What can you learn from your competition and how can you learn it? I’m Mike Sandman and I’m going to be talking to you about learning from your competition.
The formal term for learning about competition is competitive intelligence. That sounds like it could be a synonym for corporate espionage, but it’s not. Understanding your market by observing and talking to competitors is something you can do legitimately. In these sessions, you’ll see what you can learn and how to use it. Let’s start with looking at what drives competition in the market. Competition varies from market to market, often driven by forces that are really beyond the control of competitors. If you look at a marketplace you can see that current competitors obviously take actions that are meant to protect their positions, but they’re not just responding to other competitors in the market, they’re also responding to the threat that new entrants will come in, they’re responding to the power of customers if customers have lots of choice, they’re responding to the availability of potential substitutes and to the power of suppliers. This model is called the five forces model, and it was developed by a professor at Harvard business school Michael Porter. It’s a very useful explanation of the ways in which outside forces affect competitors and make them compete in the marketplace.
About Michael Sandman
Michael Sandman is Executive Director and founder of IFCIP, the International Fellowship of Competitive Intelligence Professionals. Prior to forming IFCIP, he was Senior Vice President of Fuld & Company, preceded by a career of over twenty years as a senior operations manager of the composites industry, industrial textiles, and industrial process control systems. Mr. Sandman also has an extensive background in international business, including the transfer of technology to licensees and joint venture partners in the Pacific Rim, Switzerland, England, Mexico and Brazil.
Mr. Sandman started his career with a privately held composites manufacturer, and he subsequently became chief operating officer of a division of the Dexter Corporation, a multinational producer of specialty materials. At Dexter, he had responsibility for operations in North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim. He joined Fuld & Company in 1991, where he was the managing partner until his retirement in 2014. In addition to his current role at IFCIP, he continues to do consulting in the field of competitive intelligence.
He is an adjunct faculty member at University of California-Irvine’s Paul Merage Business School and he has been a guest lecturer at Columbia University Business School’s advanced management program for senior executives, the University of Wisconsin’s Management Institute, the Boston University School of Management and Harvard Business School. Mr. Sandman developed CI 101® and CI 202®, the courses he taught and were sponsored by the Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP). He has served on the peer review board of the Competitor Intelligence Review, and he is the author of the chapter on competitive intelligence analysis for Millennium Intelligence, edited by Professor Jerry Miller and published in 2000. He was elected to be a Fellow of the Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals and received the prestigious Society’s Faye Brill Award in 2012.
Mr. Sandman received his B.S. (Economics) from Clark University in Worcester, MA and a M.B.A. from the Johnson School of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.