17 items tagged "competitive intelligence"

  • 15 Questions helping you plan Competitive Intelligence for 2020

    15 Questions helping you plan Competitive Intelligence for 2020

    The new year is right around the corner and, with that, 2020 planning is kicking off. For the competitive intelligence (CI) professionals out there, how are you adjusting your CI program plans? How are you prioritizing the many ways you can support competitive strategies across the company? How are you aligning your CI initiatives with the business’s key goals for the coming year? When it comes to building your competitive intelligence program plan for the new year, these 15 questions will help you establish the foundation of a winning competitive intelligence plan.

    Part 1: Competitive shifts from the past year

    The first step in establishing your 2020 CI plan is to review the competitive shifts from the past year. This will provide a backdrop to understand where the market is going and how the company has fared in the changing marketplace. In this section, answer the following questions:

    • What were the major competitive events from the last year, and what impact did they have on the market? 
      • Recap events such as acquisitions, product launches, or leadership changes from both your company and your competitors. What impact did it have on market share, brand perception, revenue, or other KPIs? What was the feedback from the market on each of these events, and how did that affect your success against your competitors?
    • Which competitors grew in prominence, and which new competitors emerged? 
      • In other words, how did the actual players change over the course of the year? Are there new competitors that are now contenders, while other competitors closed down or merged?
    • What direction are your competitors going? 
      • Based on the competitive shifts from the last year, where are your competitors going? Are they investing in new verticals, new technology, or other areas to get an edge? Look to signals like a series of product investments, recent hires, or new messaging rolled out on their website.
    • How did our competitive strategy perform? 
      • Throughout the year, your company made many decisions aimed at winning in a competitive market. How effective was that strategy? What were the key activities completed, and how did they perform? What investments were made, and how great was the return?

    Part 2: SWOT Analysis

    The next step is to analyze the competitive landscape expected for the coming year. Leveraging a SWOT analysis allows you to identify opportunities and threats, while also articulating your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Here are the questions to address in your SWOT analysis:

    • What are your company’s strengths? 
      • Identify your company’s unique strengths that allow you to compete and win in your market. Strengths can touch on product advantages, brand strengths, or even operational processes that give you a leg up in the market.
    • What are your company’s weaknesses? 
      • Identify your company’s gaps that impact your success in the market. Being honest about these weaknesses allows you to address gaps, make necessary investments, or even change the rules of the game to favor your strengths instead of your weaknesses.
    • What are the new opportunities for the coming year? 
      • Based on recent and anticipated market shifts, determine potential opportunities for business growth. Perhaps there’s a competitor losing market share whose customers are ripe for the taking. Or perhaps there’s new technology that can open up unique functionality. Outlining these opportunities will set up a productive conversation for where and how to invest CI efforts.
    • What potential threats exist going into the new year? 
      • Once again, based on recent and anticipated market shifts, determine threats to your position in the market. This could include an emerging competitor gaining traction or a set of competitors moving in on your differentiated product features. Outlining these threats will allow you to plan ahead and determine what competitive strategies are needed.

    Part 3: Resources to support CI goals

    Once you have an understanding of the competitive landscape in the last year and where there are opportunities going forward, it’s time to determine the resources needed to achieve your CI goals. Dig into the following questions in this section of your plan:

    • What people are needed to get on board? 
      • Do you need to expand your CI team to address a wider range of competitors? Do you need different skill sets on your CI team to achieve your goals?
    • What tools or technology do you need? 
      • As you invest further in your CI efforts, what can be improved with tools or technology? What technology do you want to bring on board, and why?
    • How much budget is needed to secure the above resources? 
      • What budget is needed for the necessary hires and necessary technology? Identifying these ballpark numbers can set the right expectations about the level of employees and technology needed.
    • How does the business need to support CI to be effective? 
      • What type of input or involvement do you need, and from whom, to have the maximum impact? Are there any organizational or cultural shifts that need to happen?
    • Which business investments are needed to execute a CI strategy? 
      • Are there particular investments in product, marketing, or elsewhere needed to deliver on chosen strategies to get a competitive advantage? Outline them to set expectations about the business decisions needed to follow through on your competitive strategy.

