Strategic Intelligence

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by Yvonne Baatz (Editor)
If  I asked to name one technique for gathering intelligence on customer requirements, marketplace needs and competitors, win-loss analysis would be at the top of the list. Effective win-loss analysis can tell you why customers choose you in preference to competitors or vice versa – and so allow you to tailor your product development, pricing and sales strategies to maximise customer purchase. Ellen Naylor is known as the foremost expert on the technique and this book tells you what to do and what to avoid – so that you get it right.

Marc Levinson, author.
In April 1956, a refitted oil tanker carried fifty-eight shipping containers from Newark to Houston. From that modest beginning, container shipping developed into a huge industry that made the boom in global trade possible. The Box tells the dramatic story of the container's creation, the decade of struggle before it was widely adopted, and the sweeping economic consequences of the sharp fall in transportation costs that containerization brought about.
Published on the fiftieth anniversary of the first container voyage, this is the first comprehensive history of the shipping container. It recounts how the drive and imagination of an iconoclastic entrepreneur, Malcom McLean, turned containerization from an impractical idea into a massive industry that slashed the cost of transporting goods around the world and made the boom in global trade possible.
But the container didn't just happen. Its adoption required huge sums of money, both from private investors and from ports that aspired to be on the leading edge of a new technology. It required years of high-stakes bargaining with two of the titans of organized labor, Harry Bridges and Teddy Gleason, as well as delicate negotiations on standards that made it possible for almost any container to travel on any truck or train or ship. Ultimately, it took McLean's success in supplying U.S. forces in Vietnam to persuade the world of the container's potential.
Drawing on previously neglected sources, economist Marc Levinson shows how the container transformed economic geography, devastating traditional ports such as New York and London and fueling the growth of previously obscure ones, such as Oakland. By making shipping so cheap that industry could locate factories far from its customers, the container paved the way for Asia to become the world's workshop and brought consumers a previously unimaginable variety of low-cost products from around the globe.
The book about the history of the shipping container? At first, one has to
wonder why. (An eventuality not lost on the author, who muses "What is
it about the container that is so important? Surely not the thing
itself...the standard container has all the romance of a tin can.") The
catch, though, is that Levinson, an economist, "treats containerization
not as shipping news, but as a development that has sweeping
consequences for workers and consumers all around the globe." That
latter statement drives this book, which is about the economic
ramifications of the shipping container-from the closing of traditional
(and antiquated) ports to the rise of Asia as the world's preeminent
provider of inexpensive consumer goods (distributed, naturally, using
mammoth shipping containers). Levinson maintains his focus on the
economics of shipping vast quantities of merchandise, organizing the
book into snappy, thematic chapters on different facets of shipping
("The Trucker," and "Union Disunion," for instance), an approach that
lends itself well to spot-reading. Throughout, the writing is clean-more
informal than rigidly academic (union boss Teddy Gleason is "a voluble
Irishman born hard by the New York docks")-making the book suitable for
casual readers as well as students looking for a different take on the
evolution of 20th-century world economics.

Kirk W M Tyson
As the title suggests, Kirk Tyson’s book aims to be a comprehensive manual to competitive intelligence techniques. Although there have been, so far, 5 editions of this book, it is expensive although well worth the money as it covers the topic in depth. Although each edition was updated, the older editions are still mostly valid as as an initial primer to competitive intelligence. The SCIP edition was a special update at a lower price.


