To be truly strategic companies need to move beyond the standard practice of benchmarking themselves against the competition and really look at what might come next in terms of market, product, and technology advancements. Evalueserve’s Anticipate the Competitor framework elevates our client’s strategic planning process by moving from a tactical snapshot, over to a deep understanding of the competition for more informed strategy development.
Why should companies Anticipate the Competitor?
Once per year companies go through their strategic planning cycle making those critical decisions on where to spend their budget for the next 12 to 24 months and beyond.
As part of that process companies will compare themselves to their competitors and ‘benchmark’ either their products, technologies, business models or their IP.
A common error in this approach is mistaking tactical benchmarking with strategic understanding. This occurs when companies take a ‘snapshot’ of competitor activity but then fail to move beyond this is either through a lack of resource, understanding or analytical capability. Additionally, companies also are often operating in silos where they have technical data and business data collected but fail to bring them together to get the bigger picture.
For more informed strategic planning, companies need to move beyond tactical benchmarking and spend more time to get a comprehensive picture of the competitor across several aspects.
See how the Evalueserve CPG team provides a rich competitor analysis and transfers the data to strategic planning
Phase 1 - Gather information
The Evalueserve approach takes in as many sources as possible. These sources range from the familiar, e.g., patents, to less obvious places to give our analysis as much data available.
During one project for a global food and beverage company Evalueserve looked at local planning applications in the United Kingdom. This revealed what the target company in question was going to do in terms of plant expansion right down to the number of production lines and enabled us to make an estimation of the additional capacity being added.
Another potentially valuable source of information is social media, more specifically LinkedIn. Whether people care to admit it or not they use platforms such as LinkedIn to showcase their talent, abilities, and achievements. Sometimes this can turn out to be a gold mine of information e.g., during one project we were able to uncover the cost, team size, timeline, and success factors for a significant competitor project. As a side note companies should really provide guidance to their employees on this.
Phase 2 – Segment the data
By segmenting the data, we can identify core technologies, practices, and models; and those elements which truly differentiate the target company from our clients.
This segmented data provides a robust foundation from which we run our Anticipation framework.
Phase 3 - Anticipate the Competitor
Once we have segmented the data, we begin our prediction phase. By leveraging their domain knowledge our experts derive the potential next steps for competitors. Then using our internal frameworks these are reduced to the most likely outcomes for any technology or market.
Step 4 – Plan the response
To provide actionable insights to our clients we run a wargaming exercise in conjunction with key stakeholders from their organisation.
Using the outputs from the Anticipate the Competitor phase we work with the client to formulate a number off potential responses to each target company activity.
For example, our client was the first to market with an intelligent solution in their product space and they had enjoyed a long period of first mover advantage. Our prediction phase showed that the competitor would launch their own smart solution. The output of our wargaming this scenario was the client should run a focused marketing campaign to reinforce and raise consumer awareness of their intelligent solution and maximise their first mover advantage.
Step 5 – Validate and Adjust
Like any strategic process the output must be verified and adjusted at regular intervals to ensure a) to maintain relevancy and b) to allow the client to make any corrections to their own strategy. The minimum interval for this should be 12 months to align with the strategic planning process but can be done as frequently as every 6 months.