Competitive Strategy Report June 29, 2012

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Fletcher/CSI has conducted a number of surveys in the past year to assess what is important to the CI community. Our surveys have focused on how to make CI more effective and more relevant. We chose this angle because we’ve seen a lot of CI surveys that look at where CI is done, who owns the function and who it reports to. But what was missing was best practices, which provides the answer to how CI is done that leads to positive results. Since CI is such a broad term and it covers a range of activities, Fletcher/CSI developed a series of surveys on the subject.

So far this year, we’ve looked at how companies use Win/Loss programs, what makes for an effective CI unit, and how to leverage Trade Shows for CI advantage. The trade show survey wrapped up data collection this month, and we have close to 400 respondents. The results will be telling as to how trade shows benefit CI operations. In the next few months we’ll have a few more to introduce and then we will start repeats to track how CI is changing. While this first round of topics and the next two surveys in the works were chosen based on Fletcher/CSI capabilities, we would be happy to take suggestions from our readers for other areas to cover in future surveys.

At Fletcher/CSI, we continue to focus on primary data collection and analysis, which we see as the core of all good CI and the key enabler of effective CI analysis. Our survey findings continue to reinforce the value and benefit of primary data collection and analysis to an effective CI operation, whether it is to support Win/Loss, Trade Show Collection, competitor monitoring, or competitor deep dives. We also know that data is only as good as the analysis and recommendations that it produces. To learn more about Fletcher/CSI and our primary data collection and analysis services, please contact us directly at [email protected].

– Erik Glitman, CEO, Fletcher/CSI

Wrapping Up SCIP’s 2012 Annual Conference

SCIP (Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals) summits are excellent ways to update CI skills and knowledge while networking with peers, colleagues and gurus from all over the world. It is a vital event for competitive and strategic planning professionals. The conference sessions are highly informative and the networking opportunities are incomparable. SCIP attendees inevitably come away with useful frameworks they take back to their organizations to build upon for the coming year.
This year’s conference was held in Philadelphia on May 14-17, and allowed CI professionals to connect and gain new understanding and skills. “The SCIP conference was a great opportunity for CI practitioners and suppliers to share insights into effective ways of applying the CI skill set to problem solving,” said Erik Glitman, CEO, Fletcher/CSI. There were 703 attendees and 42 solution providers in attendance.

This 2012 conference revolved around Strategic Impact, focusing on the key themes of Strategic Intelligence & Competitive Strategy, Competitive Intelligence Analysis, CI Tools, CI Organizational Models, and Professional Growth and Active Industry Dialogues.

Competitive Intelligence: How To Work a Trade Show
Why a Trade Show is the Best Place to Gather Information
Participating in a trade show or industry conference is part of most professional careers at one point or another. It is well known that these shows are possibly the single best place to collect information about your industry and your competitors.

Typically, a trade show has three different types of people who attend: Exhibitors, Presenters and Attendees. It is no surprise that you can gather a wealth of information from the industry insiders, talkative salespeople, well-informed exhibitors and executive speakers.

What is the best way to gather the information that you need? It depends on the audience. And according to a recent article in Inc. Magazine, it depends on where you (and your team) position yourselves. After that, it’s all about listening closely, and asking the right questions.

Exhibitors need to be prepared to discern between a prospect and a competitor when giving out information. Exhibit staff tend to disclose company information freely, treating all attendees as prospects. Because not all attendees are actual prospects, staff can inadvertently disclose sensitive information.

Presenters generally require less event preparation because the speech they are giving to the event audience contains information that has already been approved by the company’s legal department and (hopefully) the competitive intelligence staff. Presenters should also be prepared to note who is questioning them and the questions themselves, and to discern whether there is a competitive motive behind the questions.

All individuals who are at the trade show as registered attendees should receive a briefing on the complete range of their company’s competitive intelligence operational goals and objectives. As such, they function as part of the event collection team and should be treated as full participants in the information collection effort.

Inc. Magazine has some helpful hints and tips for where to position yourself in each circumstance to approach trade show participants. Having a list of questions in advance so that you are prepared once you get chatting with a trade show attendee is key.

For more information on preparing for your next trade show, please read the attached articles.

Read the Inc. Magazine Article>>
Collecting CI at Tradeshows: The International Perspective>>

Conference & Trade Show  Intelligence Services
Trade Show Collection and Analysis by Fletcher/CSI Brings You:

Actionable Results — Trade shows are an ideal venue for the collection of immediately actionable tactical data, obtained directly by our analysts in face-to-face exchanges. The personal connections made at the trade show create the basis for ongoing access and follow-on questioning.

Reduced Risk and Uncertainly — Competitors frequently use trade shows to drop hints that are early warnings and indications of their moves and intentions, such as partnerships, product developments/milestones, new technologies, procedures, and marketing strategies.

Strategic Insights — Information gathered at trade shows and analyzed with Fletcher/CSI’s toolset, can feed directly into the high-level strategic decision making and resource allocation process, providing valuable insights.

Our best-in-class primary research capabilities, ethical approach, attention to detail, and commitment to shared success helps our clients win. Fletcher/CSI brings over 20 years of trade show CI collection to every event. Whether it’s working at the conference site to collect intelligence or training your team on how to identify trade show CI, Fletcher/CSI has the experience base to craft a custom program for your event, giving you a positive return on your investment and new insights on competitors. In addition, Fletcher/CSI can train your staff in trade show intelligence collection.

Using a trusted partner to support trade show intelligence efforts can increase the volume and quality of intelligence collected at trade shows. Fletcher/CSI has a proven methodology that can be applied for any effort ranging from complete organizing and quarterbacking to coverage for a single day. Our primary research expertise and ability to quickly finalize reports enables our clients to maximize the return on trade show CI.

Download 2-page Fact Sheet >>