How to make an effective competitive intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is a strategic device that allows you to indicate a demarcation tactic for your business. It consists of monitoring several elements that concern competition. This initiative allows us to stay one step ahead and offer better. In this article, we will focus on this topic. What is competitive intelligence? What are the steps to follow to set up an effective system?

What is competitive intelligence?

Competitive intelligence refers to all methods for monitoring the competitive environment on an ongoing basis. This approach allows you to have a global view of your area of expertise. The objective is, as a first step, to acquire information on the actions of the competition in terms of marketing practices and strategic processes. Then adopt an effective marketing maneuver to stand out.

Several elements are to be considered in a competitive intelligence: the communication strategy, the news of products or services, the financial results, the evolution of the structure, the reputation at the Internet level, the management of the customer relationship, etc. There are many areas to watch. That is why the approach must be intelligent. There are also various tools that help collect and analyze data.

Competitive intelligence is an essential component in the company’s marketing strategy. It allows you to anticipate the actions of the competition, to identify the strategic points to develop your market, and to analyze the competitiveness of your offer.

What are the advantages for your digital strategy?

As part of a web marketing strategy , competitive intelligence helps define a digital marketing strategy. By having a global vision of the market, and anticipating the actions of competitors, you can increase the performance of your business.

The steps to set up competitive intelligence

Competitor identification

There are three types of competitors: Direct competitors that offer the same products and target the same audience as those of your company; the Indirect competitors with different products but meeting the same needs as your company; and Tertiary competitors that target the same audience with different products.

Identifying them gives the opportunity to define the path to follow in your strategic choices and in your overall operation. The list should be regularly updated. This information serves as the basis for your analyses.

Collection of information

It is an important step. It consists of collecting relevant information about the competition through different channels: company newsletters, social networks, the website, influential employees in the company, the press.

To optimize this essential work, there are free, easy-to-use tools:

  • Google Alerts : Alerts alerts you in real time on all posts that link to your competitors.
  • SEMrush : is a complete tool for competitive intelligence in web marketing. It helps you analyze your competitors’ trends and websites. In addition, it performs analysis of social media, SEO, SEM, etc.
  • Netvibes : is a tool for collecting and organizing information. With a dashboard, it organizes and sorts information from blogs, social media, and selected websites.

Data sorting and exploitation

It is a step that consists in classifying the information according to its relevance in view of the analysis objectives. It must be implemented on an ongoing basis to be effective. Email alerts or RSS feeds help you with this.

The data is broken down into several sections and then synthesized. Thus, they overlap to establish a clear pattern.

The competitive intelligence table consists of the following elements: the different sources of information, the dates of collection, the names of direct and indirect competitors, the area of establishment, the rates applied by competitors, key performance indicators, financial data.

Dissemination of results

It’s about sharing information internally so that each department receives the information that is useful to it. Information is essential to understand the issues and serve as a guide for strategic decision-making. Analyses can be disseminated as a white paper to teams.

What tools for your competitive intelligence?

For competitor monitoring to be effective, analysis must be conducted on a regular basis and in real time. The work is carried out in three stages: first the search for information, then the interpretation of the results, and finally the exploitation of the data. To help you, several tools are available:

Social networks are considerable sources of competitive information. Among other things, they make it possible to perceive the engagement rate of the audience. This platform gives the possibility to follow the news of the competitors. Each social network touches different segments. LinkedIn is a more professional platform, while Facebook is more popular.

  • RSS Feeds

To save time, the collection of information can be done automatically. RSS feed aggregators are functional tools to accomplish this task.

  • Strategic keywords

Several software that are available for free and in paid version to alert and save content from strategic keywords.

  • Competitive intelligence tables

It is the tool that makes it possible to manage competitive intelligence. It is built around a defined development objective. The tracking is done on an Excel table or a collaborative spreadsheet like Google Sheets. However, more efficient tables are available online.

  • Field investigation

To complete the information, a field survey is necessary. The type of information collected is of a different order than that on the Internet. The means used are also different. Sales teams are mobilized because they are in direct contact with prospects, suppliers, but also with competitors.

Competitive intelligence is a strategic axis that is still little mobilized, but it is nevertheless major. It helps to consolidate the notoriety of your brand.

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