Jinfo Blog"Must-Haves" for Your Competitive Intelligence Toolkit

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By Madhu Subramanian

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Abstract

Madhu Subramanian highlights four key sources where Competitive Intelligence professionals can mine information and gain unexpected insights into competitor activities, product and marketing initiatives and executive announcements.

Item

Competitive intelligence professionals need to go beyond traditional sources and look at creative avenues for insights.

In this article, I outline four sources I've been using more frequently and which have provided me with insightful results.

  1. Social media: among other applications, social media can be used to keep a pulse on competitor activities, monitor product and marketing initiatives, and stay aware of executive announcements.

    According to Social Media Examiner's 2014 Social Media Industry report (PDF), 92% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business. A number of social media monitoring tools have emerged serving unique needs and requirements.

    In addition to employing some of these tools, competitive intelligence analysts should also consider how to creatively mine intelligence from sites such as LinkedIn (look for information nuggets about competitors in an executive's achievements section - or figure out the company's partners from the recommendations section).
    SlideShare is another tool that can sometimes give one access to entire product roadmap, customer, or partner presentation.

    Social Media Examiner's report also highlights that 68% of marketers plan on increasing their use of blogging, making it the top area marketers will invest in for 2014. Consider subscribing to company blogs to understand your competitor's strategy straight from the horse's mouth.

  2. Job boards: creatively employ data from job boards as part of your overall competitive intelligence strategy. Understand that job postings often act as leading indicators of a company's strategy, since one of the first investments a company makes for a new product or market is people.

    Sometimes companies reveal more in a job posting in order to attract the most appropriate candidate for the role than on a press release.

  3. Webpage monitoring tools (such as ChangeDetection) and Google Alerts are must-haves if you would like to be alerted of competitive actions and announcements as quickly as possible.

    Consider customising these tools based on your industry, size of the competition, and how frequently and urgently you would like to be alerted.

  4. Google Trends offers a great "back of the envelope" approach to capture end-user sentiment of your product vis-à-vis your competitors in the B2C landscape. An added incentive is the ability to visualise this data in the form of geographic heat maps.

Editor's Note

FreePint Subscribers can log in to read and share more in Madhu's article, Creative Sources of Competitive Intelligence.

This article is part of the FreePint Topic Series: Next-Generation Competitive Intelligence which ran from May-June 2014. Registration provides a free copy of the FreePint Report: Buyer's Guide on Competitive Intelligence upon publication.

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