Using competitive intelligence in agriculture to stay ahead of the game


Your business, big or small has been expanding for quite a few years. But how do you take the next step and grow your presence in an already saturated (and fragmented!) market?

This was a problem one of our clients working in the agricultural sector was facing.

Being one of the top global companies in its sector, and having built a successful enterprise across the Americas, Europe and Africa, establishing itself in the Asian market wasn’t straight forward. But it wasn’t quite clear as to why – after all, our client had some of the most advanced products in the world, rivalling or superior to those of its competitors.


So the question was – what business strategy could be employed to become better established in Asia and ultimately gain market share? Is it all down to quality? Is it about price? We were tasked in figuring this out.

Our approach

We took a two-pronged approach in order to obtain the right information needed to answer our client’s question. Firstly, we wanted to understand who else was competing in our client’s target market, their profitability, what, how and why they were selling, and other business characteristics they exhibited. We looked at lot of competitors – 100s in fact; big, small, local and international.

In parallel, we also deployed local specialist teams on the ground to carry out surveys and gain information on demand sensitivities – that is, why do consumers decide to purchase one product over another. Are Asian consumers more price-sensitive, does technological advancement play a role, or perhaps – is there some sort of brand loyalty in place?

Looking at the problem from the top down as well the bottom-up – we managed to find a lot of good qualitative information, design analytical databases and in turn extract valuable insight on market conditions and consumer demands.

We were able, for example, to cluster our client’s competitors into strategic groups, in other words – firms which had adopted similar strategies for competing in Asia, as well as identify gaps in the Asian market ideal for strategic positioning.

We were also able to identify potential acquisition targets which could help our client establish themselves more rapidly in this already saturated and fragmented market, as well as verify what really served as the value driver to local consumers (and let us give you a hint – it wasn’t price).

The outcome

Within one month, our client gained valuable intelligence on the operation of its competitors in Asia as well as deep insight into the market – the type of competitive intelligence which could help it stay ahead of the game. What’s more, our data and analytics provided the clarity and foresight necessary by the client for creating a sustainable and competitive business strategy which answered to real demands rather than to unsubstantiated (and in some cases false) views of the Asian market.

As informed third party advisors, the insights we provided were not only reliable and data-driven, but were far more comprehensive and cost-efficient than what our client had ever managed to obtain previously.

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“Effective competitive intelligence is an essential component in the strategic management of modern businesses who are constantly looking to venture into new products and exploit new markets. By combining systematic research methods with in-depth analysis, we produce information that is able to supplement and enhance the decision-making capabilities of our clients .”

Lisa Zengeni