Plan For Your Company's Success by Identifying Competitive Threats and Opportunities

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Turning Data Into Insight Template

This template provides five important questions to ask when your team is analyzing data.


Plan for Your Company's Success by Identifying Competitive Threats and Opportunities

So you're watching yet another PowerPoint presentation full of graphs measuring click-through rates and customer engagement. But as you watch, you can't help thinking something is lacking. Yes, the data's there, but what does it all mean? What stats should you and your company really be tracking? Where's the analysis?

It's all too easy these days to dig up data; stats and facts on just about anything can be found on the Web. We are overloaded with information, but it is all completely useless unless you take the next step of figuring out what you need to know and what the data is telling you. Only then will your company be able to successfully plan for its future.

"But you can't tackle everything at once," says Planning Boot Camp author and business planning expert Peter Wright. "For strategic planning purposes it's best to start with benchmarking yourself and your three biggest competitors." Profiling you and your competitors' target markets, marketing strategies, market share, products, services, pricing and costs will lead you to identify opportunities and threats.

You might find that who you thought were your biggest competitors aren't, that there's a service gap or price point your company could exploit, or some pipsqueak newcomer has been busily gobbling up your customers. Such insights are gold and will feed into your strategic planning. Such insights can make the difference between business failure and business success.

Are you inundated with data, but not making effective use of it?
Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Have you identified what market information is critical to know on an ongoing basis?
  2. Do you study those monthly print-outs of analytics that keep appearing in your inbox?
  3. Do you change sales, service and product mix, pricing or marketing strategy depending on what those print-outs tell you?
  4. Do you know what or who the biggest threat to your business is?
  5. Do you know where your biggest opportunity lies?

If you have answered no to any of these questions, you are not making the best use of the information piling up on your desk. To gain market insight and steer your company to success, you must challenge yourself and your colleagues to go beyond merely collecting and reporting facts and statistics, to understanding and analyzing what the data means.