Spy vs. Spy

Toeing the murky line between competitive intelligence and corporate espionage

Sifting through a corporate rival’s garbage, attending a competitor’s recruitment conference, employing secret shoppers to copy sales techniques — spying in business is as old as business itself, but learning where to draw the line is how you’ll keep your team out of the headlines and your company out of costly court battles.

If you’re not aware of competitive intelligence (CI) by now, you should be. Call it spy light, perhaps, or diet spying — CI is the art of monitoring your competitors the right way, tracking only what can be gleaned ethically. Simply put, CI is the gathering of publicly available information about competitors to gain a business advantage.

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