Taren Grom, Editor
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Letter From The Editor According to Cutting Edge Information’s study, 88% of surveyed companies’ market-research teams were involved in collecting and analyzing competitive intelligence. Companies across multiple industries are recognizing the overlap between market research and competitive intelligence and combining the two functions. According to Cutting Edge Information, some experts argue that market research is just another form of competitive intelligence. While the jury may still be out on this strategy’s effectiveness, in the meantime market-research groups have been turning their attention toward collecting and analyzing competitive intelligence to support specific product goals. Within the pharmaceutical industry, between 1998 and 2001, almost every major company enhanced its competitive intelligence function by allocating more resources. And competitive intelligence departments are receiving praise for making a major strategic impact. Both competitive intelligence and market research have undergone a strategic rebirth in corporate America. Companies have made concerted efforts to form strategic competitive intelligence teams. Some have found success and others have not, says Elio Evangelista, a senior analyst at Cutting Edge Information. “Competitive intelligence functions benefit when aligned with market research because they remain efficient and produce valuable analysis,” Mr. Evangelista says. “Combining competitive intelligence with market research strengthens strategic planning as companies invest more in their data gathering and analysis competencies. Pharmaceutical companies, for example, have been steadily increasing their competitive intelligence capabilities over the last three years. In doing so, market research has played a greater role in coordinating with competitive intelligence activities. Because the two functions seemingly go hand in hand, it is not uncommon to see the two housed under the same organization within a company.” “Competitive intelligence is part and parcel of what we have to do to understand the marketplace,” says Richard Daly, senior VP of marketing at Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc. “Competitive intelligence is one of the three core parts of life-cycle management. The first element is message; what do we want to tell the markets? The second is the science that backs up that message. And the third part is competitive intelligence, which looks at what’s happening in the marketplace and how we are positioning ourselves.” As competitive intelligence continues to be better integrated with other information resources that a company has at its disposal, such as primary market research, secondary data research, and epidemiological information, according to Bart Weiner, president of V2 GfK, companies can achieve a more holistic view of the market and anticipate what might happen. “The trend also is to track the science and not just a specific product, especially if several companies are developing products for a particular condition in the same time frame,” he says. Christopher Bogan, president, CEO, and founder of Best Practices LLC, says there is a much broader set of sources of competitive intelligence available than some people acknowledge or recognize. “Companies can gather information from customers, suppliers, public records, observations, trade shows, the Internet, secondary research, former employees, incoming employees, and salesforces, to name a few fertile areas,” he says. “They have to build a listening network to capture and harvest information from all of those sources.” Taren Grom Editor Christopher Bogan Companies have to build a listening network to capture and harvest information from all available sources.