A specific form of Market Intelligence is competitive intelligence. This is typically undertaken on an on-going basis and involves the collection of news, materials and other information about competitors from a wide variety of sources. This may involve collecting information about market positioning and market messages, core clients or contracts, size and structure of the business and issues like pricing or typical deal structures. Examples might include collecting price-check information, or details of promotional and advertising campaigns, or monitoring news channels for information about new products or new technologies (eg patents). Although competitor intelligence can be carried out as a one off project, in reality, because of its on-going nature, competitive intelligence is often more about putting structures in place to enable information about competitor behaviour to be fed-back and monitored, than specifically finding one-off pieces of data. One key point is that for legal and ethical reasons, competitor research should not be carried out in any underhand way (eg misrepresentation) and so should rely only on openly available information sources.
Competitive intelligence can also use primary sources of data, such as feedback from sales teams, suppliers or distribution channels or feedback based on direct win-loss research that are often used to track bid performance.