The first step in competitive intelligence is gathering data. This process requires identifying relevant data sources and assembling datasets, but many firms find it difficult to find the time necessary to analyze this data.
A more efficient approach involves using technology to gather reliable, robust data automatically. This helps firms avoid the time-consuming process of collecting data manually and focus their efforts on analyzing it.
Sources of competitive intelligence
Competitive intelligence sources are available in a variety of formats. There are paid databases that provide comprehensive information on pricing, investments, and companies. Other sources of competitive information include annual reports.
Both are invaluable in gaining a broad understanding of a company’s operations.
These databases also contain granular data about a competitor’s products, market position, and management team.
Some companies rely on internal sources of competitive intelligence. AT&T, for instance, maintains a database of employees who are knowledgeable about various topics.
This has helped the company gain early insights about emerging competitors. Similarly, Wal-Mart used internal competitive intelligence to build a state-of-the-art distribution system.
Despite the importance of competitive intelligence, gathering this data can be difficult. It takes time to find the right sources and sift through tons of information. Once the data is collected, it needs to be analyzed and transformed into actionable ideas.
This is the essence of competitive intelligence. Sources can range from large analyst reports to more distributed, smaller data points.
Methods of gathering competitive intelligence
Compiling competitive intelligence involves gathering information about facts, processes, and other business variables. It is important for an enterprise to collect information from different angles so it can understand its business strategy better.
The best way to do this is to use various methods of information collection. By using the right methods, an enterprise can gather valuable information faster.
One of the most popular methods of gathering competitive intelligence is by reading company press releases and social media pages.
These sources of competitive intelligence often contain information about new products or upcoming features.
Companies are also increasingly using AI-powered monitoring tools to keep an eye on competitors online.
Another common method of gathering competitive intelligence is through talking to customers.
By interacting with customers, companies can learn about their competitors’ products, services, and business strategies.
The next step is to create competitor profiles. This way, a business can compare its core offerings with that of its competitors.
Moreover, competitors’ customer reviews are an excellent source of competitive intelligence.
These reviews can provide valuable information about the needs of prospects, how well competitors’ products work, and how large their customer bases are.
Tools for gathering competitive intelligence
There are a number of tools available for gathering competitive intelligence.
Some of the most useful include the Internet and social networking sites. Knowing where to look will give you a comprehensive picture of your competitors and the information you need to succeed in business.
Check out the websites of your competitors as well as social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Another popular tool is Social Mention, which tracks social media mentions of competitors.
It offers coverage of more than 100 different social media properties, including Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, and Google.
You can also use web crawlers to collect website data. Most of these tools offer free trials, but more advanced plans have more advanced features like content marketing toolkits and API access.
Competitive intelligence should be automated, and companies can monitor competitor’s website changes, new product announcements, hiring new staff, and changes in web traffic and social media accounts.
Some online tools can monitor competitors for free with a premium subscription.
Impact of competitive intelligence
Competitive intelligence enables companies to identify gaps in their markets and act quickly to gain a competitive edge.
This intelligence can help companies increase sales, market share, and organizational profitability. It also improves productivity and effectiveness.
In the tech industry, where consumer expectations seem to keep pace with wider technological affordances, competitive intelligence is especially valuable.
Competitive intelligence increases an organization’s understanding of competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, and the environment in which they operate. It can also aid in the selection process.
It can help an organization to bridge gaps in the market and understand its competitors.
While it is difficult to predict what competitors will do next, a competitive intelligence strategy can help an organization build an edge over its competition.
A new study examined the impact of competitive intelligence on human resource development strategies. It found that visionary leadership can contribute to a company’s competitive intelligence.