In early October Fletcher/CSI sponsored and attended the second annual Competitive Marketing Summit in Denver, CO. The event attracted many leading hardware, software, and solutions providers, like Google, LinkedIn, and Dell.
1. Opportunity lies in Identifying CI Best Practices
Competitive Intelligence is critically important within the technology space, but most of the attendees at the Summit have Product Marketing roles in which CI is only a small part of their overall responsibilities. To drive the greatest ROI, Product Marketers need to identify and leverage CI best practices.
2. Speak the Same Language
The keynote addressed the challenges Tech companies face in truly becoming insight-driven organizations. A recent study (cited in the keynote) described that less than half of company decisions are based on quantitative data – most decisions are still based on instinct or non-quantifiable information. So, the key for CI professionals is to “speak the same language” as executives. If valuable intelligence is collected but not properly communicated to decision makers, it’s not really valuable intelligence.
3. Need for Speed
Fletcher/CSI introduced a session on the “need for speed” within the Tech sector. It’s clear that elements like product development and go-to-market strategies in Tech have much shorter life cycles and much different CI requirements. (One presenter even commented that nothing his team produces for sales support is more than 3 months old.) One of the ways to meet the speed requirements in Tech is by utilizing more DIY research tools. Rather than waiting weeks or even months for market research results, companies can use DIY tools to get results in days or even hours.
4. Using Segmentation to Drive Competition
Companies that can effectively identify unique customer segments with unique characteristics can create more relevant product marketing strategies and value propositions. Effective CI can further optimize segmentation by allowing product marketers to understand competitor segments and build truly differentiated experiences.
Notable Presentation Topics:
1. Best Practices around Trade-Show Intelligence gathering.
Trade shows are a uniquely valuable venue for collecting competitive intelligence.
2. Leveraging third party testing to validate claims.
Using a recognized, independent third party can be a powerful way to demonstrate unique benefits.
3. The Value CI Brings to Sales Organizations
Several sessions focused on the value CI brings to the sales organization. Win/Loss analysis can clearly benefit sales by providing unique customer and competitor insights with both “deal” level and strategic views. CI can also support sales with tools ranging from battle cards to CI dashboards. Higher win rates and more effective customer engagements are two ways to measure CI’s ROI.
The Competitive Marketing Summit is an important event for those with CI responsibilities in the Technology space. Many tips of the trade were shared, and the solution providers who sponsored the event offered important capabilities to support CI activities and drive success. Fletcher/CSI, which has been supporting the CI needs of Tech firms for over 30 years, is at the forefront of innovation and expertise in Tech CI.
Author: Chad Stimson, COO Fletcher/CSI