Strategic Intelligence

High Performance  Specialists


Today, competitive information is more readily available than ever before. You can find endless information online in an instant. Yet the information that is most valuable to you and your business cannot be found on a Google search.  Acquiring this information requires a lot more intelligence.
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By collecting and managing competitive intelligence we help you keep up with the fast-changing business environment and assist you in being ready to respond effectively to the ever more challenging market conditions. When conducting the Competitive Intelligence we provide you with a reassuring sense of control over the situation in the business environment and reduce your uncertainty and anxiety.  Contact us and get more information about our services.
 
We help our clients identify how their competitors operate in selected markets of the region. How do they adapt to local business cultures?
What niches do competitors seek to occupy? How do their offers differ from country to country? Multi-country competitive intelligence is essential for any company aspiring to do business in several countries. . We'll provide you with strategic guidance and help you answer specific questions about a particular sector of the economy and other market players operating in that sector
so that you can make the right decision about your next steps. Contact us and get more information about our services.
Books Review

Competitive Intelligence

TRobert Dover, Huw Dylan, Michael Goodman (editors)
Now available for pre-ordering. To be published May 2017.
This handbook provides a detailed analysis of threats and risk in the international system and of how governments and their intelligence services must adapt and function in order to manage the evolving security environment. The book includes a full chapter on competitive / corporate intelligence written by Arthur Weiss, AWARE’s managing director. This is the text to purchase if you want to know more about the intelligence discipline overall, and the book examines the changing nature of conflict and the security, risk & intelligence disciplines including intelligence and organised crime; cyber security; social media intelligence; intelligence ethics, etc. Overall, 26 topics are considered – with each having their own chapter or section.

Christopher Murphy
Before writing this review, I was curious to see if there were any positive synonyms for the word "critic" - but found none. Synonyms given were detractor, opponent, enemy and censor. The single antonym given, fan, is a better word for my feelings on this book.
So what is it that I like about the book? Well, the first thing is that I appreciate the welcome change of reading a book explaining competitive intelligence from a British perspective. Most "how to" competitive intelligence books are American, and reflect US conditions. Second, the book is well written, following a logical path covering why companies need to do competitive intelligence; competitive intelligence theory and industry analysis; ethical issues; data collection; analysis; to communicating the intelligence and protecting the organisation from others with "intelligence counter-steps". I also liked that the book was not afraid to slay some sacred cows. For example, instead of the simplistic "competitive intelligence cycle" normally shown as the CI process model, Murphy presents a sequential model, with feedback steps. I have often felt that the traditional cyclical model was weak - especially as, in its normal presentation, it ignores feedback steps, present in Murphy's version. The copious use of footnotes giving sources used, along with interesting and sometimes amusing case examples, are other plus points.
The book is particularly strong in its discussion of financial analysis of company accounts - giving a comprehensive coverage of UK legal forms, company filings and how the same can be interpreted. I know of no other competitive intelligence book that is as thorough in this area, making Murphy's book a unique reference to a topic that will not be covered in US competitive intelligence books and, hitherto, could only be learnt through financial and accounting texts. The book also includes good sections on: forecasting; business environmental monitoring; the assessment of information quality; and analysing corporate cultures, describing a number of approaches to this oft-ignored subject.
Could the book be improved? Possibly, but with almost 250 pages before four appendices giving resources and terminology, it would be difficult. Two chapters that should be extended in any future edition are those on human-source intelligence and foreign sources. In comparison with the depth of coverage afforded some other topics, especially financial analysis, these two sections seem weak and incomplete. The latter, especially, is a drawback, as it means that the book is really only relevant for those with a specific interest in competitive intelligence on UK companies. With many companies now competing in a global marketplace, the ability to be able to research across borders is a crucial skill for competitive intelligence professionals.
The rationale of a business textbook is to teach the reader new concepts and give ideas for better practice. However, the ultimate purpose is to be readable. If a book is not readable it doesn't matter how many great ideas are in it. Studies have suggested that most business book purchasers never read beyond the first few chapters. You won't find "Competitive Intelligence" un-put-downable. If you want that then Jackie Collins or JK Rowling or ... (tick the box for the fiction writer of your choice) ... would be a better bet. However it is also not difficult to read, and is written in clear and precise language.
I have worked in competitive intelligence for many years and have a good understanding of its theory and practice, to the extent that often when I read a book on CI, I groan as I've seen it all before. With Murphy's book, I did not need to groan; I learnt things I'd forgotten and a few things I don't think I ever knew. If UK competitive intelligence is your bag, then this book should be in it!


Win/Loss Analysis: How to Capture and Keep the Business You Want

Ellen Naylor
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.

Seena Sharp
Competitive Intelligence Advantage starts from a marketing perspective and emphasises that successful competitive intelligence results in success marketing. The book explains the difference between data and intelligence, and the importance of looking at the whole business environment. Competitive Intelligence should not be viewed as a cost that has to be borne – but as an investment in the future that saves money and provides immediate value – that when done consistently will lead to competitive advantage.

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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Our ongoing check-ins with Growth Nation are positive and productive. We have already realized concrete returns on our marketing investment through increased sales from our targeted customer bases. We recommend the marketing services of Growth Nation if you’re looking to refresh your brand, prioritize growth initiatives, revitalize existing prospects and successfully connect to new opportunities.” Anthony Conyers – VP of ARC Traders “The marketing process was thorough, robust and creative. 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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. Growth Nation has been by far our best hire.” Ken Scheer – EVP, Calsaway “He worked his magic around developing compelling materials and messaging.” Barry Draskovich – Director, Honeywell “I have greatly appreciated his marketing acumen, combined with international business view and focus on growth opportunities.” Marco Rigamonti – Project Manager, Dow-Europe “A high energy sales and marketing executive with global vision.” Rick Mandahl – Director, Brain Institute, University of Utah “Rare in Phoenix – a global marketer of technology for every size of firm who thinks strategically and tactically.” Mike Dunham – Director, Motorola “Growth Nation focuses on client success instead of a particular marketing technique.” Mike Garland – Director, DataPreserve “A smart, strategic thinker and a savvy businessman who knows how to achieve results. I strongly recommend Growth Nation to any entrepreneur looking to strategically grow their business.” Mary Garrett – President, MG Communications “Growth Nation has greatly contributed to our growth in several ways. They are highly recommended for technology businesses looking to grow.” Phil Harrington, President – Founder and CEO, ICM Document Solutions “You’ve found a person you can count on.” Frank Gartland – Vice President, iLinc Communications “Growth Nation has helped us understand our market and brand our company in a way that differentiates us and communicates with our customers. 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. Doug is one of the most intelligent and personable professionals I have had the pleasure of working with. Doug is an innovator, entrepreneur, problem solver, and team builder. I have seen him develop extraordinary teams of experts to provide solutions for client problems. Please feel free to contact me anytime for my personal recommendation.” Lon Safko – President/CEO of Paper Models and Innovative Thinking; Author The Social Media Bible
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