    Part 4: Alignment with business goals

    Building a CI program plan provides benefits to the CI team as well as those outside the CI team. Likely this plan will be shared with other stakeholders - executive leadership, key CI audiences, as well as collaborators. That’s why it’s critical to articulate how this plan aligns with overall business goals - doing so will allow other audiences to relate this work to what matters most to them. While there may not be many questions to answer in this section, they are among the most important to address:

    • What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure the CI program?
      • What metrics will you turn to in order to measure success?
    • How does the CI program support overall business KPIs? 
      • Connect the dots between CI success and business success.

    Part 5: Summary

    As you round out your CI program plan, it’s time to summarize all of the key points made throughout this presentation. This includes summarizing key competitive shifts from the past year, opportunities and threats for the coming year, key priorities and metrics aligned with them, and any resources needed to succeed. Diving into each of these areas gives both competitive intelligence professionals and their stakeholders visibility into competitive shifts and the strategies needed to win in complex markets.

    Author: Ellie Mirman

    Source: Crayon

  • 3 Reasons why competitive intelligence is key for marketing

    3 Reasons why competitive intelligence is key for marketing

    There are only so many hours in a day, and there are a lot of tasks that marketing teams tackle on a daily basis. When we think about competitive intelligence (CI), we most commonly think about its benefits for the product marketing and sales teams. But as new companies are popping up, companies are fighting for the top spot of the market leader. Brands are trying to find new ways to resonate with their target market and ultimately win more customers. Now, more than ever, marketing leaders need to prioritize CI in their marketing strategy. 

    Not only does competitive intelligence help shape business strategies and help evaluate where you need to invest resources, but it can also help solve common business challenges. With the help of competitive intelligence, you’ll be able to craft a strong marketing strategy, improve your competitive win rate, and never be blind-sided by your competition. Marketing leaders might not be responsible for conducting competitive intelligence research themselves, but they will gain immense benefits from having a pulse on every move their biggest competitors make. 

    Let’s dive into three reasons why marketing leaders should prioritize competitive intelligence.

    Spend more time on what matters

    As a marketing leader, you have a team to manage, budgets to build, strategy to plan, and competitors to keep watch for. With the saved time and resources of an automated CI program, you’ll be able to focus more on executing your strategy. With the support of an excellent marketing team, product marketing team, and a competitive intelligence solution, marketing leaders can focus their time on the work that matters most.

    Historically, gathering competitive intelligence data has been manual and time-consuming. Now, competitive intelligence data collection is made easy. It’s often powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, which means the data presented to you is filtered for what’s highly valuable. Depending on what you’re looking for in a competitive intelligence solution, you’re able to drill down in the data to get as specific as you need to get the results you’re looking for. Regardless of who on the marketing team is responsible for competitive intelligence, automating competitive intelligence will help your team spend less time gathering CI, and more time turning the insights into action. 

    A robust marketing strategy won’t be complete without leveraging competitive intelligence data. Whether it’s refocusing budget, redesigning a website, or figuring out which projects to focus on, none of it can be done effectively unless you have a look into your competitive landscape. CI will give you insight into your competitors’ strategies — where they’re investing resources and money, what updates they’re making to their messaging, and which companies they’re choosing to partner with. If marketing leaders have a pulse on that, you’ll be able to build out a strategy that rivals that of your competitors. 

    Better enable your sales team

    As marketers, you want to offer our sales team the right support so that they can win as many deals as possible. You especially want them to win more deals against competitors. So, you want to provide your sales team with the most impactful collateral, materials, and training that will help them sell more effectively.

    One way to make your sales enablement material more effective is by integrating competitive intelligence data. Sure, you’re conducting demo training, providing your team with product one-pagers, and arming them with case studies. But, by integrating competitive intelligence data into your sales enablement materials, you’ll be able to provide your team with all of the information they need to handle competitive objections and win those tough deals. With the help of these materials, like competitive battlecards, your sales reps will never be caught off guard by a competitive objection again.

    If you have an automated competitive intelligence solution, and you integrate your CI solution with your competitive battlecards, you’re better able to keep battlecards up-to-date. And, you’re able to provide your sales team with the most relevant data, at all times, rather than crowding them with too much, potentially irrelevant data. You’re also able to effectively track usage of your sales enablement materials and get feedback from your sales team about what works and what doesn’t. This will ultimately allow you to track marketing impact by analyzing usage and engagement on your battlecards. As time goes on, you’ll also be able to measure the impact of competitive sales enablement on win rates and revenue won from competitive deals.

