When it comes to creating an effective business strategy, there is one aspect that is all too often overlooked. Persuading potential customers to buy from your company over that of your competitors does not solely come down to the product you’re offering. Branding and marketing are crucial to driving sales, but knowing how to stand out from your competitors when you have a similar product or service can be tricky. This is where competitor intelligence comes in.
Having an in-depth knowledge of the way competing businesses work is crucial if you want to not only keep up with them, but stay one step ahead. Knowing the strategies they use, their strengths and weaknesses and any planned changes will mean that you are much better equipped to adjust your own activities accordingly, while also have a better understanding of what your clients want.
What is Competitive intelligence?
Competitive intelligence is basically the process of gathering data about your business’ competitors and how they function. This helpful information can include things like how they target customers, their current projects, their strengths and weaknesses, and their current clients, amongst other things. Having this information at hand is crucial in order to work out their next move, outperform them by leveraging on their strengths, and fill any gaps that exist in the market.
There are certain times and business stages where this is particularly important, for example if your business is just starting out, launching a new product or targeting a new industry. However, having a good grasp of the way your competitors work is essential no matter where you are in the process, so it’s recommended to dedicate the time and resources to carrying out this research at least once a year.
There are a number of different types of information that can be extremely useful when carrying out competitive intelligence, such as:
- Social Media – Which social media platforms are they using? Take note of their engagement levels, such as number of fans/followers, and likes and shares of their posts in order to determine the types of content that are really resonating the most with their audience.
- Web Traffic – How much traffic are they getting, and how are they getting it? By looking at the ways your competitors are driving potential customers to their sites, you’re likely to gain an insight into how to get a slice of the action for your own site.
- Email Marketing Strategy – What kind of content do does your competitor send to leads, and how often do they send it? Is it personalised? What kind of tone do they use? Knowing all of this will help you craft your own campaigns.
- PPC – How do they design their ads, and what words and phrases are they targeting? If you know what’s working and what isn’t for them, it will ultimately help you decide how to distribute your own advertising budget.
- Technology – By learning how their site is built and the tools they’re using on it, you’ll have a clearer understanding of which to test for yourself.
Technology Watching – Valuable Yet Underused
One of the most useful, yet underrated, factors in competitive intelligence is undoubtedly technology usage. Gaining a detailed insight into the tools other businesses are utilising is not just for large corporations; indeed, this information has a number of benefits for businesses of all sizes. Not only will it help you to stay relevant by keeping up with new and trending tools, it can also enable you to stay as efficient as possible by increasing productivity and potentially reducing overheads. Another valuable use of keeping track of your competitors’ technology use is that you’ll be able to see how new tools or systems are working for your audience, without having to trial them yourself.
By not staying up to date with the latest technology, your business risks isolating potential customers and missing out on opportunities to sell. For example, if they’re unable to find you on the right platform or communicate with you using a certain tool, they may abandon the interaction altogether. Keeping abreast of the latest advancements in security measures is also vital in ensuring your client’s personal details, including financial information, remain protected.
Getting Hold of this Information
There are a number of ways you can get hold of competitive intelligence data, such as monitoring your competitors’ social media sites, subscribing to their newsletters, or talking to your sales reps. You could also consult magazines and reports in your industry, attend trade shows or interview experts.
There are, however, several potential downsides to these methods. First and foremost, is the cost involved; manually seeking out such varied and scattered information not only takes a lot of time, it is also a very expensive endeavour. You’d need to use a number of different sources in order to obtain an in-depth report on your competitors, and there is still likely to be gaps in your knowledge given that some of this information just isn’t readily available.
Use Global Database’s Digital Insights platform
If you’re looking for a more efficient and cost-effective way to monitor the technology use of your competitors, Global Database’s Digital Insights platform is the ideal solution. We can offer highly accurate and regularly updated information covering a range of different technology options, and is trusted by market-leading companies to stay one step ahead of the competition. What’s more, with our business intelligence tool you have everything you need in one place, saving you and your team a lot of time and effort.
With our competitive intelligence tool, you can quickly and easily build lists of websites that use shopping carts, analytics, hosting, widgets, trackers, security, marketing, advertising tools and more. There are lots of ways you can use our tool to your business’ advantage, such as:
- Identify Competitors – If you don’t yet have a clear idea of exactly who your competitors are, you can use our range of filter options to find businesses based on firmographic data such as industry, location, sales volumes, traffic rates and more.
- Determine Top Players – Find out which of your competitors are getting the most engagement by taking a detailed look into their monthly visits and traffic sources, and determine which strategies might work best for your business based on this information.
- Discover Trends – Global Database can alert you when a website has changed their technology, so you can monitor trends in your industry and see how it affects performance and engagement levels.
Despite the many advantages that competitive intelligence can offer businesses of all sizes and industries, it is still an all too often overlooked process in building a marketing strategy. Monitoring technology use in particular can give your business a clear indication of what’s needed to keep up with your competitors, and ultimately drive more conversions. Although this is often a time-consuming and expensive process, using a reputable intelligence provider such as Global Database is a cost-effective alternative that will give you immediate access to a range of detailed insights.