05 Mar

Global Medical Manufacturer Uses LoSG Insights to Enter New Market

One of our clients is a global manufacturer of equipment that is used in a variety of medical devices. They are a new division within a much larger company, which last year identified entry into the medical market as a key strategic priority. Our service helps senior Marketing and Sales leadership in their business development efforts, leveraging the market observations we capture to open doors and develop sales relationships.

Extract of the weekly update:

04 Mar

Leveraging the Power of Social Media and AI for Deeper Market and Competitive Insights: A Healthcare Case Study

In today’s dynamic healthcare landscape, organizations have learned that competitive intelligence (CI) is crucial to maintaining a competitive edge.

While traditional CI methods are valuable, AI-driven social listening offers a novel approach to developing deep insights into market trends, customer sentiment, and competitor activity.

In this webinar, Comintelli and Line of Sight explore a real-world case study of a global healthcare company that has successfully implemented an AI-powered social listening program to revolutionize its Market and Competitive Intelligence (M&CI) efforts.

While this case study focuses on the healthcare industry, the underlying principles and methodologies can apply across various sectors.

13 Feb

A pleased CEO thanks us for some helpful insight

One of our clients is a clinical stage medical technology company that is racing against several competitors to develop technology designed to restore functionality in patients with severe paralysis. This week, the CEO sent an email to one of our senior analysts thanking her for some helpful insight that was included in this week’s competitive update. (Apologies for the lack of detail here….this is a very competitive space and we are dedicated to supporting the confidentiality and success of our clients.)  

16 Feb

Understanding Your Startup’s Competition

Earlier this month, we hosted a webinar with The University of Minnesota Venture Center. Line of Sight’s Steve Schulz and Teresa Muckala discuss how understanding the competition is a critical competency for any business and share some key tips on how to succeed at it.

View the Webinar to learn:

  • How competitive intelligence experts define competitors
  • Where to find information on your competitors
  • How to analyze and take action based on the intelligence
  • How to use this information in a business plan



07 Jun

SCIP Intellicon 2022

Looking back at SCIP Intellicon 2022, it was an amazing event in so many ways. We enjoyed having the Intelligence community and our team back together in person to celebrate and talk shop. The Line of Sight team gathered early in Minneapolis, kicking the week off cheering the Minnesota Twins to victory. We even successfully turned our partners from Sweden, Comintelli, into Twin’s fans for life.

Line of Sight was honored to be a SCIP Intellicon Bronze Sponsor, exhibiting and meeting so many wonderful people throughout the three-day event. We are truly grateful and proud of our team and the connections that were made!

It’s always interesting to attend events, watch trends and compare the Intelligence function of today to when we started Line of Sight 20 years ago.

When I first started this business, there was a lot of focus on “gathering info and data.” Who is the competition? What, how and where are they selling and competing, etc? That’s what companies wanted – repositories of information on their industry and competition. Although deep data collection is a necessity, data alone isn’t truly useful.

Over the years, there has become a significant maturation and organizational value placed on taking data collection further, one step at a time – triangulating and analyzing the data into digestible, actionable insights. This is what gives leadership the vision and “line-of-sight” into the critical issues impacting their business and the confidence to make the right bets and moves – ahead of the competition.

With this evolution, we are seeing people from all functions of an organization get involved and play a key role in helping form or digest these insights to contribute to the overall strategy. And with this, there is certainly a greater acceptance that data gathering (and the people who do it) is a valuable investment. The Intelligence function is now often seen as a critical business function within organizations.

During Intellicon 2022, we had the opportunity to connect with many attendees about how Line of Sight can help an organization’s intelligence needs. From our Strategic Intelligence Program to Competitive and Industry Analysis, Line of Sight customizes programs to support resource-strapped strategy executives and intelligence teams that have different needs and budgets. Please reach out to us to learn more!

Our team looks forward to continuing to evolve and partner with the intelligence community. We had a great time connecting with everyone at SCIP Intellicon! Until next year…

25 Apr

Celebrating with the Twins for the Win!

Our team gathered this week to celebrate our 20 years in business. We kicked it off watching the Twins win in a 10th inning walk-off. Go Buxton! Thank you to our partners at Comintelli for joining us!

Next up: SCIP Intellicon conference. Visit us at booth 308! https://www.scip.org/page/SCIP-IntelliCon2022-Competitive-Intelligence-Conference

26 Jan

Our 20th Anniversary: Reflecting back

It seems like yesterday when I started Line of Sight…how quickly 20 years have gone! As I sit here and reflect, I can’t help but think “wow do I have a lot to be thankful for!” From the people with whom I crossed paths early on and came with me on this journey, to those who joined in partnership later I am so thankful.

How it all began.

When I was working for Optum I was constantly fighting the push and pull of staying with the security of a large, dynamic organization or jumping off full time into my own gig. During this time, I had several former colleagues and contacts requesting my consultation on various market intelligence projects. Most notable, and when I really got serious about hanging out my shingle, was the frequent requests from Rick E, a former colleague at Deluxe who had moved to another company as CFO. His new company was losing deals they had previously won, and he needed help setting up the capability to objectively monitor and analyze the company’s external environment to make better strategic decisions.

