4 Steps To Win New Customers With Competitive Intelligence
Discover the importance of competitive intelligence and steps you can take to learn more about competitors and increase your market share.
Every company has competitors.
In today’s fast-moving competitive landscape, the battle for consumer attention and wallets is fiercer than ever. In a recent survey, 87% of business executives agreed that their market has become more competitive in the last three years.
You’re competing against companies that sell similar products. But there’s an increasing risk of disruption from agile startups and brands with new offerings.
So how much do you know about your competitors?
The more you know about their products, operations, positioning, and customers, the better equipped you’ll be to stay ahead of the pack.
That’s why competitive intelligence is so important.
In this guide, we’ll explore what competitive intelligence is and why it matters.
You’ll learn the steps you can take to develop a competitive intelligence program at your organization.
Let’s get started.
What Is Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive intelligence is the process of collecting data on your direct and indirect competitors to inform business strategy and decision-making. Analyzing information about your competitors and the wider industry can reveal insights and opportunities to increase market share and protect your brand from disruption.
The Importance of Consistent, Effective, and Efficient Competitive Intelligence
All businesses exist as part of a broader ecosystem. If you only focus on internal metrics and don’t look at what is happening in the surrounding environment, your company can be vulnerable to disruption.
It’s much harder to gain a competitive advantage if you don’t have competitive intelligence.
With so many digital channels, you can gather and analyze a wealth of data. Every time your competitors publish content or post on social media, it creates a digital footprint that you can track.
Competitive intelligence helps you to understand your target audience and buyer personas. For example, you can see how they react to competitors’ branding and marketing, what they look for in a solution, and the channels they use to engage with brands.
It also provides insights to help you position your brand and create more impactful marketing. It can even inspire new product development.
When you know what your competitors are doing and how they do it, you can make informed decisions to grow your market share.
You can see where your competitors focus their efforts and how successful they are at generating engagement and, ultimately, sales.
These insights can help you differentiate your brand, identify opportunities, and out-compete your rivals. Competitive intelligence gives you a micro and macro view of your market and players that can affect the success and growth of your business.
Competitive Intelligence in 4 Simple Steps
Competitive intelligence can be your company’s secret weapon. It can reduce digital uncertainty and help you make better decisions.
So how do you do it?
A competitive intelligence program is built on four key steps:
- Identify competitors
- Gather external data
- Centralize the data
- Share competitive insights
Let’s take a closer look at what each step involves.
1. Identify Competitors
Before you can study the competition, you need to know who your company is up against.
You probably have a good idea of your main competitors. But new competitors are springing up all the time. And it’s not just the companies that sell similar products that you need to keep track of.
Many legacy companies have been blindsided by agile competitors they didn’t see as a direct threat.
The best way to identify your competition is to create two categories:
Direct competitors are the companies that sell similar products and services to your organization. When one of your customers makes a purchasing decision, they will consider you and your direct competitors.
If you’re Coca-Cola, your direct competitor is Pepsi.
Indirect competitors don’t sell the same products and services as you. But they do compete with your company for the attention of consumers. For example, an indirect competitor may be targeting the same keywords as you or publishing content on the same topics.
Once you’ve divided your competitors into the above categories, rank your direct competitors according to the risk they pose to your market share.
Indirect competitors don’t pose a direct threat to your market share, but they may develop into direct competitors. Analyzing these competitors could help you develop new marketing assets, business models, and audience engagement tactics.
2. Gather External Data
Once you know your competitors, you can start collecting external data.
Competitive marketing intelligence data can come from a range of tools and tactics. It can include everything from pricing and products to customer service and social media marketing.
For example, social media listening tools can help you understand how your target audience perceives your direct competitors. You can see the responses to competitors’ content and what consumers say about competing products and services.
Here’s a rundown of some of the external data sources you can monitor for competitive marketing intelligence:
- Organic social media content
- Social media ads
- Paid search
- Content marketing
- Customer reviews
- Sentiment analysis
- Website design and development
- Press releases
- Email marketing
You can monitor and gather data from a huge range of sources. Choosing the right competitive intelligence tools is vital. The right tools can automate the process of monitoring and collecting data.
Your internal teams may be able to provide additional data on competitors. For example, your sales team may share insights gathered from communications and discussions with leads.
3. Centralize Your Data
After establishing your competitors and data sources, you need to centralize the data. This will enable you to perform an analysis and generate insights.
A competitive intelligence tool or platform can make this process faster and more efficient. With the right tool, you can gain real-time insights instead of waiting days or weeks.
The goal of the analysis is to identify trends and patterns. These trends can reveal risks and opportunities for your company.
Competitive intelligence is a powerful tool for a range of business purposes.
For example, you may discover that your audience regularly mentions a pain point or issue when using your competitor’s product. These weaknesses could inform your marketing strategy or product development.
You might discover that your competitors have overlooked SEO and generate most of their website visitors through direct traffic. There could be an opportunity to capitalize on SEO strategies and boost brand awareness and increase website traffic.
4. Share Competitive Insights
Revealing trends and patterns doesn’t offer value unless you share those insights with stakeholders.
The next step is to put your competitive intelligence research to use. You need to make information accessible so teams can use it to improve business performance.
Data visualization is important for ensuring insights can be easily shared and understood. You need to communicate why the data matters so that stakeholders can make informed decisions over the next action.
You can create customized reports for each department. For example, your sales team may benefit from the information being formatted as battle cards.
Battle cards visually compare key features, products, pricing, and other aspects. These sales assets can provide an excellent overview of how you compare your competitors in important areas.
Other departments may prefer a visual breakdown of key insights or a more in-depth report. Collaboration is vital, so gain input from stakeholders early and work in feedback to create more effective competitive intelligence reports for your organization.
You also need to determine how often you will share insights with teams. It’s important to keep up-to-date data flowing through the organization.
A recent study found companies that share competitive intelligence at least once per week were 2x more likely to increase revenue than those that shared insights less frequently.
The need for competitive intelligence is ongoing. There will always be new threats and opportunities for your company. By keeping your finger on the pulse, you can help your company navigate change and secure future growth.
Competitive Intelligence With Scoretize
Competitive intelligence isn’t something you can afford to ignore. It should be a key part of your business strategy.
When you know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, you better meet the needs of your customers and increase your market share. You can gain the insights you need to get a competitive advantage.
Scoretize is a leading competitive intelligence tool that draws data from accurate sources to help you measure the digital performance of your competitors. You can automate competitive intelligence and enhance your digital strategy.
Key Scoretize features:
- Real-time data from extraction APIs
- Customized reports based on your specific needs
- A machine learning model generates a digital score based on your category performance
Scoretize is the simplest and most effective way to generate actionable competitive intelligence reports.
Try it for free today.
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