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Competitive Intelligence – A Catalyst in the Product Development Process

Published on Sep 03, 2022

Over the years, brands across industries and verticals have increasingly used competitive intelligence (CI) for a sustainable and profitable product or service offering. The current marketplace is flooded with companies offering similar, if not unique, products and services. Moreover, the competitive business environment today has become increasingly uncertain and unprecedented due to shorter product lifecycles and changing demands of customers in terms of price, product specifications, packaging, and delivery.

industry and market trends

Product managers rely heavily on intel about industry and market trends, consumer needs and behavior, brand representation, and, more importantly, the move of competitors to then design and build products. Thus, predicting the right direction of your product launch roadmap always becomes a daunting task. Without it, your offering may fail soon and disappear from the shelf without giving you time to react and act. This is where competitive intelligence comes into the picture.

For companies to offer seamless and innovative product experiences, they need the quintessential capabilities of product and service innovation, market insight, strategy assessment, critical vulnerabilities, and tactical information about their own market positioning and that of competitors. CI today answers customers’ increasing demand for real-time, comprehensive, personalized, and channel-agnostic experience. 

In this article, we will focus on how Competitive Intelligence will benefit Product Teams to create product roadmaps based on competitor and customer profiles, competitors' position, and their business models to stay ahead of the curve.

1. Ideation and concept testing

Ideation and concept testing

Not only does Competitive intelligence (CI) help companies reduce the costs and risks associated with new product development, innovation, and launch, it also reveals emerging trends and highlights whitespaces and changing industry landscapes. Moreover, CI generates new opportunities for product development or innovation by providing regular and deep insights into the needs and psyche of the customers. Competitive intelligence should be a continuous process and studied closely to understand and respond effectively to consumer and competitors' moves.

During product ideation and development, CI can provide essential information about different development phases such as competitors' products, patents, technologies under development, market and sector information, and more. This will assist the design and development of a new product/service with specific techno-functional capabilities.

Media and the market often tell a different story about brand visibility and consumer perception. As a result, products or services fail due to consumer interest, poor market fit, incorrect pricing, and poor execution. A business can better predict consumer behavior and taste across business domains with gleaned testing assumptions across data aggregation, synthesis, and action. Proper concept testing and testing assumptions would help product owners understand consumer behaviors and the commercial viability of products and services.

2. Development prioritization

Product managers often feel pressured by marketing and sales professionals to prioritize certain features over others. Instead of arguing over instinct, product managers can rely on competitive intelligence as the rationale for key forward actions. Solid customer feedback combined with market intelligence can help product managers develop solid roadmaps. Without proper CI, product managers are often prone to pursue an outdated strategy or be undermined by competition.

Developing new features is crucial and paramount for any product-based company. But which features to prioritize is always tricky for project managers to answer. Thankfully, competitive intelligence assists in identifying signals and help convert them into coherent information to prioritize the most promising features in the development cycle. CI can help categorize new product features and enhancements into similar themes based on your ideal customer profile (ICP), thus aligning your feature development with your product vision.

3. Mapping your Competitive Positioning

Competitive Positioning

Competitive Positioning is one element of CI that is often overlooked. Most companies fail to build competitive advantages and destroy competitors' advantages. In the current hyper-competitive market, brands should quickly migrate from one competitive position to another, build new ones, depreciate old ones, and match their own competitive position with that of competitors. 

Competitive Positioning develops your ability to think strategically, analyze the competitive environment, and value creation with methods like operational excellence, product leadership, and customer intimacy. An effective competitive intelligence can support your positioning strategy with inputs for brand differentiation, Product/Brand Awareness and Reputation, price-benefit positioning maps, and most importantly, the total market size and opportunity. A good positioning strategy would mean half the battle and requires careful evaluation of your competitive advantage and products’ unique selling proposition (USP) to build a product portfolio that can meet current and emerging market needs.

4. Commercialization

Commercialization without effective competitive intelligence is like a body without a soul. Many companies launch various products but successfully commercialize only a few of them. A mature commercialization plan will help organizations deploy lean innovation components at every stage of the product development lifecycle, such as design thinking, best practices, and agile methodology. CI provides a holistic overview that clearly states how closely the product launched aligns with your core business value and strategic directions required for an effective commercialization action plan.

Commercialization paves the way for the company to set out advertising and promotional planning of the product by providing information and other intel about partners, advertisers, and sponsors. Establishing credibility and awareness would help disseminate key messages across channels to motivate purchases from your brand. 


Competitive Intelligence is an invaluable process for any product development and execution exercise. When formulated, conducted, and exercised, it would enhance your operations workflow and unearth several vital competitive insights. CI isn't just important because of what it offers companies. Digital technologies, technological breakthroughs, and a plethora of intel across the web have made the market more competitive and agile. Due to this, CI is now used not just as an instrument to tackle competition but also as a tool to defend oneself from them.

The amalgamation of technology and the AI-powered iNava Competitive Intelligence tool can give you a real-time and comprehensive picture of the competitive market landscape by delivering insights from various online sources.

Want to know more about how iNava Competitive Intelligence Platform can help you? Connect with the iNava team.