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A Hodgepodge of Anecdotes
on July 14, 2006
"The Secret Language of Competitive Intelligence" consists of the usual assembly of anecdotes, accompanied by no clear credible means of assimilating intelligence or proceeding.
One example, in particular, struck a chord - AT&T's entry into the credit-card business, summarized by "Why should AT&T not enter the credit-card industry?" One reason might be because it subsequently withdrew - I had such a card, and it was canceled by Citi Card because the free phone privileges were too expensive. Regardless, clearly Fuld had drifted off-course - deciding to enter the credit-card business is a strategic, not a competitive-intelligence gathering issue.
Fuld notwithstanding, I still think the best path to competitive intelligence is to keep abrest of the business literature (not just your own industry - sometimes innovations in other areas can be applied into one's own; use the Internet, business conferences, and business magazines), interview applicants from competitor companies, ask your most alert customers what they'd like to see and what they're looking forward to (from anyone), and similarly inquire of your best suppliers regarding new innovations they are planning or aware of.
In addition, periodically ask yourself/associates, "What if . . .?" (Eg. Macy's, Nordstroms, etc. should be wondering "What if Wal-Mart started selling up-market clothes?" This is particularly important because it's no secret that they are planning to do so, and this could decimate high-market department stores. So, how are they likely to start, who knows what, etc.
Finally, regardless of source, keep the information in a handy notebook, grouped in some useful manner. (P.S. There is no "secret" language of competitive intelligence.)
Hopefully this review saved you $15.72, plus shipping and the time wasted reading a boring 320 pages.