Competitive intelligence is sometimes referred to as a game of chess, with each side trying to think as far ahead as possible about their opponents’ moves and countermoves. Sun Tzu is frequently invoked as a model for competitive intelligence students when observing, learning from, and out-maneuvering a competitive nemesis. Similarly, armies and generals are typically revered by those in the competitive intelligence community, their battle plans, flanking techniques, and other maneuvers analyzed and copied.
But what happens when the market you’re studying is moving quickly, with competitors frequently entering and exiting the playing field? Perhaps you’re not even sure if a firm is a competitor — could they also be considered a partner? Or at least part of a loose affiliation that could be helpful to your firm in the future?