Your competitive intelligence budget has been cut in half. That sales rep who always provided good field intelligence? Laid off. Your counterpart in IT just said that the CI database you’ve been asking for is not going to happen this year due to a lack of funds. Yet, the urgent requests for insights on the implications of your competitor’s next product introduction aren’t going away. What’s a CI manager to do?
Fortunately, there are tried and true CI tactics that are perhaps more important now than ever before.
* Internal human source networks. platform executive reports Any CI function worth its salt needs a robust human source network to receive unique insights into competitor and marketplace activities and trends. Internal networks cost nothing more than your own hard work to develop and maintain them. One word of caution; with layoffs, those employees who remain are more pressed for time. Make sure their participation in your network is worth their while.
* Local networking with other CI professionals. Chances are, you live within spitting distance of a Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) chapter. Most chapters regularly offer presentations by CI thought leaders, networking opportunities, and unique training sessions, with registration fees typically between $25 and $35 for members, and a bit more for non-members. And, since chapters meet locally, you can attend without running afoul of your company’s new travel restrictions policy.
* Low-cost information resources. Information is a commodity, and costs for published-source information have dropped dramatically. Although most in-depth company information is not available for free, several services now provide low-cost company and industry reports. In particular, check out 10KWizard, BizJournals.com, and High Beam. And the New York Public Library offers a free online course “Prospecting for Business Information”
While an effective CI program cannot be run on the cheap forever, some resourcefulness and creativity today can position your CI efforts for long-term success.