The opportunity to partner with past colleagues and a breadth of great companies was really enticing. But most important, my wife Linda was on board. Without her support and good job with a financial services firm and an excellent health insurance plan, Line of Sight would have never happened. (Which speaks to our antiquated employer-based health care system, but I’ll keep my opinions to myself). 

Everything was aligning! Even Paul K, my manager at Optum, reluctantly but kindly supported me when I ultimately decided to make the jump.

The name.

It came together one early morning on a walk with my dog Pita, a black and white spotted German Shorthair Pointer with amazing energy who kept me in shape and cleared my mind during long walks. On this particular walk I recalled a moment from a few years earlier, where I had been invited to participate in a process innovation project for Deluxe. A small team went offsite to dream up ways to improve a critical sales process. The amazing group facilitator, Joe P, had used the phrase “line of sight” so often in his conversation and instructions to us, that it stuck with me. One process step must always have “line of sight” to the next, he would say. The process should be designed so that the people involved would always have “line of sight” to its purpose and objectives. On that late winter morning, the phrase came back into my head, and after some quick research, that was that and Line of Sight Group was born.

The product.

Early on, the focal point of our offering was a market intelligence software. This was early in the development of cloud computing, but I wanted nothing to do with on-premises applications. Paul E, a former Cray Computer guy, was my guru and introduced me to IT people who could make it happen. Selling a cloud solution to large corporations in the early 2000s was not easy. It was new and raised many concerns for the IT folks, but the business leaders saw the many advantages and helped to push those early sales through.

The service side of our business doing market/competitive/industry intelligence and analysis was also growing and would eventually overtake the software side. I needed help!

The team.

Jennifer Loehr, a trained journalist, came on board early on and has developed into a strong project manager, leading our longest running client engagement. She celebrates 15 years with Line of Sight this year.

Sara Bartholomew joined shortly after. Sara and I had worked together in a market research/corporate strategy group at Deluxe several years earlier and my call to her was timely as she said, “my kids are getting older, and I need something to do!” She brought journalism and MBA degrees and 15 years later she is the voice of reason that keeps us on keel.

With Jen and Sara as anchors, we enlisted several people over the years.

Jennifer Waffensmith had strong experience in mystery shopping and leveraged that experience with the ability to fearlessly interview almost any subject matter expert. After five years of working with our clients, one client calls her “an amazing sleuth.”

Erin Andersland joined us from Target Corp. five years ago and leveraged her MLIS degree and corporate research experience to lead several ongoing client programs and is our ‘go-to’ for hard-to-find secondary research.

Kristi Dale brought her journalism degree, marketing communications and medical journal editing experience to lead several of our health care programs for the last five years.

Teresa Muckala was a long-time friend, having co-managed the local SCIP chapter with me for several years. She also brought a journalism degree and rich experience in medical devices and health care and celebrates four years with Line of Sight Group this year.

(In case you are counting, that is a combined total of 69 years of service to our clients, including me, not counting previous or related experience.)

Wayne Lund joined us as CFO through a referral from Roy O. Roy is the former CEO of a mid-sized organization who graciously acts as a mentor for me over quarterly breakfasts and was referred by Paul E (see above). Our healthy balance sheet is due to Wayne’s oversight and guidance. I worked with Kim Geiser at Optum and am grateful that she agreed to lead our marketing efforts. Several others including Keisha, Sonal, Vivian, Jane and others step in as needed. Still others have joined us and since moved on to other opportunities but have had such a positive impact on our business.

Partnerships with other research organizations have also been an important part of Line of Sight. Doug at the Hedlund Group helps us when clients need help turning the insights we deliver into executable strategy steps. Christen B and David E worked with us to transition our clients to the Intelligence2day market intelligence platform when the opportunity presented itself to provide more features and value to our clients.        

Our growth and gratitude.

I had learned early on in my career from Karen K, my boss when I was with the Deluxe Sales force, to never burn bridges. Besides Deluxe and UnitedHealth/Optum, I had also worked at Jostens doing similar work in market research/competitive intelligence/strategy, and those relationships were vital to getting the business off the ground. From there we grew mainly through referrals and word of mouth. Bill P, former Optum CEO, graciously made several introductions. Cynthia B connected us with several business leaders. Others brought us along with them when they transitioned to new employers. Through the years, our clients, some of whom are among the most respected brands in the world, have trusted us with their deepest vulnerabilities and some of their most sensitive and strategic challenges. And they have given us the opportunity to do very interesting and creative work, and partner with them to solve their challenges. But most importantly it is the individuals, the amazing people within the organizations who have made it all worthwhile.

In the end, while we have in place the right skills, processes, tools and culture to be successful, 20 years in business with Line of Sight is about people – the people who have influenced me and leant their advice, those who have worked with me to serve our clients or with whom I’ve partnered, and those who have trusted us with their business. For all of them, and many not mentioned here, I am truly grateful.