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Competitive Intelligence How-To: Techniques & Sources

key to knowing your competition is competitive analysis
If you keep up with our blog, you should be pretty well-versed in all things related to competitive intelligence. However, if you’re just joining the party, you may need to do a little catching up before you read on.

Ready? Now that you know why competitive intelligence is important and what you need to know about print and digital marketing, we can discuss exactly how you are going to accomplish your goals.

Competitive Research

Head straight to the source

The first place you can start looking for information is the competitor company itself. Do they have brochures or product catalogs? Have you seen their physical location or store? Don’t underestimate how much you can learn by testing their product, or visiting their business for yourself.

Peruse their marketing materials

It only makes sense that a common source of competitive information can come from their own marketing. Check out any advertising, from print to TV and everything in between. What messaging are they using? Where are they advertising? Who are they targeting with their advertising? These are all questions their marketing can help you answer. This can include any public relations efforts the company has used, as well.

Competitive Analysis

There are a few questions to review when starting the marketing analysis process. Have they put press releases on their website or other sources such as journals? Have they been featured in newspaper, magazine or TV stories? All of those sources can give you a firsthand look at their positioning as a brand. It could even give you insight into company information such as revenue, promotions and recent hires.

Online Resources for Competitor Analysis

The easiest, and most expansive, source of information for your industry and competitors will probably come from online. After all, there is a wealth of information available at your fingertips. Try a few of these online searches to help guide you.

  1. Search. Look for industry reports, facts and figures, and any industry outlook predictions. Then look up all of your possible direct and indirect competitors. A simple search online can point you in the direction of helpful websites, social media channels, outside information from third party sources and direct customer chatter on various online forums.
  2. Finance. All three of the big search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) have a finance directory that will allow you to look up publicly available information pertaining to your industry and competitors’ finances. This could be valuable information to use as benchmarks for your business.
  3. Competitors’ websites. This is another example of heading straight to the source. You can learn a lot about a company from their website, such as their history, branding, and where they sell their products. Websites can also help point you in the direction of other sources such as social media pages or blogs.
  4. Social Media. Your competitor’s social media profiles can allow you an up-close look at how they market their products and how they interact with customers. Many companies like to put news up on their social media profiles, as well, so you can gain inside knowledge quickly and efficiently. While all their profiles are valuable, their LinkedIn company page can allow you to see their current employees, recent hires and past employees. This information indicates what they value, and where they are heading in the future.
  5. Review Sites. Hear from their current and past customers first hand by heading to review sites and reading what customers have to say about their experience. These reviews may display similar perspectives to the people you are attempting to target, so their information can be an inexhaustible source of value to your business.

Once you gather all of this competitive intelligence, you’ll be in the position to put yourself above the competition. Armed will all of this valuable information, you’re equipped to craft winning advertising campaigns and close sales with valuable customers. Just remember that competitive intelligence should be an ongoing activity for your business. Set aside some time every week, month or quarterly to check back and make sure you’re keeping a leg up on the competition!

If you could know one thing about your industry or a competitor, what would it be?

Valpak

Valpak

Valpak, one of the leading direct marketing companies in North America, is owned and operated by Cox Target Media, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Media Group. With nearly 170 franchises throughout the United States and Canada, The Blue Envelope® delivers savings and value to nearly 40 million households each month.
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