Forecasting Competitors' Moves A competitive intelligence agency provides you with information that allows you to anticipate what your competitors are planning next. Making Business Decisions Once you know what your competitors are doing, you are better able to plan your company's next move. Identify Gaps A competitive intelligence organization helps you identify gaps in the market based on what your competitors are doing. Internal Information While competitive intelligence often focuses on gathering information about competitors, the organization also can capture information about your own business.

Making Business Decisions

About the Author Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since Accessed 24 September Frost, Shelley. Small Business - Chron. All of this can be accomplished with the implementation of Business Intelligence BI software. Sales managers are able to quickly identify which customers are buying and, more importantly, what products are in decline.

With BI, you can quickly visualize customer spending trends by monitoring their purchases on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis.

How to Conduct a Retail Competitor Analysis

Identifying these trends highlights new sales opportunities. An important opportunity lies with cross-selling complementary products. For example, a store may sell washing machines and dryers. A customer may need to replace only their washing machine, but by bundling them together at a very attractive price point, you are offering an incentive to purchase the pair. If a distributor finds that they are only selling washing machines to a customer, it may be that the customer is getting a better deal on dryers from another supplier.

With this information, your reps can have a meeting with the customer to determine the reason and quickly provide a solution. With our new Shopping Basket launch in , Phocas makes it even easier for wholesalers and retailers to identify winning product mixes, especially those that were previously unidentified. With Phocas, you can monitor how much your customers have purchased on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis to identify their spending trends. Providing your sales team with access to customer data such as buying patterns, previous feedback and behavior, offers clear insights into what your customers truly want and the ability to quickly spot customers on the decline.

Most customers want to be heard. By having meaningful conversations with them, you demonstrate that you are listening. Feeling heard leads to customer satisfaction and retention. A significant way to reduce wasteful spending is to streamline your inventory management system. The goal is to have enough stock on hand to fulfill customer orders, without overstocking. Overstocking ties up capital that can be best used elsewhere. With Phocas, you can monitor your inventory turns by each product.

Over time it is easy to see how much supply you need on hand. Another danger of over-stock is the risk of it becoming dead stock. Dead stock is stock that remains on the shelf for so long that it cannot be sold or returned.

The actual time horizon for SI ultimately depends on the industry and how quickly it's changing. Tactical Intelligence : the focus is on providing information designed to improve shorter-term decisions, most often related with the intent of growing market share or revenues. Generally, it is the type of information that you would need to support the sales process in an organization.

With the right amount of information, organizations can avoid unpleasant surprises by anticipating competitors' moves and decreasing response time. Examples of competitive intelligence research is evident in daily newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal , Business Week , and Fortune. Major airlines change hundreds of fares daily in response to competitors' tactics.

They use information to plan their own marketing, pricing, and production strategies. Resources, such as the Internet, have made gathering information on competitors easy. With a click of a button, analysts can discover future trends and market requirements. However competitive intelligence is much more than this, as the ultimate aim is to lead to competitive advantage.

As the Internet is mostly public domain material, information gathered is less likely to result in insights that will be unique to the company. In fact there is a risk that information gathered from the Internet will be misinformation and mislead users, so competitive intelligence researchers are often wary of using such information. As a result, although the Internet is viewed as a key source, most CI professionals should spend their time and budget gathering intelligence using primary research—networking with industry experts, from trade shows and conferences, from their own customers and suppliers, and so on.

Where the Internet is used, it is to gather sources for primary research as well as information on what the company says about itself and its online presence in the form of links to other companies, its strategy regarding search engines and online advertising, mentions in discussion forums and on blogs, etc. Also, important are online subscription databases and news aggregation sources which have simplified the secondary source collection process. Social media sources are also becoming important—providing potential interviewee names, as well as opinions and attitudes, and sometimes breaking news e.

Organizations must be careful not to spend too much time and effort on old competitors without realizing the existence of any new competitors. Knowing more about your competitors will allow your business to grow and succeed. The practice of competitive intelligence is growing every year, and most companies and business students now realize the importance of knowing their competitors.

According to Arjan Singh and Andrew Beurschgens in their article in the Competitive Intelligence Review , there are four stages of development of a competitive intelligence capability with a firm. It starts with "stick fetching", where a CI department is very reactive, up to "world class", where it is completely integrated in the decision-making process. The technical advances in massive parallel processing offered by the Hadoop " big data " architecture has allowed the creation of multiple platforms for named-entity recognition such as the Apache Projects OpenNLP and Apache Stanbol.


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The former includes pre-trained statistical parsers that can discern elements key to establishing trends and evaluating competitive position and responding appropriately. This occurs in an automated fashion on massive marketplaces such as Amazon.

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Competitive intelligence has been influenced by national strategic intelligence. Although national intelligence was researched 50 years ago, competitive intelligence was introduced during the s. Competitive-intelligence professionals can learn from national-intelligence experts, especially in the analysis of complex situations. Fleisher [34] [ verification needed ] suggests that business intelligence has two forms.

Its narrow contemporary form is more focused on information technology and internal focus than CI, while its broader historical definition is more inclusive than CI. Knowledge management KM , when improperly achieved, is seen as an information-technology driven organizational practice relying on data mining, corporate intranets and mapping organizational assets to make it accessible to organization members for decision-making.

CI shares some aspects of KM; they are human-intelligence- and experience-based for a more-sophisticated qualitative analysis. A key effective factor is a powerful, dedicated IT system executing the full intelligence cycle.

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Competitive intelligence

Market intelligence MI is industry-targeted intelligence developed in real-time aspects of competitive events taking place among the four Ps of the marketing mix pricing, place, promotion and product in the product or service marketplace to better understand the market's attractiveness. Fleisher suggests it is not distributed as widely as some forms of CI, which are also distributed to non-marketing decision-makers. Market research is a tactical, method-driven field consisting of neutral, primary research of customer data beliefs and perceptions gathered in surveys or focus groups, and is analyzed with statistical-research techniques.

Ben Gilad and Jan Herring lay down a set of prerequisites defining CI, distinguishing it from other information-rich disciplines such as market research or business development.

STATcast 2: Advanced competitive intelligence

They show that a common body of knowledge and a unique set of tools key intelligence topics, business war games and blindspots analysis distinguish CI; while other sensory activities in a commercial firm focus on one segment of the market customers, suppliers or acquisition targets , CI synthesizes data from all high-impact players HIP. Gilad later focused his delineation of CI on the difference between information and intelligence. According to him, the common denominator among organizational sensory functions whether they are called market research, business intelligence or market intelligence is that they deliver information rather than intelligence.