Competitive Intelligence Gathering Should be a Year-Round Activity  5/4/2016


Johnny Carson would often say, “I did not know that,” when confronted with some unusual information or when he felt at a loss for words. This, however, is not an excuse any CPG product manager or respectful sales director should ever get away with. Yet I hear it quite often during meetings with manufacturers when we begin discussing the competitive landscape.

So, how does a product manufacturer gain a better understanding of their competitors or the market opportunities that may exist? Research.

Although this topic has been extensively written about, it remains quite elusive for many. Perhaps the memory of Johnny Carson’s phrase will remedy that. The trick is determining the “gaps” of information that may exist and then seeking ways to fill them.

Here are several examples of gaps I often hear about from manufacturers:
  • What is the market share of XYZ manufacturer?
  • Where does XYZ have distribution?
  • When are promotions executed by XYZ and what do they look like?
  • How do consumers respond to the messaging on the XYZ packaging, or in promotions, etc.?
  • Who really buys XYZ and does it meet their entire need?
Research and competitive intelligence gathering should never be one-time events. Because of market dynamics, consumer demands, retailer contraction and expansion, and the general landscape of the market, competitive intelligence must be constantly amassed. That information must then be sorted, validated, and grouped so that responsive action can be determined.

So the next time you hear someone on your team saying, “I did not know that,” let’s hope it is only a reference to the late, great Johnny Carson.

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Contact Dave Wendland

Vice President of Strategic Relations

Dave Wendland is a 25+ year veteran of the consumer packaged goods industry and is passionate about optimizing the health, beauty, and wellness (HBW) retail experience for shoppers. A sought-after speaker for industry conferences and corporate events, Dave is also a regular contributor to HealthCare Distributor, Chain Drug Review, Drug Store News, Forbes Agency Council, and serves as a brain trust panelist for RetailWire.

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