A good competitive intelligence officer should be able to discern between the story and the truth. The most important skill that a competitive intelligence analyst and/or officer should have is always be inquisitive regarding the competitor’s product. Many times, the competition will market-specific features and functionalities that may not be entirely true when looking under the hood from a technical perspective.
There is always a “side” of how the truth is being articulated. Case-in-point, when I worked for a storage company, one of our competitors advocated an “active-active” storage array. However, when looking at the technical specifications, it really was an “Active-Passive” storage array. From a technical perspective, the secondary storage array was receiving “rolling” snapshot copies from the active storage array. So, in essence, the secondary storage array has a “copy” version of the primary storage array. This particular competitor claimed this to be an active-active storage solution.
The competitive team pointed this out and product marketing was able to articulate what a true “active-active” storage solution would look like. With active copying between the two primary and secondary arrays. If an unexperienced competitive analyst took the competitor’s marketing story on face-value, this would have been a big miss. So how do you avoid making this major pas?
Here are 3 steps to take:
- Always question what the marketing story tells you. If it says it can do something, question how it does it.
- Begin educating yourself about how this particular feature can do the function or task? Look at technical documentation to figure out how it is performed.
- Communicate and collaborate with different SME to ascertain the true origin of how a particular feature is worked.
By following these three steps, will help you identify the truth from the story.
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