Ok, so it’s the norm that financial services companies introducing new products or services, or considering new market entry, will conduct a competitor and market assessment exercise as the initial phase of their planning, build, validation, implementation cycle.
This is great but 3 things concern me based upon what I have witnessed with some of the financial services companies I have been involved with.
The use of a standard, single approach to market intelligence gathering when the reality is that the scope and focus of the intelligence should be tailored to the specific business objective and the success criteria associated to that objective, i.e. a precise focus, not too narrow and not too wide just for the sake of it.
The brief for the intelligence to be gathered is prepared by individuals who have received no formal or on the job training in this discipline, or for that matter the interpretation of the research outputs.
Now it probably seems obvious what has to be covered and, equally, it may seem obvious how to analyse, interpret and apply the research outputs to the planned initiative but to my mind it is not quite that simple.
The chances that an intra organisation competitor and market assessment provides the appropriate rigour and, more importantly, captures, interprets and applies the findings optimally will be heavily dependent upon the calibre and number of individuals that are fully engaged in the process and their levels of experience.
The process undertaken is a snapshot of the market at the time the business initiative is conceived with follow up analysis generally limited to tracking a small number of key market indicators.
Even in a changing landscape with new competitors impinging on the space occupied by traditional players a full detailed analysis may be overlooked with companies often following ‘Lemming like’ to match the new entrants product/service offerings, establishing partnership ventures to claim share or simply acquiring the competition.
In both instances it’s just crazy. It’s like saying my car has been serviced so no need to worry about that again, or, in the new entrant scenario, he’s got one and I want/need one too.
The fact is that Competitor & Market Intelligence gathering is a continuous, regularly conducted business process and those organisations that don’t acknowledge it, and respond appropriately, are doing their organisation a disservice that could cost them dear.
It is for these reasons that PayX prefers to work with clients prior to beginning the intelligence gathering process to gain a full and proper understanding of the reasons for the assignment, the business needs it serves, the organisations objectives and the key success measures associated to the business initiative being planned.
By adopting this approach our clients are assured that all of our effort is focussed on delivering the key data, information and insights needed to place the business initiative on the firmest possible footing and have a blueprint for regular re-examination.