The only way to win is to attack, you can prevent being beaten by defense, but as any football coach knows, defense will not win.
Same in business, you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses compared to the opposition, and exploit the strengths, whilst covering for the weaknesses.
Having an intimate understanding of the key customers, those who will spread the word of your product or service is as good as having the opposition playbook
The only way to get a crystal clear picture of the oppositions position is to experiment, continually ask the questions of them by experimenting, testing, & understanding their response, be restless, and inquisitive, probe, analyse, question, form and test hypothesis. Sounds a bit like the scientific method, and continuous improvement.