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In the tech-driven and fierce business world, access to critical information related to competitors has become one of the most common requirements for any company. Considering the proliferation of internet and adoption of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, it is safe to say that the global business landscape has almost become a single market. Since the competition in the market increases each passing day, the rate of change in business also follows the suite. Hence, it has become essential to understand what the competition is doing to survive, grow and increase market share. Thanks to the digital world, we have more than enough information to consume, and every data point can be accessed in an automated manner.
This brings us to Competitive Intelligence (CI) — a process deployed by companies to collect and analyze data, transform that into actionable insights which can be used to take strategic decisions for the future of the business. The primary goal of CI is to locate events, spot trends, and other incidents that can potentially affect your company. It can include everything from aggregating the Quarterly Reports of your competition to configuring automatic searches depending on the business type. In the simplest terms, CI can bolster your company’s reactive tactics and in some cases, place you in preventive mode as well.
Although it is feasible to gather wide range of information related to competitors, there are some essential and easily available information that every company must use. Accessibility has become easier because the web (the largest data repository) can used for harvesting data as web data extraction solutions have become adept at data retrieval. For example, PromptCloud’s custom web data extraction solution can be used to set up bots that can perform automated crawls as per desired frequency and deliver the datasets exactly as per the requirement in a ready-to-use format. Moreover, the managed service delivered by us ensures that you only focus on the consumption and application of data instead of worrying about settings up the infrastructure for crawlers, maintaining them in case of structural changes in the web pages and training in-house engineers. Now that we’ve established the importance of outsourcing for effortless access to competitor data, let’s take a look at the most important competitive datasets.
1. Customer reviews [spacer height=”10px”]
Although it is mandatory for any business to listen to the users of own products and services, it is equally important to understand the customer sentiment and feedback for the competitors’ offerings. This can reveal the features of the product, or service elements that resonate with customers. You can answers questions such as: What’s working with the buyers? What’s not working? What do they seek from the product/service? The source for these type of reviews can be easily established by studying the nature of the business. For example, a consumer product manufacturer (like mobiles or watches) can get the reviews from eCommerce sites like Amazon and Walmart. A hotel company can get the reviews from travel portals and a B2B company can look at niche-specific directories and forums for reviews. Apart from that, some of the social media sites like Twitter and Instagram can also be used to understand how customers are reacting to the competitors’ solutions. Here is an example:
Time for Samsung and Apple to look into this? By the way, here is a post on the analyses of the tweets on the recent iPhone X and iPhone 8 launch. Although Competitors’ data must not be sole criteria for decision-making, this data in conjunction with the data gathered from own customers and internal operations can be used to derive solid insights.
2. Press release [spacer height=”10px”]
This is a great source to gather competitor data — press releases reveal the latest advancement in the company like new clients, products, partnerships, financial reports, analyst reports and more. Since these information are readily available on the competitors’ website, the bots can be programmed to crawl on bi-weekly or monthly basis depending on the requirement. You can look at this data to find out the strategic direction of the company. For example, a company releasing news related new clients or partnerships in a particular geography can mean that they are focusing in that region. This can be used to figure out how that would impact your company or if your company should also pursue similar direction. You can also monitor some the prominent media outlets to gather news on any potentials leaks or future direction of the company from the leadership interviews.
3. Job listings [spacer height=”10px”]
Career section of the company can be a good indicator of the present and future state of the organisation. You can evaluate the type of ongoing recruitment to figure out the plans laid out by the competitor. If a company starts hiring large number of sales personnel for a specific location, it’d be clear that they are expanding in that region. If the job postings for Ph.D candidates in Machine Learning or AI increases, it’d mean that the company is investing some cutting edge Research & Development project. Apart from that you could look at the perks or wage offered (if available in the job listings) by the competitors to improve your talent acquisition plan. This can play vital role as employer branding and ability to attract better candidates goes long way for any company.
Takeaway [spacer height=”10px”]
Targeting, tracking, and collecting competitive datasets unveil critical insights that can be applied to strengthen your strategies. Customer reviews, press releases, and job listings are the three datasets that can be easily built via PromptCloud’s web scraping solution. And, because of the managed service provided by PromptCloud, you can save costs related to development of web crawling infrastructure, maintenance of data feeds, training and allocation dedicated engineers. This will allow you to only focus on usage of the datasets to come up with compelling insights for business growth.