Competitive Intelligence Definition

Competitive intelligence is  defined as“The analytical and intellectual process that transforms disaggregated market, customer, competitor, supplier, technology, and other key competitive data, information and knowledge into usable, actionable intelligence to the key decision-makers. Focus is the key driver of change. The aim is future-oriented,” by Joseph H. A. M. Rodenberg, in his book, Competitive Intelligence, and Senior Management.

Companies perform competitive intelligence by gathering and analyzing information collected about the industry, market, business environment, products, and competitors.

Competitive intelligence is conducted using data from various sources such as interviews, surveys, news, online forums, and social media conversations. 

Competitive Intelligence Advantages

1. Product information:

Competitive intelligence gives enough information about what consumers are saying about different products on social media. Using this information, your company can design a product that satisfies most of the expectations of consumers.  

2. Sales Opportunity: 

Competitive intelligence is the best tool that can spot possible sales opportunities. When competitive intelligence highlights negative mentions about a competitor’s product, it is a massive opportunity for you to pitch your product by contacting them and engaging them in a conversation.  

3. Marketing:

With the help of competitive intelligence, companies can easily track social media for various metrics such as follower count, engagement levels, marketing campaigns, and much more. Competitive intelligence also throws light on competitors’ audience when a customer mentions a competitor on social media. With this data, you can define your target audience. 

Competitive Intelligence Example


Canon, the Japanese copier manufacturer, entered the US market in the 1980s. Canon was flooding the US market with a copier, which was way too less in cost when compared to Xerox. This was when Xerox decided to conduct a competitive analysis!! 

Xerox sent a sample of Canon products to its Japanese distributor, asking them to come back with the prices of all the parts. To their surprise, Xerox learned that Canon had come up with innovative ways to build and assemble the components in a copier, for example, use two screws in place of four or six that Xerox was using. Xerox consolidated all such information, and the result was astonishing. It showed that Canon could, in fact, make a profit at that price!! 

Xerox realized that its beliefs about its competitor, Canon, in the desktop copier business were completely wrong. This is a classic case and an interesting lesson to ensure that a company understands what their competitors are doing, as opposed to just simply thinking that they understand.