When researching your competition, the number of competitor data points available is almost never-ending. Website updates, job postings, new marketing material – the list goes on and can be updated daily. While a single data point, such as a change to your competitor’s website may not be enough to trigger a decision for your business, it could be one of the first signals of a shift in your competitor’s strategy.
While single data points such as website changes or new marketing material rarely provide substantial value, a series of data points, when considered together, could confirm a strategy that could assist in future decision making. Utilizing predictive intelligence can help businesses uncover and quickly respond to competitor moves before they happen. To confirm a hypothesis about a singular data point, businesses should connect data points from the past, present, and future to respond accordingly.
Collecting competitor data points to identify patterns
Shifts in a competitor’s strategy are usually planned and executed over an extended period of time. This may seem positive, providing ample time to track and respond to the strategy, however it can actually make it more challenging to identify trends in the long run. An extended period of competitor decision making may give your business the time it needs to uncover the signs of a competitive shift, but it can also make it more difficult to see the relationship between signals that are months apart.
A study showed that insufficient data quality, such as scattered raw data, increases the need for individual data preparation, in turn leading to more data silos. These data silos can isolate important information regarding your competitor to just one department in your organization, leading to a lack of transparency and efficiency in decision making. A simple way for businesses to increase their data quality and minimize these data silos, is to bring together all potential data sources into one centralized database. Whether your business uses an internal CI team, a dedicated third-party CI team, a CI platform, or a series of complex spreadsheets, any single piece of competitive data needs to provide certain qualities to be useful in the long run. Cataloging data points with information such as date, “type” of data point, keywords, and other attributes, can improve the quality of the raw data, and allow each piece of data to become part of a larger picture, ultimately providing key insights into your competitor’s next move. Let’s look at an example:
There are several key data points that can signal a competitor’s intent before a major development occurs. On January 1, it would not be obvious that your competitor is going to roll out a new mobile application. However, with the addition of the February 3 data point, you might begin to develop a hypothesis that a new mobile application or app store is in the works. By cataloging both data points, with keywords such as “technology,” it allows for any additional data points to become part of the story.
Harvesting institutional knowledge for additional context on competitor data points
Interviews, annual reports, and almost anything else a competitor does can hint at its next steps. When making decisions for the future, it is important to critically analyze this information to determine what is and is not, important for your business. While you may already have a database of competitive data points, it may not yet be enough to join related signals or confirm an idea. A singular data point might provide a weak signal in isolation; however, the potential implication of this signal could be significant. When this situation occurs, the next step for many organizations might be to frantically search the internet for additional hints. This can lead to overlapping research, information that is not significant, and missed data points due to multiple people searching the vast expanse of the internet for a breadcrumb of information. In scenarios like this, a key source of corroboration is institutional knowledge.
In a perfect world, as soon as someone in your organization learns of a competitor development, they would share the information so that everyone has access to all data points. Unfortunately, reality is rarely perfect. For this reason, when proactively seeking out new information, airtight communication is crucial to ensure any potentially valuable information is available to everyone. Utilizing Slack, and its searchable channels/threads, another instant messaging channel, or your CRM allows for an accessible and easy way to share, question, and obtain knowledge on competitors instantly. Searching keywords in chats and using similar attributes when creating channels and threads, can make it easier to reference and relate these present-day pieces of information to data points from the past. In turn, this practice can create a more unified picture and will hopefully turn a weak signal into a strong, complete signal.
Competitive monitoring adds timely impact
Competitor roadmaps and upcoming releases are not the only important future data points to look at when making a key business decision. Competitor monitoring can be a form of SAT, used to analyze a competitor’s moves as soon as they are made. Dedicating a small amount of monitoring time every day is crucial in helping a business be able to detect and surface any related competitor signals quickly, in order to respond in a timely manner. Competitor monitoring also allows an organization to find potentially meaningful information without dedicating weeks or months to obtaining it, as it is an ongoing process. Monitoring provides an organization the opportunity to quickly tweak and alter any decisions or action plans that may be in place once information is uncovered and corroborated.
How can HelloInfo help?
HelloInfo excels at helping you piece together the competitive puzzle pieces. Competitor tracking, discovering information not readily found through the internet, and creating the visual story or action plan, are just some of the ways that HelloInfo can help you turn your competitor’s data points into key information that is usable for your business decisions. Schedule a call with the HelloInfo team to learn more about the various ways we can help you turn raw competitive data points into an action plan for your business.