What Is Competitive Intelligence & How Is Your Competition Using It?
Sergio Oliveri |
 10/20/22 |
4 min read

What Is Competitive Intelligence and How Is Your Competition Using It

Competitive intelligence is what savvy brands use to track how they stack up – and which competitors are new to the scene or gaining in a given space. Competitive intelligence monitoring isn’t just ‘nice to have’ – it’s mission critical. Leading brands know that staying on top of competitor and industry chatter in any given context is critical, and now you do too! Let’s pull back the curtain and show you what they may already know – and what you’ve been missing!

What Is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is the act of gathering, analyzing, and utilizing data collected on competitors, consumers and other market components to inform business strategy.

Right now, competitors are capturing your site traffic and keywords, site changes and traffic sources, and are identifying or dominating white space opportunities, and they’re doing this unchallenged. Their crystal ball is data intelligence, and it’s yours for the taking. You should be moving first on trends that you’re allowing to slip through your fingers. And it’s time to change that.

When it comes to identifying these new opportunities, you need powerful competitor auditing capabilities and top-notch market intelligence. And this is where competitive intelligence tools come in. Say hello to your new best friend. Our best practices guides covers The Importance of Competitive Intelligence beyond what you’ll find shared here. Be sure to check it out!

Competitive Intelligence is Essential – Here’s Why

Competitive Intelligence helps you understand your audience and their needs. It also helps you to stay up-to-date with your competitors, ultimately inform your own strategic business decisions. Actively and effectively keeping tabs on your competitors gives you a leg up in your industry, always keeping you one step ahead. When you have a strategy in place for using competitive market intelligence tools, like Quid, you’re setting yourself up to be successful:

  • Drive new business pitches
    ·      Measure brand perception
    ·      Map customer reviews
    ·      Conduct competitive analysis
    ·      Discover cultural patterns
    ·      Gather creative inspiration

So, where do you start? Keep reading, as we will delve into where to gather your sources, how to conduct a competitor comparison, and what to look for in a competitive intelligence tool.

Gathering Competitive Sources

Of course, you need to know where to gather your intel. And almost everything is online, almost. To get you started, here’s a few ideas of where to look:

  • The social web: This includes social media channel, websites, and apps that can reveal current conversations and shifts in sentiment.
  • News media can inform you of strategic moves, strengths, and threats conveniently detailed in articles. Also, earnings calls and other analyses offer great supplementary intel.
  • Product analysis can be very revealing and it’s available by simply uploading reviews and forum intel for analysis.
  • Customer surveys and comment data.
  • Industry events, conferences, and trade shows with potential market prospects.

Ideally, a brand should be able to seamlessly and automatically upload this data into a single business intelligence tool for analysis.

How to Use Competitive Intelligence

Once you’ve gathered sources and uploaded, you should be able to identify your competition. In most cases, your most threatening rivals will be those with similar market share, voice and audiences. They may offer a similar product or service. Or they may just attract your target audience. You’ll want to play spy, and dissect their movements.

Locate preferred platforms

Perhaps they’re winning on Instagram, and this is a platform that you’ve never considered. Do they know something you don’t about the audience there? Below Rival IQ illustrates what this competitor comparison could look like when comparing two brands on Instagram:

comparing brands in rival iq

Track Market Campaigns

Additionally, tracking their platform play will help you keep an eye on their relevant campaigns to see which ones are resonating with consumers. Are their paid, organic or earned efforts paying off? Knowing this helps you fine tune your own campaign strategies.

Analyze Rival Hashtags and Keywords

Hashtags are a powerful way to reach consumers, assuming you know which ones are trending. Locating these items helps you monitor important category conversations and can inspire ideas for your own branded campaigns.

Hashtag analysis pinpoints which hashtags are doing well for your rivals, and what consumers are saying in these conversations specifically. Is it a contest with people sharing product imagery or a way to reimagine your offering?

Sometimes hashtags crop up organically and aren’t created by brands at all, but by invested consumers––or even potential influencers!

And tracking keywords also provides fantastic intel on what your rivals audience are speaking about in relation to the brand. This data helps you become a part of their conversation, as you can create messaging that speaks to customers’ precise concerns.

It also helps you understand the language they’re using, so your brand can be recognized as a relevant and engaged thought leader in the space.

Consumers are much more likely to purchase from a brand that understands them and connects with them versus one that blindly pushes out product and ignores their needs. And when you monitor the conversations happening around your competitors as well, that picture is far more complete.

And finally, you’ll need to review the findings with your own brand and strategies in mind. How do you measure up? Is your brand being discussed more often than others? Less? And in what context, comparatively?

Also, how does the sentiment story look? Is the conversation positive, negative or perhaps indifferent? How passionate are consumers when they discuss your offerings? It matters.

net senitment and passion comparison

And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what competitive intelligence can do for you.

What Your Competitive Intelligence Tool Should Include

In summary, your competitive intelligence tool should allow you to:

  • Locate your closest competition by audience size and market
  • Understand who your closest rivals are and how their market position may have changed over time
  • Provide side-by-side comparisons of your closest contenders and their audiences
  • Hidden consumer sentiments about a rival’s brand, product or service
  • Fresh opportunities for new and innovative products or services
  • Trend identification
  • Hashtag and keyword analysis
  • White space and first mover opportunities
  • Opportunities for acquisitions and investments
  • Detailed demographics of audiences, not just whether they are male or female, but interests, professions and even brands they love

Reach out for a demo to get a sense of what a competitive intelligence tool should be. You’ll be glad you did!

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