Finding It Yourself

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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