All businesses are based on the data they can access. However, it's not enough to just have internal data and customer data — your company also needs continuous insight into what your competitors are doing. EValueServe notes, "90% of Fortune 500 companies already use competitive intelligence to gain a competitive advantage."
This information is crucial for developing strategic marketing, product, and sales goals. But it's not just available for the big Fortune 500 companies. Learn more about the advantages of competitive intelligence for your own organization and how you can get started.
Hear What People Are Saying About Your Brand
Proactive media monitoring allows you to keep a pulse on what's being said about your brand or in your industry. You can continuously track major media channels for mentions of core topics or particulars about your company. But you can also use media monitoring to see how your competitors are being portrayed in those same channels.
By focusing on the competitive intelligence aspect of media monitoring, you can learn about new competitors in your space, new product releases, good and bad news stories regarding your brand, and more. After all, your business doesn't operate in a bubble — the more you know about other actors in your industry, the more strategically you can act.
What Are the Advantages of Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive intelligence may feel like a new buzzword or task on your to-do list. But it offers several key benefits that can help your business succeed in the short-term and long-term. Just like you monitor your sales pipelines to see your progress, update your forecasts, and steer clear of challenges that interfere with your revenue goals, competitive intelligence can give you those same insights into your customers' mindsets and your brand's reputation.
Some specific advantages of having competitive intelligence at your fingertips are:
1. Avoid Stagnancy
When you don't know how your industry is changing, you can't change with it. Staying too still for too long can make your brand appear stagnant. With competitive intelligence, you know if your competitors are embarking on press campaigns, releasing new products and services (that either compete with your own or address brand new needs in the market), or transforming their marketing strategies to better align with the habits of today's consumers. Armed with that knowledge, you can meet their efforts head-on and make innovative changes to your own campaigns.
2. Find Direct and Indirect Competitors
Your industry is constantly changing, and a lot of that change will be driven by new companies entering the space. Whether you operate in a regional market with the occasional new competitor or you're in a highly competitive international niche, you need to know when new competitors are interacting with your target audience. Through media monitoring, you can find early indications of both direct and indirect competitors:
- Direct Competitors: These companies offer the same products or services you do. If you're a B2B IT services provider, other IT service providers are your direct competitors. If you're a restaurant, other restaurants with similar menu options are direct competitors.
- Indirect Competitors: These organizations may not sell the exact products and services you do, but they can still "steal" customers away by offering alternative products and services that remove the need for yours. IT training course providers, for example, or themed meal kit services are indirect competitors of IT service providers and restaurants, respectively.
Indirect competitors, especially, can be tricky to see without media monitoring. But competitive intelligence can help you see changes in conversation and media focus so you're alerted to companies with products and services adjacent to yours.
3. Investigate Your Competitors
The more you know about your competitors, the better. It's not enough to know where they are; you also need to know their brand position and target market, their strengths (especially relative to yours), and their weaknesses.
When you keep track of your competitors' strengths, you can:
- See their product offerings and decide whether you want to offer similar options
- Identify what your target market likes best about them and how you can compete
- Determine which offerings you can't match so you don't waste time or resources trying to compete on that point
- Refine your own target market to best secure and retain profitable customers
You don't have to one-up all of your competitors' strengths, but knowing where they are helps you improve and capitalize on your own strengths.
By tracking your competitors' weaknesses, you can:
- Highlight your superior products and services in branding and marketing
- See how they're addressing their weaknesses or challenges to the public
- Proactively learn from their mistakes and limitations
Your competitors' weaknesses may be limited product offerings, not having a playbook for how to quickly respond to a scandal or any number of factors. Monitoring them allows you to find new ways for your company to shine.
4. Find New Opportunities
By broadening your media monitoring away from just mentions of your brand, you gain more holistic insight into how your industry is being discussed across all types of media channels. This includes industry-wide gaps where new customer needs aren't being met, gradual shifts in trends and interests, and even sudden surges of activity.
Everything from slow but building frustration with a common product to a fun new social media fad is an opportunity for your organization to develop new products, new marketing campaigns, and new ways of interacting with your core demographic. But without keeping your finger on the pulse of the conversation, those opportunities might pass you by.
Using Competitive Intel to Better Your Business
Through competitive intelligence, you can immediately know when your competitors release new products, if they're making the news, how they're changing the industry, and how customers respond to them. Use this information to fuel your own strategic goals, increase your presence on key media channels, and create a stronger presence that leads to more conversions.
You can also identify core areas where your company has an addressable disadvantage — that is, any disadvantage where you can resolve the gap and take back customers.
What Tools Can You Use to Gain Competitive Intelligence?
There are lots of different ways to see what the conversations are in your industry, but they can broadly be sorted into 'old ways' and 'new ways.'
Let Go of the Old Ways
Manual searches across Google and general browsing of the news are two older ways of gathering intelligence. While you can still get the scoop on competitors in your industry, this is a very time-intensive process. It can even lead to information overload. There's also no guarantee that you're getting all the insights or not missing key details.
What's the New Way?
At Turbine Labs, we've developed media monitoring tools that can integrate with your company's existing tech stack to keep your company apprised of relevant developments. You can create custom search parameters that are specific to your business. These can be mentions of your company, keywords, or phrases. You’ll then be alerted about key information containing these.
One of the key advantages of taking this new approach is timeliness: you'll get real-time updates on what's being discussed in the media so you can respond immediately to your competitors' actions.
Gain Competitive Intelligence With Turbine Labs
The first step to growing your company is knowing what your customers are saying about you. The second step is to know what others are saying about your competitors (including what those competitors themselves are saying).
With competitive intelligence from thorough media listening, you can stay ahead of the competition with a deep understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. You can then use those insights to determine where your organization should focus to energize product offerings, increase customer confidence, and strengthen your brand identity.
Contact Turbine Labs to learn more about how our media monitoring solutions can integrate with your existing processes.