Competitor Analysis - Figure out where to look (Part 3)
In Parts 1 & 2 of our series on Competitor Analysis "Do you really know your competition" and "Indirect competiton matters more than you think" we addressed how to begin to identify your competitors. Now that you have your competitors identified and have worked out what information you want to know about them you need to figure out where to find it.
This is one of the more time consuming parts of preparing for the collection part of the CI cycle - finding where this information can be found. Fortunately the Internet is a very powerful tool and has made monitoring and collecting this information much easier. Unfortunately the old adage still applies: trying to navigate without a map will probably get you lost.
Before jumping straight in, don’t forget to utilize your internal sources. The best way to do this is by speaking with your colleagues and team members who "roll up their sleeves" and do the "dirty work” on a daily basis. These folks know exactly where your competitors are showing up and being talked about. It could be your sales and marketing teams, or customer support professionals. Pull up a seat next to these resources, have a pen and paper handy, and start taking notes about where they find that information.
Most likely it is a less-than-structured process at the moment, and improving that is probably part of the reason you’re reading this blog. Once you have found out where your competitors are being mentioned, it is time to start structuring all that newfound information in a centralized document/repository so that you can make monitoring systematic.
Frequency is an important aspect to consider as well. Is my competitor posting in social media streams like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis? If so, what are they talking about? How often do they post new Case Studies on their website?
What about the rest of their website? How frequently is content updated? Don’t forget places like government and regulatory repositories where you competition might be required to file certain documents (both regularly and irregularly), and in the process leaving you rich pieces of intelligence.
Your knowledge base will grow enourmously when you arm yourself with a map of who your competitors are, what you need to know about them, and where to find it.