Companies making decisions about their next steps will often benefit from competitive intelligence. Intelligence about competitors is available from a huge range of sources, and creativity in finding these source is vital. Competitor intelligence services online are highlighted below. The internet is full of tools for competitor intelligence, which have made the job off the intelligence analyst easier. Below are some vital competitive intelligence services.
Corporate or personal accounts on Twitter. Twitter has competitive intelligence quickly become an essential source of competitive intelligence. Twitter accounts belonging directly to competitors, or belonging to anyone else who tweets about competitors, can provide a wealth of data. Intelligence available via Twitter can be transient, and indeed could be deleted, so requires careful monitoring.
LinkedIn membership. Businesses leave a trail of breadcrumbs on LinkedIn about their organisational structures. The service provides a good level of detail on who is employed by a competitor and how these employees interact structurally.
Yahoo’s Flickr. Flickr does provide some good competitive intelligence, although it can be labour intensive to find and retrieve. Flickr has often been used by employees to upload internal company images that they may deem personal.
YouTube. An intelligence analyst may need to devote more time to YouTube than to traditional sources, since video content may need to be watched or listened to manually. That should not stop analysts investigating YouTube information though. YouTube videos are always a potentially useful source of insight into competitor thinking. YouTube videos will also often reveal information about upcoming marketing activities.
Mapping tools online. Visiting competitor sites is often no longer necessary these days now that web maps such as Google and Bing bring this information online. Online mapping services can be used to obtain good imagery and other geo data about a competitor’s key facilities. Slides in a competitive intelligence debrief can usually be improved with map images and photos.