I’ll start by saying that we don’t believe the goal of CI, or business, is to destroy the competition but, rather, to delight customers. Business isn’t war: War is about destroying value; business is about creating value. And it helps to have deep knowledge of the market and the competition to do that. CI helps make better decisions.
However, should you want to make a major announcement, or launch a competitive displacement campaign, or do anything else that will be much more effective if your competitor is not able to coordinate a response, there’s a time to do that. That time is when the competitor’s fiscal year turns over, because that’s often a fiscal cliff that leaves a big company flat-footed for some period of time.
This occurs because the season of the fiscal turn, especially among the Fortune 500, is the season of reorgs. ’Tis the season when no one knows what the budget will be. ’Tis the season when a lot of people don’t even know what their goals or job will be for the next 12 months. ’Tis the season of the whole-company meeting. And so, ’tis a season of much wonder, modest amazement, and precious little action.
On Dec. 1, some person might have been ready to pounce on your move. On Jan. 7, that chair could be empty, with the same person starting a new position elsewhere in the company. Your competitor’s response is almost guaranteed to be anemic, consisting of a PR release that boils down to “Oh, huh! That’s not true!” Don’t expect the rarely well-oiled machine of marketing, sales, and PR to spring into action with a coordinated response.
And for those that prefer to think of business as war:
“Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.” – Sun Tzu – The Art of War
By Sean Campbell
By Scott Swigart