Edited by Gary L. Lilien and Rajdeep Grewal
Chapter 9: Competitor Intelligence: Enabling B2B Marketing Strategy
Liam Fahey Every B2B marketing strategy, no matter how brilliantly conceived or exquisitely executed, sooner or later faces the ultimate marketplace reality: can it withstand (and survive) the direct assault of rivals? Given the pace of change in and around B2B market spaces, it is increasingly sooner rather than later that rivals take aim at a winning strategy. The depressing irony in competitive strategy is that the more successful a strategy, the more it becomes a target for rivals. They see the marketplace opportunity inherent in the strategy; they conjure marketplace approaches (strategies) to garner a portion of that opportunity, often extending the scope and scale of the base opportunity. Thus, in any B2B market space, strategy is not just about attracting, winning and retaining customers; it must also be about outwitting, outmaneuvering and outperforming current and potential rivals. The latter requires competitor intelligence, that is, insight into competitors’ current and potential strategies; not just what their strategies are or may be but why they pursue (or do not pursue) specific strategy options. In short, competitor intelligence is nothing short of critical to determining B2B marketing strategy content and preferred execution modes. The goals of this chapter are fourfold: first, to define and describe the domain, scope and intent of competitor intelligence – what it is and what it is not; second, to illustrate how and why intelligence, as an understanding of competitors’ current and potential strategies, is fundamental to designing and executing strategies that generate superior marketplace and financial returns;...
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