Sources Of Information http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net Wed, 24 May 2017 06:18:41 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Sources Of Information http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/sources-of-information.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/sources-of-information.html

sources_of_informationKeep in mind that the government is a potential resource while gathering information, especially if they are in some way involved with your company. It is helpful to consider them as part of your industry.

 

Check information within the federal government, state and county government, and local government. The objective is to find information such as trademark information, reports, lobbyist information, etc.


Here is a short list of some of the things you can find:

  • Patent information
     
  • Trademark and copyright information
     
  • Relevant licenses
     
  • Whether or not the company went bankrupt
     
  • Education
     
  • Regulations
     
  • Workplace conditions
     
  • Inspections

To find information you can check with the government body itself, on the internet, in your library, at the town or city hall, in publicly available reports, etc.

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Sources Of Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:11:06 +0000
The Internet http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/the-internet.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/the-internet.html

Using The Internet For Competitive IntelligenceNow that there are a lot of resources on the internet, it is easy to not take advantage of their potential. Information can be found on more than just the company’s website if it is a public company.

Here is a short list of places to look for information:

  •  The company’s website
     
  •  Local media outlets for press and other information
     
  •  Online press release distribution services (www.prweb.com is a major one)
     
  •  Associations the company may be a member of
     
  •  Online advertising
     
  •  Newspapers and magazines for information, interviews, and news about the company.
     
  •  Online newsletters (e-zines)
     
  •  Through the company’s affiliate program, if applicable
     
  •  Seek out online stores that maybe selling the product or service
     
  •  Product review sites
     
  •  Chamber of commerce
     
  •  Stock and trading information
     
  •  Online news sites
     
  •  Blogs

The goal is to determine which projects, products, or services the company is involved with. Make sure to check archives as well as current information.

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Sources Of Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:16:35 +0000
Steps For Gathering Information Online http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/steps-for-gathering-information-online.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/steps-for-gathering-information-online.html

It is important to learn how to use search engines to help you find all the information you need. Search engines are invaluable for finding information, even the basics.


Improper use of search engines can generate false leads and waste a lot of time.


Finding the company. To begin your online research, you will need to be able to locate the company’s URL. This is usually straightforward. Just type the name of the company in the search engine box. If this doesn’t work, try enclosing the company name in quotes. Also, if the company is part of a larger corporation, you may need to search for the corporation before you can find the relevant page. If you are still having trouble, call the customer service department to get the proper web address.


Keywords. Understanding how internet keywords work can be invaluable to your internet searches. Basically, keywords are what allows you to find relevant information.


For example, if you want to find legal information about the computer industry, you would type “legal information computer industry” in the search box. Note that you should leave the quotes out unless you want the search page to include all the words in that particular order. This is an advanced feature that should be used only if your initial query didn’t pull up anything helpful.


If using obvious keywords such as the company name or phrases such as “Department stores in Massachusetts” didn’t work, then you can try using other phrases that may not be as obvious.


For example, if you only want to find discount department stores, you would refine your search to read “discount department stores in Massachusetts” or just “discount stores in Massachusetts”.


Advanced searching. As mentioned in the last section, there are some advanced features about search engines you should understand.

  • Quotes – these are used if you want to search for something specific and you want all the keywords to appear in the exact order you searched under. If you don’t use quotes, the search engine may not find information exactly how you expect.
     
  • Word order – Word order is also an important consideration when choosing keywords. The searches “Department stores in Massachusetts” and “Massachusetts Department Stores” may yield different results.
     
  • Common Word Keywords – In general, the search engines will ignore words such as question words like ‘what’ and ‘how’ because they probably won’t change the search results. If you feel as if you need these particular words, you can enclose the whole phrase in quotes. For example, typing “How to find legal advice” enclosed in quotes may be more effective then typing simply “legal advice”.

Links. It is also important to pay attention to link-backs and other information when browsing through the internet. How many times does your competitor appear on other pages as a link? You can actually use your search engines to find this information out. Just type the URL in the search box. From there it will probably give you the option (try at the bottom of the screen) that will allow you to find all the sites that have your competition as a link. How can you use this information to your advantage?

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Sources Of Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:20:02 +0000
Sources Of Additional Online Information http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/sources-of-additional-online-information.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/sources-of-additional-online-information.html

In addition to utilizing search engines to gather information, there are also other places to find helpful information about your competition and the general industry. These sources will help you gain additional insights that can potentially help your company grow and minimize competitive risks.

Job boards. Also, don’t neglect the job boards. Check to see if your company is seeking new employees. What kinds of positions are available? How many positions are they looking for? Does this indicate an expansion or simply a need to fill a position that someone left? Can you determine why that position needs to be filled, if applicable?


Company websites. Company and corporate websites can provide essential information. It is a great time to not only gather the information, but to gauge the overall feel of the company. It is not only a great place to find basics you can also find a lot of other information like product specs, etc. Sign up for the newsletter if they have one.


