The Competitive Intelligence Division (CID) of Special Libraries Association (SLA) has a great line-up of presentations and fun events at this year’s annual conference in Philadelphia from June 12-15. In the spirit of cooperative intelligence, I have listed the competitive intelligence (CI) events below in chronological order by date with book signings at the end. Look under Twitter #slacid for Tweets!
Competitive Intelligence has historically focused on strategic and tactical forms of intelligence. While CI is an important input to strategic planning, and companies benefit from scenario planning, many companies miss the boat by not conducting and communicating CI in real-time.
I am enjoying David Meerman Scott’s book, Real-Time Marketing & PR. He explains the competitive advantage to companies and individuals of being responsive to events that affect them in real-time. No longer can you just monitor the news: you have to take action! So many companies are stuck in the past and the future and forget that we operate in the NOW!
How often do we get stuck in patterns and either make mistakes or don’t see events coming? In competitive intelligence, we look for what isn’t or what looks odd or out of place since oddity often is a precursor to change. There is always surprise in life and business. How we prepare ourselves for it is what separates the excellent from the average. I find I react better to surprises if I get out of my comfort zone more often.
Read about 10 top tips recommended by Arthur Weiss of Aware shared in a recent AIIP webinar. These will help you no matter what type of research you do. Aside from sharing some great websites, browsers, social networks and Internet people sites, I like Arthur’s framing of research. Learn exactly what you are looking for and put yourself in the target company’s place as plan for and conduct the research. Also think laterally. Look for oddities and things that don’t look, feel or sound right.
Mary Ellen Bates delivered an excellent AIIP webinar on how to market your business more effectively using her tested and tried best practices using the telephone, snail mail and social networks. You will want to buy her book, Building and Running a Successful Research Business” for even more than the 23 tippers she shared. Free webinars are a great AIIP benefit and all webinars are taped for later listening for the membership.
I look to build 2 databases to support competitive intelligence: one which is a repository of data/reports/analysis and another which is a contact database of experts and users of competitive intelligence both inside and outside your company. The repository is useful for monitoring, as a source for quick retrieval of data for projects, and can facilitate self-service of existing information and analysis for competitive intelligence clients. The contact database is most precious especially if sortable by expertise, topical interest and whatever way it makes it easy for you to find the right person, whether a user or resource for your competitive intelligence needs.
Use a cooperative connection approach with internal and external experts regardless of how you reach them. A good way to think about who to connect with internally is: who is dealing with my competitors, customers, the investor community, suppliers, distributors, regulators or attends trade shows? Externally, you need to consider who tracks the marketplace you compete in, in all its aspects: technology, innovation, the environment, economic conditions, politics/lobbyists, regulatory, social issues and the competition.
With all the buzz around connecting through social networks, cold calling is often forgotten. While cold calling is a nervy way to conduct research, if you’ve done your homework ahead of time, you can be successful in gathering information quite expeditiously.
This post focuses association chapters, the grass roots of associations, which are often the step-children in the association world since they don’t product revenue, and many don’t even break even. We are adapting our chapter meeting venue to the reality of today’s dispersed and busy workforce. We are co-hosting a meeting with the Denver APMP chapter on Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. where people will have 3 choices for connection. http://www.scip.org/Training/EventsDetail.cfm?itemnumber=8540 for details.