Online Competitive Intelligence

Written by Rylee Newton
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Competitive intelligence is the gathering of information about your competition for use in evaluating business models and developing marketing strategies. In the past, competitive intelligence was achieved by word of mouth. In some cases, disgruntled employees even provided insider information. This method of information retrieval was often unethical, unreliable, and just plain inaccurate.

Competitive Intelligence in the Information Age

Today, one of the most important tools for competitive intelligence is the Internet. For instance, if you want to create a profile of the management team or management style for a particular company, you can find a great deal of information by looking online for things like job postings, employee qualifications and work history, financial records, and business transactions. Much of this information is available to the general public online.

In addition, many trade publications provide insight into hiring trends, innovations, and customer satisfaction. You can hire a web clipping service to monitor media coverage of your closest competition. Media outlets pride themselves on being the first to break a news story, and they also strive to be the first to report changes in the corporate world.

If you want to know what consumers are saying about the competition, you can log onto a news group, chat room, or online forum. These user sites provide insight into the ways in which your competition is succeeding and failing with its core customer base. You can take this information and apply it to your own business models and marketing campaigns.

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