Other websites. You can also find information for competitive intelligence on other websites such as government sites, trade sites, corporate sites, etc. The objective here is to gain information on trends and products about the industry and not necessarily a specific competitor.


Information gateways. Certain sites are designed to function as an information gateway. These types of sites offer listings for different websites and categorize them so you can find information quickly.


Newsgroups. Newsgroups are similar to forums. You can post a question and wait for replies. To use them, you can either post questions or search to find information. There are different groups for different subjects so find the ones that are appropriate. One word of caution- The quality of information may not be up to par so you may need to do additional research to verify.


Forums. Forums are similar to newsgroups.  Unlike newsgroups they are often attached to websites. You can use them the same way you would use a newsgroup.


Blogs. Blogs are a great way to get information about the competition. Blogs are online diaries. There are free services that allow you to have your own blog, so there are a lot of people who have these online diaries. Both individuals and businesses currently have them so you can obtain a range of information from using them. They usually show up in search engines and through blog directories. You can get company information, customer experience anecdotes, trends, market news, etc.

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Sources Of Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:22:37 +0000
Using Paid Services http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/using-paid-services.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/using-paid-services.html

In addition to using the free information on the internet, you can pay for database and subscription services. The advantage is that they provide a wide range of easily accessible information. This can save you time spent combing the internet piecemeal.

Online subscriptions. Subscription sites organize information and news and distribute it. Services such as Reuters specialize in distributing information and news to its subscribers. Choose from the following list to find the service that is right for your needs:

Keep in mind that they charge a fee so make sure you understand exactly what information you need.

Database services. Certain database services also charge a fee. However, the fee may be less than the subscription services. Here are a few to try:

There are also free database services but they may not be as comprehensive.

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Sources Of Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:26:00 +0000
Traditional Sources http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/traditional-sources.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/traditional-sources.html

Though the internet is a great resource for gathering information, there are also plenty of helpful traditional sources. The best data collection strategy is one that employs techniques from both.

Places to look:

  • Newspapers – Even if the publication is available online, the advertisements may not be included online. The ads may disclose key information about the competition.
     
  • Trade magazines – Subscribe to any trade magazines in the relevant industries that both you and your competition are a part of. These magazines tend to go into more detail about the companies than consumer magazines.
     
  • Libraries – Scour the library for other information such as reports, speeches, directories, government information, etc. You can also survey back issues of magazines and newspapers. Check university libraries, town and city libraries, and some companies even have their own public libraries.
     
  • Trade shows – Attending trade shows, even if your company isn’t involved, is also a good way to see what is “up and coming” about the competition.
     
  • Networking events – Attend networking events that your competition is likely to frequent. Meeting representatives from the company may also present some opportunities.
     
  • Conferences – Companies and industries often put on conferences. Try to attend as many as you can to try to find information.

Your contact list – Tap into your contact list, especially if they also know representatives from the competition. They may have additional insights.

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Sources Of Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:39:11 +0000
Finding It Yourself http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/finding-it-yourself.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/finding-it-yourself.html

In order to gather information for competitive intelligence, you need to tap into a variety of resources. Even if you outsource the process, you will still want to keep informed as much as possible. Doing so will help give you insights into the industry, your competition, and the market that may give you inspiration and insights into current and future trends. If you outsource, you may be too far removed from this process.

Here is a list of practical action steps that will help you find information as quickly as possible.

  • Obtain your competition’s marketing materials and brochures
     
  • Survey your customers to gain insight into how they perceive your product or service compared to your competition’s
     
  • Ask suppliers to share any information they may have learned from one of their customers
     
  • Visit suppliers’ websites to see if you can find client lists. This will help you determine who your competition’s suppliers are
     
  • Buy products or use your competitors’ services and perform your own analysis
     
  • Visit product and service review websites
     
  • Read consumer reports and reviews in magazines
     
  • Become a “customer” of your competition by visiting their stores or locations.
     
  • Sign up for any newsletters or ezines your competition may provide their customers
     
  • Obtain information from the competitions’ websites
     
  • If the company is public, find a way to receive any stockholder reports. You may need to buy some shares in order to get this information.
     
  • Survey or ask your customers if other companies have approached them about using their products or services.
     
  • Ask your customer service department and help desk to take any notes concerning complaints, compliments, questions, etc.
     
  • Attend relevant conferences and corporate events.
     
  • Become a member of any industry membership groups or associations. This presents a great opportunity to network and receive any literature that will have information about your competition and the industry in general.
     
  • Subscribe to relevant magazines, newspapers, government mailing lists, journals, etc…
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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Sources Of Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:41:45 +0000
Using Publications http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/using-publications.html http://competitive-intelligence.mirum.net/sources-of-information/using-publications.html

Publications are even better than consumer magazines for finding in depth information about the competition and your industry. You can look in special newspapers, reports, trade journals, and special industry magazines.

Some publications are also put out by different associations and the government. To get the most out of these resources, it is best to visit your local library. University libraries offer the biggest selection for this kind of information.

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pastoors@mirum.com (Administrator) Sources Of Information Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:42:54 +0000