Written by Deborah C. Sawyer Reviewed by Arthur Weiss The front cover of "Smart Services" includes a quote from Andrew Garvin, the CEO of Find/SVP saying: "Finally a book that nails down what every service business needs to know about competition and competitive intelligence. 'Smart Services' offers competitive information strategies that firms can put to immediate use." I wanted to stop this review here, as I don't think that I could have given a better summary and description of this excellent book. However my brief for doing this review included an approximate word count, and I'm not brave enough to upset the Free Pint management by not adding a few words of my own. Smart Services is divided into three parts, of which the first, "The Competitive Landscape", and the second, "The Competitive Issues", occupy the bulk of the book. The final part, "The Competitive Game", summarises the previous sections with suggestions on ways of implementing the advice and processes described in the first two sections. "The Competitive Landscape" gives a comprehensive description of where competition can come from for a service business. The section describes the challenges facing service businesses and the types of competition faced. Of importance, the book does not just focus on traditional competitors but includes discussion on competition from service businesses that appear to be in completely different sectors, government and internal competition, and other types of indirect competition. This section is also good on how problems facing service businesses differ from those offering tangible products. The second section looks at the issues of collecting information on competitors, with chapters on how to find out who is competing, competitor strategies, sales and marketing, assessing performance and looking at who actually runs the competitor business. As with the first section, the end of each chapter includes a brief summary giving the key points mentioned in the chapter as well as suggestions on how information gathered can be fed back and used in company strategies and action plans. This is key, as there is no point collecting information on competitors that is ignored or filed away "for later"; such information is not competitive intelligence, as it has no impact on company actions. Having said all this, was there anything about this book I disliked? I have to answer yes - reluctantly, as my dislikes are fairly minor, and possibly reflect the fact that I am not new to CI or to service businesses. My first complaint is that the examples in the book are almost entirely from the USA or Canada. All suggested sources for information except one (the European Case Study clearinghouse at Cranfield - a unique global source) are North American. Thus the book cannot be used for specific advice on business sources outside the US and Canada. This is a minor quibble though, as the book does not claim to be a guide to sources. A second complaint is actually addressed in the book's introduction. Sawyer states, "the book is very light on models". I believe that this was a mistake, as there are analysis tools that can and should be used when examining service businesses. Good CI involves knowing how to interpret information just as much as finding and collecting it. I think that several chapters would have benefited from more examination of how to interpret available information and less discussion of the problems involved in doing CI on service businesses. However maybe I'm unfair in expecting this in a book that does cover so much in just over 200 pages.

John Nolan
John Nolan is a master at uncovering competitive intelligence from primary sources. Nolan shows some of his techniques – who to ask, what to ask, when to ask and how to ask. An essential book on how to get intelligence through interviewing and elicitation and also how to protect your organisation’s intelligence secrets. It shows how to legally obtain competitor business secrets without crossing the line into industrial espionage and illegality.

Jerry P Miller
Millennium Intelligence is a "how-to" type book on Competitive Intelligence (CI) written by some of the leading figures in the CI world. Unfortunately, the problem with any book written by a committee (even one that calls itself a Business Intelligence Brainstrust) is that it becomes a hotchpotch of different styles and quality. Some of Millennium Intelligence is excellent ­ and well worth reading; other chapters, however, are too academic for the average business reader while a few sections are too basic except for novices to the subject. This may be intentional as in the Introduction, Jerry Miller the book's editor, states "I don't presume that you'll read the entire book. I've organised the material so you can poke through it, reading the sections that are of most concern to you". Nevertheless, I found the inconsistencies in both style and depth of content irritating. For example, some chapters conclude with a summary of the major points covered ­ others just stop. Then, there are chapters that go into tremendous detail ­ citing several research studies, while others only scratched the surface of their subject or gave, in my view, inadequate explanation of key techniques. Additionally, there is a strong US bias ­ most examples and case studies focus on American companies. The book's subtitle implies that its focus will be on aspects of competitive intelligence that are applicable for a wired world. Indeed, about a third of the book covers such areas in depth ­ with sections on information technology for CI, knowledge management and information resources. These, and related areas, are also mentioned elsewhere in the book as relevant. The remainder, however, correctly covers traditional approaches ­ starting with an analysis of the structural, cultural and educational requirements for successful CI. Other sections look at legal and ethical considerations, analysis techniques, counter intelligence and small business intelligence. As such, Millennium Intelligence provides a comprehensive coverage of the various aspects of competitive intelligence practices and processes today. In this, it is a useful addition to the literature, especially for those who want or need to know more about establishing efficient and effective CI in their organisations. It is just a shame that there was not a greater consistency in the coverage and a more global approach to the subject.