    Competitive intelligence will help you build more effective sales enablement materials. CI will open up a new avenue of analysis so that you can better understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your team winning more deals.

    Keep everyone informed on your competitive landscape

    With an automated solution, competitive insights can be captured and shared quickly, almost immediately, so marketing leaders can be proactive rather than reactive to a competitor shift. Not only are you able to arm your sales team with up-to-date competitive intel through battlecards, but you’re able to keep your colleagues informed on major competitive shifts.

    Once your CI program is automated, you’re able to build deliverables to share key points and compare your current performance to your competitors. This data is highly important for leaders of all departments to stay on top of. Maybe you present high-level competitive updates to the rest of your executive team, or you have your product marketers and/or CI specialists prepare specific competitive intelligence deliverables for each executive. Even better — your automated competitive intelligence solution alerts your team when a major competitive insight is captured. CI data is critical for all departments to have insight into, as it impacts everything from funding to product roadmaps to customer retention, and everything in between.

    If you automate your competitive intelligence, you can save time, and focus on building out and executing on a successful marketing strategy. Because, with an automated solution, your team will be able to deliver important insights, rather than having to wade through hundreds of data points. So, your team will have more bandwidth to focus on bigger projects that will benefit your organization.

    When your sales team is winning, marketing leaders are winning. Not only will competitive intelligence help marketing provide sales support, but it will also make sure that your team is never blind-sided by competitors. Altogether, an automated competitive intelligence program will make a measurable impact on the business results that matter most. Competitive intelligence goes beyond the immediate needs of your sales and product teams, and is a valuable asset for your whole organization.

    Author: Emily Dumas

    Source: Crayon

  • 4 Ways social media posts can provide competitive intelligence

    4 Ways social media posts can provide competitive intelligence

    Over the past decade, social media has transformed the way businesses promote themselves by opening up new, direct lines of communication with current and potential customers. Unlike traditional advertising, social media is interactive and immediate, and the content is often more diverse and in-depth than what you’d find in an ad.

    With all that in mind, keeping track of what your competitors are posting can provide valuable insights. If you’re starting a social media monitoring process, here are four types of posts you’ll definitely want to capture:


    • Industry relationships: It’s always useful to know who’s rubbing elbows with your biggest competitors, and many businesses use their social media accounts to actively promote their relationships with other businesses. Keep an eye on who your competition is retweeting, reposting, and tagging on social media, particularly on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, for a glimpse at what companies they’re talking to and, potentially, partnering with.


    • Events & webinars: Conferences and expos great opportunities to find out what other businesses are offering, and knowing which events your competition will be attending can give you an edge in terms of deciding which events are worth your time and money. Many businesses use social media to advertise the events they plan to attend, as well as the events and webinars they plan to host in the near future.


    • Customer complaints: It’s easy to find out what your competitors’ view as their strengths, just check out their advertising campaigns. But very few companies are upfront about their products’ weaknesses. To find out what’s not working for them, look for customer complaints and questions directed at the competition’s social media accounts. Many customers turn to Twitter for an immediate response when they have a customer service issue, and those public posts are a great source of insight into the problems the company is dealing with, as well as how they’re handling the complaints.


    • Sponsored or employee-generated content:Native advertising, or ads that blend in with the publication’s non-sponsored content, have blown up over the past decade. Companies are jumping at the chance to engage potential customers through sponsored or employee-authored articles, and the content they produce is often full of useful tidbits. Watch your competition’s social media accounts for posts promoting articles or guest blogs written by employees of the company. Chances are, even if it doesn’t look like an advertisement, it still promotes the business’s products and perspectives.

    Source: CI Radar

  • 5 Tips to improve your user experience analysis

    5 Tips to improve your user experience analysis

    Whatever kind of business you're in, having intelligence about user experience of your customer base is very valuable. Let's say you’re building your designs around actual user research, but you need more information. You need to know how your competitors stack up to your user experience. Where do you stand? Are you missing out on opportunities in your industry? If you’re doing competitive analysis you’re already on the right track. Here are 5 tips to give you a little boost.

