Integrating Competitive Intelligence and Marketing: Boost Your Interviewing & Elicitation Skills

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Last week I traveled to San Francisco to help instruct an AMA (American Marketing Association) course on Integrating Competitive Intelligence into Marketing. In the cooperative spirit, I shared this book list to supplement our teaching which I am sharing with you. If you have other books to suggest I would like to hear from you!

1. What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People by Joe Navarro. Joe is a professional reader of body language and shares some of the tricks to this skill, not the least of which is keen, unobtrusive observation. I think there is even more pressure to be good at reading body language today since most of our communication is electronic. Thus, we get less practice at being with people, so we need to be all the more observant during in-person meetings.

2. Take the Cold out of Cold Calling by Sam Richter. Sam Richter was President of the James J Hill Reference Library which mostly serves individuals and small business. As such, this book is geared to help anyone learn more about their customers by researching them on the Internet, and he shares many tippers on how to do this.

3. Basic Interviewing Skills by Raymond L. Gorden. This is the best interviewing structure I have read anywhere which Professor Gorden calls, “Skill Learning Cycle,” which involves developing 12 skills to achieve a high quality interview. He presents a solid structure for conducting and assessing your interview and includes exercises for practice. He also includes some great tippers on how to read body language and tone of voice while conducting an interview.

4. Confidential: Business Secrets – Getting Theirs, Keeping Yours by John Nolan. This is a classic in the competitive intelligence community for John’s discussion around developing elicitation skills and how to protect your company’s secrets and sensitive information.

5. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout. This is a must read for anyone in public relations and brand management. Even a small business person will benefit by learning how to develop and position their brand.

6. The Discipline of Market Leaders by Michael Treacy. This is a favorite of Matt Kelly’s of Strategy Software, another instructor at our AMA course. Mr. Treacy argues that companies should focus on leadership in one of three areas for a sustainable competitive advantage: operational excellence, product leadership or customer intimacy.

7. Competitive Intelligence: How to Gather, Analyze, and Use Information to Move Your Business to the Top by Larry Kahaner. Mr. Kahaner describes the value of competitive intelligence and how to use it very clearly as he is a trained journalist, and writes exquisitely.

If you are interested in attending this AMA course on Integrating Competitive Intelligence into Marketing, we will be giving it in Boston on Feb. 12 and Chicago on March 12.

I also put together a book list on social networking and presentations for this course, the topic for a future blog.

Why Cooperative Intelligence?

Ellen Naylor

Ellen Naylor

In my 25+ years working in and for corporations in marketing and competitive analysis, I have observed that the focus is too often on process and monitoring the competitive landscape using secondary research and the Internet, and increasingly neglects the relationships we must forge with individuals. From speaking to people in other professions, I have learned that this focus on process is widespread, particularly due to the high usage of electronic communication that has replaced the telephone and face-to-face meetings.

We have plenty of support to become good at our skill such as law, finance, accounting, art, marketing, or my area–competitive intelligence. However, many of us have trouble listening, being heard and taken seriously by the right people in our companies. I have learned that an attitude of cooperation is one of the best ways to encourage people to share, regardless of what you do or what industry you work in.

Cooperative intelligence puts people in the center whether through social networking, in-person meetings, teleconferences or written communication. Its foundation is giving attitudes and practices which encourage openness, sharing and trust. Trust begins with communication, telling the truth, and doing what is good for people and the organization. When people trust you, they often will do what you ask them to do since they want to.

Cooperative intelligence is a holistic solution which integrates generous leadership, connection and communication to make us stronger individuals regardless of our profession. It incorporates emotional intelligence and appreciative inquiry to make us more balanced individuals.

BTW, I am writing a book on cooperative intelligence. If you have some ideas, I would love to hear from you.

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