3 min read
Jerome Maisch - Apr 13, 2012

Ask the Industry Expert: Q&A With Monica Nixon

This is the second installment in our Q&A series where we talk to some of the leading Competitive Intelligence professionals to get their expert views on industry trends and best practices. Monica Nixon will already be familiar to many of you as someone who has her finger on the pulse of the CI industry and her contribution here is likely to provoke some interesting discussion. We look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments section.

Q. How can intelligence professionals engage and influence C-Suite decision-makers?

In my experience, the best way is to proactively produce analyses that those occupying the C suite find useful. These analyses should naturally showcase the analyst has a firm grasp of the intricacies of the business and associated competitive dynamics, but as well, they should also lay out various courses of action that could be taken to mediate a threat or to capitalize on an opportunity. This is the "magic formula" from my point of view.

Q. What best practices do you advocate for building awareness of CI among internal stakeholders?

Well, in a company new to CI I've found it extremely useful to sit down with the leaders of the different functional areas and do two things. First, present them with a list of deliverables CI can provide for their function; note it is always extremely advantageous to have concrete examples at hand.

So if one is talking with say, the head of Sales, walk in with a sales tool for a recently launched product that clearly illustrates how to optimally position said product vs the competition's offering. Naturally, the tool should include a knock down of the competition's arguments as to their relative strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, if you are meeting in a tech company with the head of an R/D lab or future product development, you might walk in with your projections for what the evolution of key competitors product lines or technologies are going to look like over the next 36 months.

The second thing is to give them the floor to discuss with you three or four of their key concerns or questions. Take them to heart and answer them thoroughly and expediently. Do this and you wont just have awareness, you'll have credibility and trust.

Q. In your opinion what is the most exciting development to emerge in the CI industry in the last five years?

Unequivocally and without any even a remotely close parallel, the conversations that Eric Garland subsequently provoked with regard to PEAK INTELLIGENCE after the publication of his article on the topic in the Atlantic. Why? Because sadly, he couldn't be more right about the state of the industry; and while his key points have been whispered between Strategic analysts after leaving corporate boardrooms since the 2008 crash, no one had shown the fortitude required to address these disquieting realities in a public forum. Eric is to be congratulated because if we cant do what we are really supposed to be doing as Strategic CI Pros, everyone in Strategic CI might as well move right on over to the PR Department.

Q. What is the biggest challenge in CI right now?

Being given the latitude to tell the truth on matters of import relative to policy and economic reality, instead of being expected to downplay the ultimate futility of trying to maintain the illusion that we still have a functional economy.

Q. How to overcome this challenge?

Well, to answer in somewhat of a round about fashion - I think cognitive dissonance is increasing and all this irrational faith that we are in a sustainable recovery in the US or that the ECB/IMF/EU Troika can ring fence the PIIGS or that liquidity will take care of fundamental insolvency problems, will eventually give way to undeniable and countervailing evidence to the contrary. When this house of cards comes tumbling down then for the second time, I tend to surmise the truth will once again be in demand.

About Monica Nixon

Monica Nixon is the Founder and Principal Analyst at Nixon Intelligence Consulting Services (NICS). NICS provides clients in the US and Europe with strategic and tactical intelligence across a variety of domains including medical devices, patent and IP related services, IC packaging, Intelligence SW & Social Media .

Prior to founding NICS, Monica was a Strategic Intelligence Analyst at Hewlett Packard who later lead the Intelligence function at Ricoh.

If you’re interested in participating in this Q&A series email me orlaith.finnegan(at)digimind.com


Written by Jerome Maisch

Marketing Manager @digimindci. Passionate about big data & social marketing. Photography, music and hiking lover