    Always go back to your user research

    You spent all this time (and resources!) putting together journey maps and user personas, why would you just toss it out the window because you found a feature that you like? Remember: at the end of the day, user experience is about solving problems and improving quality for the user. What’s right for some users and businesses might not be right for you.

    Don’t be afraid to analyze other industries

    To that point, what is right for another might also be right for you. That’s why we do competitive analysis and benchmarking. We want to see how we measure up to other companies in terms of usability. With that said, don’t forget that a user = a user = a user. Of course different industries will have different needs, you could find an inspiring solution to a problem in your industry be looking at how someone else has solved it. Is your B2B tech software highly customizable? Could you find solutions from a B2C automotive site? Why not?

    Categorize your findings with standards

    When analyzing user experience for websites for instance, it’s easy to measure things like cost per lead or click through rate, but how do you measure the things that you like about other sites? The Nielsen Norman Group has some great suggestions on quality metrics including success rate, time to complete the task, and error rate. But don’t shy away from more qualitative metrics. Your team can get a lot out of in-house evaluation on a 1-7 scale. Just be sure that you’re measuring using the same yardstick.

    Know/explore your limits

    In comparing the usability of your product to other products, you have to be clear about the data that you can actually glean from a user experience competitive analysis. There is some information that is simply not available. This kind of information would include everything from the why of your competitor (Why did they include this/that feature?) to the specific information about traffic (to evaluate if a specific call-to-action is getting the desired conversion for example). Offering a product that works for your user is important. You have to keep testing. And while you won’t necessarily know what is working for your competitor, you can deduce that if it’s been in place for a while, it’s working.

    Dedicate sufficient time

    Competitive analysis can be super time consuming. Especially if you don’t have tools that will automate parts of the process for you. Taking screenshots and compiling them into a collection of meaning observations for your team could take anywhere from a few days to a few months. It just depends on how thorough the audit is.

    If you're looking for an expert analysis on user experience for your brand or product executed by a specialized Market Intelligence company, contact Hammer Market Intelligence to gain access to your customer base via their international platform.

    Source: Kompyte


  • 6 signals that help you recognize the failure of competitors

    6 signals that help you recognize the failure of competitors

    On August 5, 2018, retail giant Toys R Us officially closed its doors after 70 years of business. The company’s financial troubles were already well known, having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September of 2017, but the decision to close its remaining 807 brick-and-mortar locations still shocked many who are familiar with the toy industry. Other retailers, like Payless, Wet Seal, and RadioShack, had managed to successfully exit bankruptcy during the same year, and many believed Toys R Us was on the right track. Still, there were indications that Toys R Us wasn’t going to recover its losses, long before the decision to shut down was made public.

    Knowing in advance that a competitor is failing can provide numerous opportunities for your business to grow. On the other hand, getting caught off guard puts your company at a disadvantage, making it harder to move quickly and fill the void left behind.

    These are 6 warning signs that your competition might be going under: 

    1. CFO turnover: 

    According to a study by recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International with 1,000 companies surveyed, only 4% of businesses saw their new CFO leave within a year of taking the job. Only 15% lost a CFO within 2 years of hiring. The main reasons CFOs cited for leaving were operational problems and a fear of harming their own careers if/when the company went under on their watch. So, if a company can’t seem to hang on to a CFO, it could stem from bigger problems behind the scenes.

    2. Insider sales: 

    In a similar vein, insider selling at public companies can indicate that the company’s future isn’t looking bright. Executives sell stock all the time, often for reasons unrelated to the company’s performance. But when multiple executives dump their stock at the same time, it’s worth investigating why.

    3. Slashing budgets: 

    At Toys R Us, workers across the county reported that cleanings, remodels, and repairs were being overlooked. Sometimes indefinitely, months before the retailer went under. While that information may be hard to obtain, you can identify when expenses, such as marketing budgets, have been slashed. Are they missing from tradeshows? Have their Google pay-per-click ads stopping showing up? Has their display advertising dried up? These are only some of the signals that marketing budgets took a cut.

    4. Unpublicized website changes: 

    Failing companies may quietly update their websites to reflect internal changes that they don't want the public to notice. If you’re tracking your competitors’ websites, keep an eye out for missing product pages, removed executive profiles, and dropped partnerships. Even a general decrease in press releases, events, and everyday communication can signal that problems are mounting inside the company.

