Data is king in big business nowadays, and competitive intelligence data is the gold standard. The data analytics industry was worth $215.7 billion in 2021, according to Statista. This is expected to rise by 27% to over $274 billion in 2022.
It’s easy to understand why. When you aggregate competitive intelligence (CI) at scale you can identify patterns, opportunities, and weaknesses, then devise strategies to address them. By having better competitive intelligence data than your competitors, you develop an edge.
However, there’s a problem – gathering, sorting, validating, counting, and interpreting large volumes of data can be time and resource-intensive. If you’re doing any of these things manually, then it’s a constant battle to keep your intelligence up to date.
Fortunately, you can use AI and machine learning to automate much of the process, allowing you to focus your energy on strategy and optimization. The process becomes much more routine, and it can be outlined in just five steps.
5 Steps to Optimize Competitive Intelligence Data
1. Competitor Identification – Direct and Indirect
Use both market research methods and feedback from customers to draw up a list of between three and five key competitors (those who offer very similar products or services) and 10-50 indirect competitors (those whose offering overlaps significantly with your own).
Use your CRM system to set up competitor tracking. Your aim is to identify when and how you typically win or lose against your competitors. This clarifies your strategic pain points.
You’ll also want to monitor new sector entrants, particularly those that CEOs consider the biggest threats in their industries. You can do this by setting up market watch triggers in your CI system.
2. Goal Identification – Your Own and Your Competitors
Define your own market goals – who your customers are, and how you’ll target them.
The next step is to differentiate these goals from the goals of your competitors. Ascertain what sector of the market your competitors are currently underserving. Could you focus on that opportunity instead? Market overlap is to be expected but focuses on your USPs too.
Finally, based on those goals, identify what competitive intelligence data your stakeholders want, and what format they’d like it presented in.
3. Use Sentiment Analysis to Interpret Competitor Data
Now that you know what you’re looking for, monitor changes in your competitors’ websites – i.e., redesigns, rebranding, product launches, sales, and more.
Research the present and past clientele of your competitors and what they have said or are saying. What are their likes and dislikes?
Next, run a social sentiment analysis, using AI to identify keywords associated with positive and negative sentiments towards your competitors’ offerings.
You can run complex Google Searches using modifiers. For more on this, Search Engine Journal has a handy guide.
4. Set up Alerts to Monitor Mentions
To obtain a regular influx of information, you can set up alerts to monitor news sites, social media platforms, competitor websites, and more.
Make sure you are only searching publicly available data when you create these alerts. It’s vital to toe the line of legality while gathering data at scale.
5. Partner with a Competitive Intelligence Research Partner
Even though you’ll be using AI, sentiment analysis, and other automated techniques to interpret large volumes of data, you’ll still benefit from expert assistance. This is where a specialist Competitive Intelligence partner such as Evalueserve comes in.
As a neutral and objective observer, we have no interest in spinning the data – we’ll present it to you unbiased and true. We’ve been doing so for twenty years.
Our Research Analysts present the human face of our data gathering. They’ll help you to see how targeted data can inform your strategic choices and improve your competitive edge.
Even with the help of AI and CRM systems for data gathering and interpretation, there’s so much irrelevant information out there. Finding the Competitive Intelligence that helps shape strategy can be like panning for gold dust in a desert.
You shouldn’t be spending endless hours combing through oceans of largely pointless data. Instead, partner with a specialist firm like Evalueseve, whose Insightsfirst platform is laser-focused on deriving the information you need, while you focus on creativity, marketing and sales.
We’ll gather, shape, and present the data in a clear and actionable format, so that the decision-makers in your organization can shape future strategy.
Our aim is to develop ongoing relationships with our clients, so that our data gathering becomes part of your market research process. You’ll push us to continually refine our shared methods and in return, we’ll deliver the CI you need.
Visit evalueserve.com to find out more.