Competitive research or competitive intelligence is a field of strategic research that specializes in the collection and analysis of information about rival firms. Its an essential tactic for finding out what your competitors are doing and what kind of threat they present to your financial well-being.
Competitive research is completely legal, its simply collecting bits of information available in the public domain, from financial filings to reports compiled by companies like Hoovers and Dun & Bradstreet. You can also find articles written about companies in local newspapers or on a Nexis file. Online databases are available from soures such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Standard & Poors and news sources such as PR Newswire. And you can use search engines to find information on individual companies.
The Internet speeds up the process of competitive research with data available on so many sites but personal information is also important. You can discuss your competitors’ business strategies at trade shows or in private conversations.
One of the most important topics of competitive research is your competitors’ marketing efforts. Your research should examine all types of marketing, from print ads to corporate brochures and websites. You’ll base your own marketing decisions on what your competitors are doing. Make sure you discuss your findings with your marketing agency to determine the best direction to go in.
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