Meet The Team
  1. Jennifer Roberts
    Jennifer Roberts, PhD. She currently serves as the Managing Director for National Strategic Intelligence, where she is primarily responsible for covering global affairs and opportunities. Jennifer started her career as nuclear proliferation and arms control analyst.
  2. Jason Parker
    Jason Parker is the founder and president of Strategic Intelligence and cofounder of the Competitive Intelligence Section. His articles have been published in leading publications.
  3. Jonquil Wu
    Jonquil Wu is one of the world's leading authorities on competitive strategy and international competitiveness. He serves as an advisor to CEOs throughout the world.
Testimonials
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    I wanted to express my appreciation for all of your recent help. My business has gotten more clearly defined and I am presenting myself more professionally online. I’ve recently rewritten my website and it also has a new look. I’ve integrated it with my blog on WordPress. There was a short article in today’s Asbury Park Press that has already generated some interest. Thanks again for helping me make some significant steps in the right direction. — Jamie Sussel Turner, M.Ed., ACC, Leadership & Communication Coach Working with Loraine in the marketing arena has been a very positive and pleasurable experience both for Aujas, our company that she works with, and me personally. Loraine has a fantastic ability to understand our line of business, a global company, and deliver the proper message for prospects and client alike. When we opened our doors in the US over one year ago, Loraine helped us position Aujas in a very noisy environment. She exceeded our expectations and the word got out that Aujas is an important provider in the information risk space. In addition Loraine has a very solid understanding of social media landscape and has helped us tremendously in that area as well. If you are thinking of using a marketing professional, no need to look any further. I recommend Loraine without any reservations. — Karl Kispert, Vice President, Business Development, Aujas Loraine worked with me when I was the CEO of a start-up and she understood our needs very well and built a two-pronged marketing strategy for us with the right mix of short and long term goals. She works well with the strengths and limitations of her client organizations. Loraine’s expertise helped scale our marketing from ground up and produced great results. I would love to work with Loraine again. — Nitin Kumar, iCEO, CITM, CMAA, CMC Loraine is a resource one can count on. She helped me in our marketing strategy and implementation covering our website, social media and print. She understands the consulting business and brings those insights in formulating practical solutions and plans. One can only have positive results working with Loraine. — Don McDermott, CEO, McDermott and Associates [As Executive Editor of the IMC USA Connector] Loraine demonstrates deep expertise and unique insights to balance expectations of a constituency (e.g., readership), with service aspirations of an organization and authorial ability. Whether considering long-term content trends, or short-term article deadlines, Loraine has a sound grasp and commanding vision. She excels at facilitating and delivering crisp, efficient and on-the-mark messages in a timely, economical manner. Thoughtful and purposeful, she is an ideal Editor. — Rick Hubbard, CMC, PMP, CSM I’ve gone through the other regions’ websites and I am absolutely positive ours sets a new standard for excellence. It is professional, easy to navigate, informative…Terrific! All the feedback I’ve gotten has been enthusiastically positive. — Randy Schaeffer, Regional Director, New York City/ New Jersey FIRST I appreciate how you keep digging and sending me additional ideas. I like where you are headed and how you ask important questions that keep us focused on the most important message. You have the ability to take truckloads of seemingly unconnected information (mine) and help solidify and fine tune the message for the marketplace (including the identification of the marketplace). — Mike Martorella, founder, MMI Communication I have been awarded two more contracts. The SBIR Phase II was awarded to us in July 2004 and the SBIR Phase I in November, 2005… We wouldn’t have been able to receive these awards without your assistance from the beginning. I hope to have another opportunity to work together with you in the near future. — Jaean Jung, Vice President, Access Bio Thank you again for the great branding study you’ve completed on our behalf. It is clear from recent staff correspondence that you have raised our brand awareness to an all-time high and have “primed” us for development of a new marketing plan. Mission accomplished! — Alyson Miller-Greenfield, Associate State Director, New Jersey Small Business Development Center As part of the process of updating our website and marketing materials, Pacesetter Management Consulting engaged Loraine Kasprzak of Advantage Marketing & Associates to work with our clients to develop testimonials that supported our brand message. Given the nature of the assignment, we trusted Loraine with some very sensitive client relationships and she treated them