Why the AV Industry Should Research Their Competition

Published: October 28, 2019

For fans of “The Office,” one of the best episodes was when regional paper supply company manager Michael Scott and salesman Dwight Schrute are tasked with researching a small local paper company.

After fumbling their way through masquerading as a potential client and a job seeker, the duo comes through, delivering to their corporate bosses a list of the small company’s clients and valuable information about the size of the family-owned business.

They conducted competitive intelligence of the locally owned Prince Family Paper, which is an extremely valuable tool worthy of investment in 2019, according to market intelligence firm Crayon.

According to a new Crayon report, “2019 State of Competitive Intelligence,” businesses are increasing their resources devoted to market intelligence as the marketplace becomes crowded for a variety of industries.

The firm conducted a survey of more than 1,000 businesses, which yielded some surprising results:

  • 80% of business have at least ap art-time employee working on competitive intelligence, up from 76% from last year.
  • 40% are planning to increase their competitive intelligence budgets this year
  • 87% of respondents said their market has become more competitive in the last three years, and 49% said it has become much more competitive
  • 79% opt to share that intelligence via email, while 62% share it in meetings

Why the AV industry should pay attention

While there’s a lack of quantifiable data on the number of AV integrators in the marketplace, the industry is expected to grow by $78 billion to $247 billion in 2024, according to AVIXA.

In the Americas, the pro AV market will grow at a combined annual rate of 4.7%, reaching $112 billion. Merger and acquisition activity has also been common in recent years, as 27% of AB providers said their company has been involved in an acquisition in the last five years.

For growing industries, competitive intelligence its even more important, Crayon said.

According to Crayon’s report, larger companies have more employees dedicated to researching their competitors, but many small and medium-sized firms have at least a small team doing that work.

  • Of small businesses with 50 employees or fewer, 45% said they had at least one employee doing that work, while 65% of medium-sized businesses with 51 to 500 employees said the same.
  • At small enterprise (501-5,000 employees), 78% said they had at least one employee, and 51% large enterprise businesses (5,000-plus) said they had at least a small team or team of more than 11 employees doing that work.

What is the return on investment of competitive intelligence?

Larger businesses with more resources and more established programs are more likely to see revenue increases thanks to research efforts.

  • Small businesses saw a 28% increase
  • Medium-sized business saw a 36% increase
  • Small enterprise saw a 41%
  • Large enterprise: 52%

However, companies that stick with a competitive intelligence program for more than a few years are more likely to see the results bear out in increased revenue.

Related: How Business Leaders at Different Firms become Friends: Episode 68 of AV+

According to Crayon:

  • Just 25% of companies with a program for less than a year saw an increase.
  • 39% of companies with a program in place for one to two years saw an increase.
  • 45% of companies with a program in place for two to five years saw an increase.
  • 53% of companies with a program in place for five to 10 years saw an increase.
  • 66% of companies with a program in place for more than 10 years saw an increase.

Unlike Dunder Mifflin, companies don’t use competitive intelligence for the sole purpose of putting others out of business, which was ultimately Prince Family Paper’s fate in the episode. The information gathered can also be used to better your company’s customer satisfaction and keep pace with market trends, according to Crayon.

Posted in: Insights

Tagged with: Business Data, Research

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