What Is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive intelligence training develops skills that are at the core of managing in a competitive setting.

It is obvious that if your business is affected by the uncertainty of external competitive forces and challenges, you need competitive intelligence training.

But what about market research or business research managers? Can they do their jobs without some foundation in competitive intelligence? How about managers whose job description includes competing? Or planners who are tasked with planning in a competitive setting, where plans require understanding the responses of third parties? And can marketers, brand managers, and product managers design an effective strategy for a product, a new product launch, a brand revival, or brand defense without true insight – not wishful thinking – about competitive dynamics?

Most managers are knowledgeable about the basic techniques of business. The majority have higher education. But college textbooks do not teach “street smarts.” MBA programs do not teach you how to figure out what your competitors are going to do to your beautiful plans once you try and execute them. Many seasoned salespeople, experienced in gathering bits and pieces about the competition, are clueless about what to do with that information or how to filter out “white noise” and gain a true insight into the working of their market. Competitive intelligence training is for everyone who competes.

Competitive intelligence training develops skills that are at the core of managing in a competitive setting.

The Academy of Competitive Intelligence believes that competitive intelligence training brings both rigor and boundaries to those in charge of competitive intelligence. We are proud of our graduates, who are in charge of the majority of CI units in the Fortune 500. But many of the participants in our competitive intelligence training come from functions where their jobs require some skill in interpreting competitive events, and not necessarily a certification as CIP® (Competitive Intelligence Professional). Without the ability to understand field intelligence and the power of intelligence analysis, managers operate in the blind.

Our credentials are unique in the field. In two articles from 2001 and 2003, our leading faculty, Ben Gilad and Jan Herring defined the scope, goals and standards of competitive intelligence training. “CI Education Harvard Style”, Competitive Intelligence Magazine, July-August 2003 Vol. 6, Number 3, and “CI Certification do we need it?” Competitive Intelligence Magazine, March-April 2001 Vol. 4, Number 2. Unlike academic disciplines, they argue, competitive intelligence is an art as much as a science and experience shows that academic attempts to teach it in a university setting are bound to fail. Companies want their people, already with industry knowledge, to gain leading-edge practical knowledge of CI techniques and tools from experts with real-world experience. This is not a field where 20-year-olds can walk in with an edge – competitive intelligence training adds a crucial component to managers with a track record and an understanding of the realities of business.

When was the last time a conference, where pay-to-play vendors present PowerPoint selling points, changed your life? We will!