04 Aug 11 The perfect gift
All of us have received gifts at some time or the other – on birthdays perhaps? All gifts are fun to open, but once in a while we have received something that was exactly what we wanted – the perfect gift. And that gift stood above all others – how could the giver possibly have known exactly want we wanted?
Competitive intelligence is that perfect gift!
I was invited to speak at the CI conference in Ahmedabad organised by 360 degree events recently. One of the speakers – Mr Murali Parthasarthy gave the “perfect gift” analogy. As far as I was concerned, it absolutely hit the bull’s-eye.
Like most birthday gifts, outputs produced by competitive intelligence analysts, despite the hard work that goes into them, are often at best, “nice to have”, and at worst, not useful at all. Once in a while they hit a sweet spot with the decision makers and provide the perfect inputs for the next decision.
How can CI analysts hit the bull’s-eye consistently every single time?
By asking the right questions before starting any CI research every single time. Here are some of the “right questions” to ask:
- How does the CI fit into the overall company objectives?
In other words, the rationale why the current CI need arose in the first place.
- Who is the CI output meant for?
Functions/ decision makers who will use the intelligence for decision making.
- What is the objective of the intelligence? / How will the output be used? What decisions of the users will be influenced by the intelligence findings?
The intended practical use of the intelligence gathered
- What is the current hypothesis/ conjecture/ level of information that the users have on the intelligence topic at hand?
The gut-feel of the decision-makers, if any, which they want to verify or test.
- What are the key questions that the users need answers to?
Specific insights that will help the users with their decisions
- What are the boundaries of the current need?
Scope in terms of products, geographies, customer segments, etc.
Just as giving some thought to the likes, dislikes, tastes, hobbies etc of the receiver enables you to find the perfect gift, having answers to the above questions, helps you create the perfect CI output.
Are there any other sure shot ways of consistently giving perfect gifts in CI?