Not all of your competitors exist within your industry. There are companies that compete indirectly with yours for your customers’ time and money. There is intellectual property, created to solve problems that exist outside of your area of expertise, with the potential to move your company forward.
Think about a theme park and a day camp. They’re not direct competitors—yet they compete for the same customers because they’re both places for kids to spend the day when they’re not in school. This scenario exposes opportunities for, and threats to, both organizations.
While your business is likely much more complicated than our example, it helps illustrate why including your indirect competitors in competitive intelligence is so important. Identifying opportunities and threats within a broader technology landscape can uncover important insights.
Is there an opportunity for collaboration?
Similar technologies and strategies outside your industry may be an opportunity for a partnership or licensing agreement. There may even be reason to consider mergers and acquisitions to enhance your position within your own industry. To continue our earlier example, the day camp could include a trip to the theme park within its activities. This results in both additional revenue for the park and a unique selling point for the camp.
Is there infringement on one of your existing patents?
Without regularly monitoring your areas of intellectual property in addition to your closest competitors, a company you don’t consider direct competition could infringe on your innovations. If, for example, our theme park offered a day camp program, it would likely hurt the business of our day camp.
Is there white space in your area of expertise?
Identifying white space, or innovation opportunities within the technology landscape, can provide focus to ongoing research and development. Including indirect competitors in intellectual property searches further ensures this white space exists and inventions within it are novel. What if our theme park or day camp realize there are no overnight entertainment options for kids in their region? Either business could expand into this area to gain further competitive advantage.
Identifying Indirect Competitors with InnovationQ
InnovationQ makes identifying competitors across industries easy with Semantic Map. Our patent search software gives you the ability to see how indirect competitors’ innovations relate to your own. Using this visualization, you can decide whether these companies offer an opportunity for, or a threat to, your business.