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Marketing Research of CBS Corporation
Marketing Research of CBS Corporation - April 1st, 2011
CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS, NYSE: CBSA) is an American media conglomerate focused on broadcasting, publishing, billboards, and television production, with most of its operations in the United States. The President and CEO of the company is Leslie Moonves. Sumner Redstone, owner of National Amusements, is CBS's majority shareholder & serves as Chairman. The company began trading on the NYSE on January 3, 2006. Until then, the corporation was known as Viacom, and is the legal successor to said company. A new company, keeping the Viacom name was spun off from CBS. CBS, not Viacom, retains control of the partial and total over-the-air television & radio broadcasting, TV production & distribution , publishing, pay-cable, recording, and outdoor advertising assets formerly owned by the larger company. CBS has its headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
Intelligence is information that has been analyzed for decision making. It is important to understand the difference between information and intelligence. Information is the starting point; it is readily available numbers, statistics, bits of data about people, companies, products, and strategies. As a matter of fact, information overload is one of the leading problems of today's executive and the top reason for needing a competitive intelligence expert. Information becomes intelligence when is it distilled and analyzed. Combining this idea with those of competition or competitors leads to the concept of gathering and analyzing information about competitors for use in making management decisions. Competitive intelligence provides a link between information and business strategies and decisions. It is the process of turning vast quantities of information into action.
The field of competitive intelligence, as a profession, is relatively new in the U.S. An indication of the importance of competitive intelligence is the growth, since 1986, of the Society of Competitor Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), an organization committed to developing, improving, and promulgating the methods, techniques, and ethical standards of the group. SCIP defines competitive intelligence as "the legal and ethical collection and analysis of information regarding the capabilities, vulnerabilities, and intentions of business competitors conducted by using information databases and other 'open sources' and through ethical inquiry." The major research firm in the field, Fuld & Company, Inc., defines it as "information that has been analyzed to the point where you can make a decision and a tool to alert management to early warning of both threats and opportunities. Competitive intelligence offers approximations and best views of the market and the competition. It is not a peek at the rival's financial books." Competitive intelligence can help managers discover new markets or businesses, beat the competition to market, foresee competitor's actions, determine which companies to acquire, learn about new products and technologies that will affect the industry, and forecast political or legislative changes that will affect the company.
Examples of competitive intelligence include stock traders who analyze the data on prices and price movements to determine the best investments. These stock traders have the same data as other traders, but analysis of the data separates them from others. Another example is the Japanese automobile industry's analysis of the U.S.-automobile market in the 1970s. High gasoline prices and smaller families created a demand in the United States for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Japanese automakers employed competitive intelligence methods to determine this trend and then made manufacturing decisions based on it, beating the U.S. Big Three to market with high quality, fuel-efficient cars. Another example of successful use of competitive intelligence is AT&T's database of in-company experts. Part of this service is the monitoring of companies with which their own employees are most interested. This led to some early insights of emerging competitors. A final example is how Wal-Mart stores studied problems Sears had with distribution, and built a state-of-the art distribution system so that Wal-Mart customers were not frustrated by out-of-stock items, as were Sears's customers.
Competitive intelligence is not spying on the competition. It has been associated in the past with the political and military intelligence used during the Cold War era. Because of this association, many people think that competitive intelligence uses illegal, shady, or unethical means to gather information about competitors. Visions of wiretapping, bribing competitor's employees, or stealing information come to mind. This is not true today. Such techniques can damage the reputation and image of corporations and are not worth the risk. SCIP takes a strong position on the importance of ethics and developed a code of ethics for members. Note the words, "legal and ethical," and the emphasis on retrieving data from "open sources." Competitive intelligence experts use openly-available information. They do dig into public records and government databases and use the latest technology (such as satellite photoreconnaissance and software tools such as spiders) to help gather and analyze large datasets. However, the professionals and companies for which they work do not use illegal methods.
Today, competitive intelligence is an important activity within corporations, serving all areas of business functioning: research and development, human resources, sales, etc. A recent survey by The Futures Group found that 80 percent of large, U.S.-based organizations have a formal, in-house, competitive intelligence department. In the future, competitive intelligence activities will become standard. The wide availability of information on the Web makes competitive intelligence more accessible to medium-size and small firms. Software tools to analyze and disseminate intelligence also make it easier to implement competitive intelligence tools. The process of competitive intelligence is outlined in the following steps:
Setting intelligence objectives (i.e., designing the requirements)
Collecting and organizing data about the industry and competitors
Analyzing and interpreting the data
Disseminating the intelligence
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