Ignore what your competitors are doing at your peril!
Competitive Intelligence – getting started
You need a plan of action when you’re gathering competitive intelligence. First, don’t try and track every competitor, customer etc. - you won’t have time and you’re unlikely to stick with it.
- Select three or four key competitors. Think of the ones you admire, the ones you are trying to beat. It’s also useful to add in the one who you think is miles behind you – they may be working on their current position and you want to be ready if they surge ahead.
- Add in a couple of your key customers - it’s useful to keep a track of how they are getting on. You can compliment them on their successes, be aware if they are struggling, or spot new directions they are taking which can offer opportunities for your business.
- Decide what you are going to track – social media metrics (Twitter followers, following, Facebook likes etc), news articles, website updates etc.
- Set up a method of aggregating your data. The easiest way is a spreadsheet – you can download our free spreadsheet here - it has some sample sheets together with graphs.
Sources of information
- For news stories check out Google News – you can create customised views and you can get stories delivered directly to your email box via Google Alerts. In fact, Google Alerts is one free tool you can’t do without – set it up to search for a range of different things – stories and articles that add value to your business, that keep you up to date with current trends as well as what your competitors are doing.
- Keep an eye on their social media presence – check the different channels and see which they are using.
- Addictomatic is a great tool for getting the buzz on a particular topic.
- Social Mention gives you real time social media search and analysis.
- If you want to find out more about their business then you could check Duedil – it’s a free site that aggregates a lot of data that is available publicly.
Do you have a favourite place/tool/method for keeping up with your sector? Share them in the comments section!