very professionally. As a result of her efforts, our website and marketing materials will be significantly strengthened. However, we also experienced another benefit from the process that we hadn’t really expected — the testimonial process she designed has helped us to enhance our current client relationships. In particular, the results of the interviews she conducted gave us new insight into what our clients perceived were the benefits of working with Pacesetter and some areas where we could improve. I would certainly recommend Advantage Marketing to those who need an experienced consultant to execute marketing tactics effectively. — Michael Hierl, President, Pacesetter Management Consulting …As president of Monarch Electric Company, I would like to thank you for the excellent work you have done for my company over the past year and a half. In working with us to set up our first marketing department, you gave us your expertise on a wide variety of marketing issues we faced, from strategy development to implementation projects. You helped us move along the learning curve so much faster! I personally appreciated your helping me clarify my thinking on the direction of our electrical distributorship and what we need to do to get to the next level. I benefited from your keen sense of realism and your ability to apply your education and experience to our company’s real life challenges. — Steven M. Perlman, President, Monarch Electric Company …We have had three excellent experiences with Loraine beginning in 2001 with two large projects, and a small one done very recently. In 2001 Loraine played a very important role in helping our state incubation association develop a CD ROM-based promotional program which introduced business incubation and our NJ incubators to various constituencies. She was brought in after we had had a bad start with an original supplier and quickly identified another group who could handle the Flash-based technology as well as having experience in producing AV programs. Loraine acted as both a project manager, coordinating this new AV supplier with us at the EDC, as well as acting as a copy writer of the AV script. Her experience in writing sales oriented copy was very valuable, not to mention her direct, no wasted effort approach to getting things done on time and on budget. Loraine helped the EDC develop our new “green” brochure. She took a ton of EDC/NJIT information we gave her and reduced it down to an understandable, clean summary selling the benefits of the EDC program for new start-up companies. She also managed the graphic component, bringing in an individual who worked very well with all of us. Recently Loraine helped us produce an ad promoting the availability of the new EDC III incubator building. Overall we are very satisfied with the work Loraine has done for us. — Louis Gaburo, Assistant Director, NJIT Enterprise Development Center Here are some testimonials for our work. “Growth Nation helped B2B CFO® create a strong messaging platform needed for our next round of growth. Our firm highly recommends the services of Growth Nation.” Jerry L. Mills – Founder and CEO, B2B CFO® “We began working with Growth Nation in 2010 to help develop brand positioning and growth planning for Real Time Optical. That helped us deliver a strong pitch to investors and sharpened our market approach to attract new global customers. Since then we’ve been using the growth services of Growth Nation in 5 more related companies, and that has been instrumental in accelerating growth. Their team is creative, professional and flexible – working well with us from strategy through execution. 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I highly recommend Growth Nation to any company that is looking to grow their business.” Scott Klopfenstein – Director, PADT Medical “He has an extremely rare combination of skills and abilities that allows very thoughtful and practical strategic and marketing direction for firms at all levels of maturity.” Brad Tritle – Director of Strategic Initiatives, State of Arizona “A true project leader, taking complex projects, assembling powerful teams and making things happen.” Pascal Ferrandez – Director, DuPont Company “They’ve gone way above our expectations. 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I would recommend Growth Nation to any company that is initiating a market campaign and needs branding, differentiation, market clarification, and strategic guidance.” Mark Johnson – Partner, Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies “Growth Nation worked with our team to develop a strong regional brand positioning and marketing plan to attract more clients, counselors, sponsors and community connections. The marketing and growth services of Growth Nation are highly recommended to grow your organization.” Charlie Higgins – Chairperson of Southern Arizona SCORE “A great market analyst and marketing strategist. Working for big companies in different countries gave him an international perception and a structure-centered view. Working with him is a pleasure – even over a such a big distance (USA – Germany).” Klaus Schube - Owner, K.S. Marketing- & Werbeberatung “I am honored to know Doug and call him my friend and colleague. 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