Competitive Intelligence Programs: Why You Need A Hybrid Approach to CI

In a rapidly changing business landscape, it’s more important than ever to have a comprehensive and effective competitive intelligence program. But what is the best way to go about creating one?

There is no single answer to this question, as the best approach will vary depending on the specific industry, business, risks and opportunities, market, competitive landscape, and a variety of other factors. However, a hybrid approach – combining internal and external resources – is often the most effective.

What is a Hybrid Approach?

A hybrid approach to Competitive Intelligence Program (CIP) is a mix of traditional and online research methods. It typically involves the combination of both AI and human intelligence.

This type of program combines the strengths of both bespoke, in-person market research and online research to create a more comprehensive and effective competitive intelligence strategy.

The traditional research methods used in a hybrid CIP include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and data collection from public sources.

Online research methods used in hybrid competitive intelligence programs include search engine optimization (SEO), social media monitoring, and web analytics.

The advantages of using a hybrid CIP include:

  • Increased accuracy: By using a mix of research methods, you can cross-check information and get a more accurate picture of your competitor’s activities.
  • Greater coverage: A hybrid CIP gives you a wider view of your competitor’s activities, both online and offline.
  • More timely information: Online research methods can provide you with real-time information about your competitor’s activities.
  • Increased flexibility: A hybrid CIP allows you to tailor your research methods to meet your specific needs and objectives.
  • Cost-effective: A hybrid CIP can save you money by eliminating the need to hire multiple research firms or consultants.

For advanced insights-driven organizations, a hybrid approach may be the most beneficial option to give you the most comprehensive and effective competitive intelligence strategy.

The Ultimate Guide to Integrating AI into Competitive Intelligence Programs Cover Image

The Ultimate Guide to Integrating AI into Competitive Intelligence Programs

Who Should Use a Hybrid Approach and What are the Benefits?

Some of the most successful companies are those that have adopted a hybrid approach to their Competitive Intelligence (CI) Program. A hybrid CI Program uses a combination of primary and secondary research to give companies the most comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of their competitors through a joint effort between human and artificial intelligence.

So, who should use a hybrid approach in their Competitive Intelligence Program? Any company that wants to gain a competitive edge in their industry should consider adopting a hybrid CI Program. This is especially true for companies operating in fast-paced and ever-changing industries. A hybrid approach is most beneficial for enterprise businesses because the hybrid model helps filter out unnecessary noise and provides the most relevant insights to the business.

Here are four reasons why you should consider a hybrid approach to your competitive intelligence program:

  • A More Complete Picture
  • Save Time and Money
  • Benefit from Outside Expertise
  • Stay Ahead of the Curve

By constantly monitoring the competition, you’ll be able to identify threats and opportunities early on. This will allow you to make strategic decisions that will keep your business one step ahead.

A hybrid approach to competitive intelligence is the best way to ensure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition.

Challenges to Using a Technology Only Approach to Competitive Intelligence

While technology can be a powerful tool, it is not the only factor that should be considered when developing a competitive intelligence program. Here are four challenges to using a technology-only approach to competitive intelligence:

Technology can be a costly investment.

The expense of technology can be a barrier for some organizations, preventing them from reaping the full benefits of a CI program. And weak or poor-performing technology can result in a lack of content.

Technology can be complex.

The use of technology often requires specialized skills and knowledge, making it difficult for organizations to find the right employees with the necessary skills to manage a CI program. Additionally, there is no universal AI technique to manage all CI programs.

Technology can be time-consuming.

Organizations must be prepared to dedicate the necessary resources to ensure the program is successful.

Technology can be a risk.

Organizations must be aware of the potential risks and be prepared to address them, such as false positives that can appear in the data. Other risk factors include too much focus on AI vs. UX, workflows, and actionability, which can lead to a watered-down CI program.


The benefits of a hybrid CI Program are clear. First, primary research provides companies with first-hand knowledge of their competitors that they would not be able to obtain through secondary sources. This is particularly important when it comes to understanding competitors’ strategies, plans, and capabilities. Second, secondary research is essential for gathering data on a larger scale and providing context to primary findings. It is also generally more cost-effective than primary research.

Zach Hover
Marketing Coordinator Posts

Zach is the Marketing Coordinator for Insightsfirst at Evalueserve. He has previously worked in career services and politics as a communication professional and is passionate about using his voice to empower others. Outside of the office, you can catch him honing new skills such as video editing or graphic design or catching up on the latest TV and movie news. Some of Zach’s recommendations for TV include: The Vampire Diaries, 9-1-1, and Grace and Frankie.

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