Interactive, intelligent, and definitely a good show
Interactive participation and intelligent discussion are something you expect to see and hear at Market and Competitive Intelligence conferences. What you might be less likely to experience is a good show. However, this was also offered at the M-Brain Conference (formerly GIA Conference) held in Amsterdam in the beginning of June.
The show came in the form of a hosted discussion, which was made to resemble a TV talk show, complete with a house band. It was hosted by Troy Pfeffer, Competitive Intelligence Director at Cintas, who could easily make a second career as a talk show host.
Thanks to the talk show guests, the discussion was interactive and intelligent ““ and thanks to Troy Pfeffer himself, it was also a good show. He was charismatic and funny, yet interviewed his guests expertly without ever trying to steal the spotlight from them.
Social Media as a counterintelligence tool
Troy Pfeffer’s first guest was Caroline Luker from the Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil. Luker made several fascinating points about the use of Market Intelligence, particularly in regards to strategic planning. With oil and gas prices low, MI professionals working in the energy sector face pressure to concentrate on the here and now ““ even when they should keep their eyes on long-term goals.
When asked about the use of social media, Caroline Luker stressed that such services as Twitter are “counterintelligence tools”.
“There are reasons to monitor companies that are not our direct competitors. For example, Tesla could change the demand for our core product”, Luker pointed out.
“We have to understand where our society is going”
Next up was another Scandinavian company, the construction giant NCC, represented by its CEO, Peter WÃ¥gström. He also emphasized the use of MI as a strategic planning tool.
As NCC serves all kinds of clients ““ governmental, corporate, consumers ““ it has to combine all kinds of intelligence from consumer research to Competitive Intelligence. It also has to get the “big picture” about long-term societal trends.
“Our business is to build our society, our physical environment. We have to understand where our society is going”, WÃ¥gström said.
“Listen to the 19-year-olds”
Simon Edward, Director of Market Development & Insights with IBM Europe, was Troy Pfeffer’s third and final guest. Even more than Luker and WÃ¥gström, he talked about the importance of using intelligence to understand an organization’s own customers. As an example, Edward used his own organization, IBM.
“Making our customers more successful is what we live to do. That’s our only measure of success. We have to understand what’s happening in their industries so we can help them succeed”, Edwards said.
Edwards also pointed out that particularly in consumer fields, business leaders are wise to talk to the people most in touch with the actual consumers. They can offer insights one does not get from Market Intelligence or consumer research.
“It’s not the CEO in front of the clients, it’s not the MI leader. It’s the 19-year-olds. Invest in them. That’s where the brand is experienced.”
by Christina Lentell
The M-Brain Conference (formerly GIA Conference) is a three-day event for professionals focusing on the key strategic success factors of Market and Competitive Intelligence. It is internationally recognized as the best intelligence conference with 100% recommendation. Why? Because the conference is characterized by in-depth workshops, practical case presentations, thought provoking panel discussions, interactive roundtable sessions and a lot of networking opportunities. And it is vendor free.
The next conference will be held in New York in October 19-20 2015.
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