3 Minute Read

Understanding and then reacting to a changing competitive landscape is required of any business, but not everyone gets it right. It is understandable that many leadership teams prioritize the efficiency of operations, streamlining of communication, and even product development above looking up and out into the market. The outcome of doing this is most-often a best-of-breed-product/service that is no longer relevant to a shift in the market or is lost in the messaging of competition.

For those companies that have invested in strategies designed to aid in the mapping of future growth and opportunities, outdated methods, conflicting priorities, and truthfully, the overwhelming amount of data available about competitors and markets can lead to a noisy channel that is both difficult to navigate and nearly impossible to glean any value insight from. 

With tools like predictive analytics and competitive intelligence software, the task of staying on top of the market has become much more attainable. But, simply having access to these tools and leveraging them to their fullest potential are two different stories. 

Setting yourself up to actually benefit the most from those tools is actually pretty straightforward - we’ve studied and combined multiple schools-of-thought from intelligence experts, the government (yes, the government), and the work of those before us to create a framework to help you get a real action plan from studying your competitive landscape. 

Need some direction on gathering your competitive intelligence? Download our Free Guide: The Complete Guide to Market and Competitive Intelligence

Monitor, Plan, and Act

With your competitive data in one place, there are three important next steps that you should take:

  1. Track & Monitor
  2. Plan/Analyze 
  3. Act

Competitive Research into an Action Plan

Track & Monitor 

Establish and maintain a system of observation mechanisms (e.g. regular reporting and alerts) to continuously observe developments related to both competitor actions and market reactions. This allows you to continue to focus on the areas of the business that require your attention but also gives you the real-time information you need about what’s happening in your market. 

Analyze 

As you begin to receive news and relevant information about potential disruptors to your industry, you should be looking for opportunities to gather additional data and conduct in-depth analyses to fully understand and draw conclusions regarding the level of importance and priority these potential changes require. 

Act

Knowing what to do and doing it are not the same thing. With your analysis, being fed by the consistent updating of relevant intelligence, you’ll develop a set of contingency actions based on likely future scenarios in anticipation of potential competitor moves and market events. This allows you to rarely find yourself in a position that you’re surprised by a market shift or are reacting too late to a disruptor. 

 

Here, Near, and Next

Even with a consistent stream of intelligence, a solid list of potential disruptors, and buy-in from stakeholders to implement an action plan, the biggest question remains: what do I focus on first? 

This is where Here, Near & Next comes into play. Essentially, using a timeline represented by:

  • Here: This is an immediate threat to our business and we should already be responding to it
  • Near: This is a very probable thread to our business and an action plan should be defined and ready to implement 
  • Next: This has the potential to disrupt our business, the timing is unclear, but we should be monitoring the trajectory of it

As you discover new potential disruptors through your competitive intelligence monitoring, you should be asking yourself, “How relevant is this to MY company and where does it fall on the Here, Near, Next spectrum?” 

Here is an example of a 3x3 matrix Designed for a living Monitor, Plan & Act strategy: Competitive Research into an Action Plan

In this example, Company A had been monitoring industry and competitive information regarding a number of their direct and indirect competitors. They found nine different potential distributors to their business. They leveraged both their understanding of the level of impact and the probability of these changes happening to create their matrix. 

Following the mapping of their findings, they developed the plans for each of those nine different areas of interest, modeled below: 

Competitive Research into an Action Plan

You’ll see that for each of their disruptors, there is a clear Action Plan in place. Using this plan, you can now assign them, set deadlines, and build implementation plans around the ones that require immediate action.

Ready to get started on building your own matrix?

Download our 29 slide free assessment template below to get started: 

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