Competitive intelligence research is a strategic and proactive approach to monitoring competitor activities and understanding market dynamics. Competitive intelligence researchers must continually gather, analyze, and interpret actionable insights about competitors to gain insight into their strategies, operations, and performance to develop their own company’s strategy. To crack the first step in the competitive analysis process - information gathering - here are 7 data sources that you should include in a competitive intelligence report to level up your competitive intelligence program.
1. News Sources
Performing data analysis on news stories related to your competitors can give you a sense of what they're up to and how they're positioning themselves in the marketplace. For open source content, try setting up Google Alerts for key competitor names, and make a habit of checking industry-specific news sites and blogs. Many sites have an RSS feed, but for those that don't, InfoDesk has built a web scraper to help you monitor those sites. If the content you are looking for is from premium data providers, you can usually log into those platforms directly to keep up with news in real-time. We have integrated with industry-leading premium news providers including Moody's NewsEdge, M-Brain, Dow Jones Factiva, Lexis Nexis, and more via our information marketplace.
2. Market Reports
There are many subscription-based market research firms that publish detailed reports on specific industries. While these can be pricey, they can also be worth their weight in gold in terms of the insights they provide and the competitive advantage this can offer. If you don't have the budget for a subscription, try checking out reports from industry associations or government agencies as part of your business intelligence gathering process.
3. Website Change Monitoring
Many competitors' websites have sections that are updated regularly with new product information, job postings, pricing, e.t.c. By using a change monitoring tool, sales teams can be automatically notified whenever these sections are updated, giving you a front-row seat to any major changes or announcements. To help our customers solve this problem, we have partnered with competitive intelligence tools like Visualping to directly integrate website changes into Wide Narrow.
4. Social Media Monitoring
Social media is a great source when gathering competitive intelligence - if you know where to look. Start by following key competitor accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., and add relevant hashtags to your listening rotation on social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite, Mention, or push social posts directly into Wide Narrow via our social connections.
5. Funding and M&A Monitoring
Keeping track of your competitors' funding activities can give you valuable insights into their plans and priorities. Likewise, monitoring mergers & acquisitions can clue you in on expansion plans or other major moves in your industry. Both Crunchbase and PitchBook maintain extensive databases of funding and M&A activity that can be searched by company name.
6. Company Events & Conferences
Many companies host regular events such as user conferences, webinars, trade shows, etc. Attending these events (or at least monitoring them from afar) can give you valuable insights into new products or features in development, changes in marketing strategy, etc. Event listings aggregators like ConferenceAlert.com can help you find upcoming events for specific companies or industries.
As any competitive intelligence professional knows, information noise is the bain of their existence. This is why we recently created a tool called InfoLab. This module allows you to connect varying types of qualitative sources into the Wide Narrow platform and then apply comprehensive filters (assisted by AI) to help you increase information relevancy. Within the first week of use, we have had customers increase their information relevancy score by a factor of 500%. Taking this a step further, our Information Services team has curated a repository of the highest quality sources across industries, tagged with hyperspecific industries, people, sectors, topics, and more.
Effective competitive intelligence programs act as a compass for businesses, helping them understand their rivals and the ever-changing market. It's about gathering and understanding information about what your competitors are doing. Think of it as a puzzle made of seven pieces: news, reports, website changes, social media, financials (funding and mergers), events, and a smart tool called InfoLab. Whether you are monitoring these sources manually - or considering using a competitive intelligence solution like Wide Narrow to streamline your analysis workflow - monitoring your competitors' activity across these seven data sources will help you keep your finger on the pulse of your competitive landscape, driving smarter decisions to outsmart the competition.
Competitive business intelligence research involves monitoring competitors and market dynamics for strategic insights. Gathering information from sources like news, market reports, website changes, social media, funding/M&A, company events, and InfoLab can help you understand competitors' strategies and improve your own company's approach. Key competitive intelligence examples include real-time updates, industry reports, online changes, social media trends, financial data, event insights, and a filtered repository of high-quality sources. Effectively monitoring these sources - whether using manual competitive intelligence methods, or business competitive intelligence solutions - is critical to maintain the edge over your competition.