Competitive intelligence (CI) is defined as a company’s ability to collect, analyze and synthesize information about its competitors and external environment in a way that sharpens the company’s competitive advantage.
Companies need competitive intelligence in order to understand opportunities and challenges in the competitive landscape. The purpose is to gather meaningful data to cultivate efficient and effective business practices.
Competitive intelligence practices include ethically researching, monitoring and analyzing information from a variety of diverse published and unpublished sources: competitor websites, the news, press releases, social media, industry experts, customer and competitor interviews, conferences, government documents and public filings. You can survey competitors’ stakeholders, key distributors and suppliers for insights.
Company websites, in particular, have become an increasingly common source of competitive intelligence data. Websites can reveal information about target audiences, shifts in marketing messages, new product product releases, pricing strategies and so on. Crayon’s 2020 competitive intelligence report says 98% of businesses find monitoring competitor websites their top source of CI data.
Monitoring company press releases and social media pages are also common sources for competitive intelligence. Press releases disclose news on upcoming products, newly hired staff and company expansion. Social media posts tend to be telling of products and services that have yet to be launched.
AI-powered monitoring tools, like Visualping, are increasingly used to automate the process of monitoring competitors online – such as their website, social media and press release pages.
Talking to people, too, is another common way of collecting competitive intelligence. Sales staff can learn information about competitors when engaging with customers or prospects, as well as employees when they attend industry conferences. It also isn’t unusual for customers to share information about competitor products and services, either intentional or unintentionally.
Competitive intelligence practices vary depending on the industry, company and specific department. Marketing managers, for instance, may gather competitive intelligence by developing marketing insights to gain market share against competitors. For sales teams, it may be seeking tips on how to bid for profitable contracts.
Regardless, you’re looking ahead, scanning the horizon, and strategizing accordingly.
Businesses often hire trained competitive intelligence practitioners to gather and analyze information. But practitioners can be expensive, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
To more affordably conduct competitive intelligence, many businesses do the research and analysis themselves, using online competitive intelligence tools, such as AI-powered website monitoring software. Competitive intelligence tools help companies excavate the finer points of competitors’ business plans online without having to manually spy on competitors themselves or hiring an expensive competitive intelligence team.
In-depth excavations of competitors’ business activities and plans require more than just a simple internet search. The digital age is upon us, and the internet has become a tool millions of businesses, across the world, take advantage of and depend on.
Competitor websites constantly update with new prices, product offers, marketing messages and banner advertisements. Competitors post on social media daily, and the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) regularly revises its rankings – presenting the inevitable threat of newly emerging competition.
Without the best competitive monitoring tools, manually gathering data for a holistic view of the competitor landscape – and then using these insights to make informed decisions – has become nearly impossible.
For example, website change detection tools, like Visualping, are used to keep track of changes, over time, to key competitor website pages, like their product and pricing changes. You can also monitor Facebook pages, and changes to Instagram profiles for content ideas and user engagement insights.
The information is never-ending. Competitive intelligence tools are essential in keeping up with the myriad of publicly available web data.
With 2 million users, Visualping is the world’s top website change monitoring tool.
Visualping helps you watch competitors’ activities by automating the process of monitoring web pages for changes.
Think competitor websites, for example, in which you can unveil data about pricing, product offers, banner advertisements, team and career pages. By noticing patterns, you can understand competitors’ strategies and leverage your pricing and product offerings at an advantage.
Visualping also tracks updates to competitors’ social media pages, media mentions in news sites and research reports. Crayon’s report says 76.5% of product marketers get their CI insights from reading press releases and media mentions.
When page changes occur, Visualping sends users an email alert that displays an easy-to-read screenshot of all the page’s changes. Changes that were added to the page are highlighted in green. Changes that were removed are highlighted in red.
The Access Site link at the bottom of the alert takes you to the monitored page, where you can view the updates. The View Changes link takes you to your user dashboard, where you can view all your monitors – convenient for analysis purposes.
Competitive intelligence refers to a company’s ability to collect, analyze and assimilate information about its competitors into its business strategy.
Companies need competitive intelligence to understand opportunities and challenges and cultivate informed business practices. The overarching point is to make informed business decisions before opportunities and threats become readily apparent. Competitive intelligence tools, like Visualping are essential in monitoring and analyzing this data efficiently and effectively.
For more information about how you or your team can use Visualping for CI, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.