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Some of the most useful competitive intelligence tools include industry publications and online tracking. These sources can provide information about many companies’ methods, popularity, and overall effect on the market. They can also provide a snapshot of the industry and reveal which methods appear to be working well for multiple competitors.
Reading an array of general and industry-specific business publications can be an effective way to regularly gather current competitive intelligence. Periodicals can help a company to keep abreast of developments in the industry and overall economy. They may also provide information about competitors such as the new developments, successes, and struggles they may have. All this information can be used to make forecasts for future industry activity which can help company leaders to strategize.
There are also several different kinds of competitive intelligence tools available online. They include websites that can track a competitor’s traffic, link popularity, and the number of mentions a company gets online. There are also tools that can send an alert when a competitor’s website has been changed. Another tool evaluates the readability of a site, which can help competitors to make adjustments to their own sites.
Search engines also have potentially useful competitive intelligence tools. Keyword analyzers can give companies an idea of what interests their customer base. There are also web analysis tools which can be used to find out how customers search for what they want.
Web analytics companies collect data that is given voluntarily by their clients and then make the information anonymous and make it available so that customers can access and analyze the information. While this does not provide information about all or possibly even most competitors, the information tends to be accurate because it comes directly from the company. The data collected from this kind of company may be more useful because it is provided by customers of the analytic service who tend to have many of the same competitive intelligence needs.
One of the most visible competitive intelligence tools is social media. These sites often provide the most current information publicly available about a company. They can alert followers to new products and track sales and shifts in company activity. By tracking and evaluating the various social media profiles of competitors, a company may also devise a plan for creating a potentially more successful social media presence.
Competitive intelligence is all the different kinds of information that can be used to help executives and other leaders create business strategy. It can include data about competitors, products, and services offered and customer activity. Overall, it is any strategically useful information collected from the external business environment.