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AIM vs Cipher vs Intelligentsia vs Octopus Intelligence vs Clew

These competitive intelligence companies will uncover your competitors’ strategies. You can beat them at their own game, and identify amazing opportunities they haven’t even thought of yet.

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence (CI) is the collection and analysis of information to anticipate competitive activity, see past market disruptions, and interpret events. It is essentially doing market research on your competitors, and is certainly  a key component of any business strategy. Competitive intelligence provides insight into marketplace dynamics and challenges using both published and unpublished sources.

How to Use Competitive Intelligence to Grow Your Business

Competitive intelligence is research about your competitors that provides the crucial insights that you need to outperform them. When you research your competitors, you can find the necessary information to plan your business strategies effectively and help your business grow faster.

First of all, CI can help you identify who your real competitors are. You may think you know who your competition is, but there’s always the possibility of missing a key competitor. Your CI research may reveal something you didn’t know about a company in your field, helping you to better understand your company’s market positioning and strategic advantages/disadvantages.

Second, competitive intelligence allows you to analyze your competitors’ performance and see what is helping them succeed. The key here is not to copy your competitors, but rather be better than them. Learn from what they are doing and get one step ahead of them.

How We Use Competitive Intelligence

Here at Improvado, we help marketing teams gather ALL their data into ONE PLACE. That means data about the performance and spend of marketing campaigns, data about customers, and data about competitors if they happen to be using one of the competitive intelligence companies below.

Having all your data in one place means that no one is wasting time gathering data or building reports, which means it's easy to make informed optimizations and increase ROI. Sound interesting? Learn more here.

Read on for a comparison of the top 5 CI Companies: AIM vs Cipher vs Intelligentsia vs Octopus Intelligence vs Clew


Their Approach: Expert Researchers & Analysts, Best in Class Global Resources, Insightful Analysis, Innovative Information Technology, Customized Delivery.

Whether you need to protect your company’s valuable intellectual assets, gain insight into your customers’ deepest desires, or quickly and effectively handle a crisis, AIM is here to help.

Motto: Targeted Information Research

Noteworthy Testimonials:

“Without question, this dynamic group of information researchers and analysts are among the finest in the world. They are skilled in seeking out the required data no matter where in the world it might reside.”

“I have both known the professionals at Allis Information Management (AIM), and used their superb services. I trust their management and good judgement so much that I have referred a number of my clients to them; and they too have been quite satisfied with AIM’s services. My relationship with AIM is going on ten years and I look forward to working together for the next decade.”

Mantra: Ready, AIM, Fire


Motto: Smarter, Faster Business Decisions

Key Services: Due Diligence, Competitive & Market Intelligence, Strategy Consulting & Support

Cipher promises that their services will allow you to assess your competitive landscape in seconds. They can help you stay ahead of market disruption, minimize the risk of competitor surprises, and maintain your competitive advantage. They offer intelligence tools and strategy support, so you can be sure you are making the most of their services.

They also have a blog with a number of tips and tricks on how to get ahead in your market, how to stay on top of competitive intelligence, and how to best utilize your insights.

Notable Clients: Olympus, Cigna, Grainger, UnitedHealthcare

Noteworthy Testimonials:

“Cipher went above and beyond our expectations to understand the nuances of our industry. The Cipher team was easy to work with and conducted invaluable research”

“Cipher demonstrated a strong desire to clearly understand our needs. The team asked the right questions to understand our market in a short period of time and their approach and research expertise were exemplary. Our time frames were very short and we were extremely pleased that each committed benchmark was met. We were very pleased with our first experience with Cipher and will certainly consider them for future projects.”

Octopus Intelligence

Impressive Clients: Oracle, Mercedes-Benz, Aviva, Owens Corning

What Clients Say: “Most importantly the valuable intelligence was provided by experienced business people who clearly know and understand the key issues. There is no comparison to what Octopus does. Amazing how much intelligence you found.”

Key Services: Competitive Intelligence, Competitor Profiling, Product Intelligence, Investment Intelligence, Counter Strike, Board Advisory, Due Diligence

What Makes Them Different:

“Our British military intelligence background and MBA-level experience gives us the discipline, processes and tenacity to get the job done and therefore, leave no rock unturned.

The unique combination of critical intelligence as well as the finest reputation management to help you mitigate risk and succeed today’s markets. Therefore, we reduce risk as well as revealing key opportunities to maximize opportunity from your reputation, competitors and markets.

Our clients have the certainty and confidence that we will get the job done, therefore, we love to see our clients succeed and gain the competitive advantage they’re looking for. So, that’s why we work with some of the world’s most prestigious brands.”


How They’re Different: Intelligentsia provides clients with compelling insights and advice with which to grow their businesses, outperform their competitors and de-risk key decisions.

According to their site, about 90% of the data in the Intelligentsia reports is collected from human sources. That is to say, primary research is an extremely important part of their business model. They boast a large database of contacts, expert elicitation techniques, and a global network of subject matter experts, which they call the Intelligentsia Leadership Advisory Board.

Key Industries: Consumer & Retail, Energy, Financial & Professional Services, Healthcare, Technology & MediaCore

Values: Quality, Integrity, Partnership

Key Services: Competitive Intelligence, Competitive Analysis, Competitor Analysis, Market Intelligence, Commercial Due Diligence


How They’re Different:

Clew’s overall approach to research places tremendous emphasis on primary research. Clew supports management disciplines ranging from HR, finance and legal to sales, marketing, operations and general management. They provide comprehensive consulting services through core Clew practices as well as on demand research services through ClewRaRE™.

Clew also provides specialized training services in support of both primary and secondary research skills development.

Notable Clients: Microsoft, Pfizer, Fidelity, Nestle, Koch Industries

Mantra: Consulting. Research. Understanding.

Noteworthy Quote: “As a young, ambitious company, we have no aim to be the largest. We simply want to be the best.”


All of these CI companies are essential to building your business’s competitive edge. Want to see all of your results in one place?

We recommend Improvado, which will allow you to pull your CI data in with your campaign reports, analytics, and more, ensuring you are getting the full picture of your business’s marketing status.

Our recommendation:

Check out The 32 Best Competitive Intelligence Companies

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