    5. Unexpected pivots: 

    To attract customers and appease investors, failing companies may try to switch up their offerings when the end seems nigh. In 2017, Toys R Us started positioning itself as an interactive playground where kids could test out new toys, in an effort to distinguish itself from competitors like Amazon, Target, and Walmart. Borders, the defunct book chain, took the opposite approach by rolling out an ebook service a year prior to closing, in a last-ditch attempt to keep up with Amazon’s Kindle. Both companies made dramatic shifts away from their core businesses in their final days, with equally unsuccessful results.

    6. Layoffs and buyouts: 

    Companies struggling to stay afloat may try to cut expenses by cutting staff. Layoffs are a pretty obvious signal that a business can’t pay its workers, but executive buyouts can also be an overlooked sign of trouble. Senior managers and executives are usually highly compensated and cutting a few of those high salaries and generous penchants might indicate that a company is looking to scale back expenditures at the cost of long-term stability and leadership.


    When analyzing your competition, it is always important to keep in mind what developments for competitors mean to your business. Do you notice one or more of the 5 signals that mentioned above that a competitor is failing? Maybe this poses opportunities for your business. But it can also mean that your competitor is failing because of something that  is also a threat to your business. 

    Always keep your competitive intelligence up to date in order to grasp opportunities or defend your company against potential threat. Having knowledge about your competition helps you to stay ahead of your competition.

    Source: CI Radar


  • Adapting businesses are always ahead of their competition

    Adapting businesses are always ahead of their competition

    Firms need a new formula for success to stay competitive in the age of the customer, agility alone is not enough. We see many CIOs and their teams doubling down on agility as a means to cope with the accelerating pace of business. This is a result of people and technology evolving in complex upward spirals.

    While being agile is a good delivery strategy within a set business model, research finds that to stay ahead of technology-human loops, businesses must proactively rethink themselves and adapt or risk getting left behind.

    These firms, which we call 'adaptive businesses', will likely dominate firms that only deliver with agility. Adaptive businesses will win by identifying future opportunities and proactively reconfiguring themselves. Forrester’s 2019 North American Online Innovation Survey shows that advanced adaptive companies have 3.2 times greater revenue growth compared to industry averages, while beginning firms are not growing at all.

    Agility is a foundation, but to achieve this level of growth and future market leadership, adaptive businesses firms must become more adaptive by doing several things better. Here are three main ones:

    • Acting on insights. An adaptive business alters its business concept based on insights that improve the company’s odds of fulfilling future customer demand. For example, CVS understood the customer trend toward self-service and clinic-based healthcare far ahead of its competitors in its pivot from beauty supplies to prescriptions and through its acquisition of MinuteClinic. It is carrying that conviction forward by transforming itself into a healthcare powerhouse through further acquisitions such as Aetna.
    • Leveraging platforms to deliver new value. Technological advancements lower the barriers to change, so companies that are more technologically sophisticated will more easily transition to new business models. Mastercard was far ahead of its competition in building a big data analytics platform. Today, it has leveraged its technology platform to extend its core business with fraud solutions, B2B payments, and business optimization services like Mastercard Track.
    • Building a culture that embraces change. Adaptive businesses adopt new business models more quickly and thus require employees to have more mental flexibility and less fear of change. While the industry has overused Netflix as a platform example, we think is culture as expressed by its now famous “five rules” established a culture of adaptability. By inspiring employees, the company has evolved from an antiquated mailing service to streaming pioneers, to original content production.

    The idea of business adaptiveness is a core theme of research that draws together two research streams: technology-driven innovation and the future of work, as well as many other of the most important research ideas on insights, digital platforms, and agile delivery. It is an advanced concept that we are holding up as the bar for future business excellence.

    Is your bsuiness becoming 'adaptive'? We hope so.

    Author: Brian Hopkins

    Source: Inofrmation-management

  • B2B and B2C: Challenging the traditional paradigm

    We often - and quite rightly - talk about the very real distinctions between B2B and B2C markets, buyers and decisions. However, the traditional paradigm of ‘B2B as rational’ and ‘B2C as emotional’ is being challenged by an increasingly strong undercurrent of discussion about the thoughts, feelings and emotions of B2B buyers and decision makers as individuals – not just as representatives of the corporations they work for.

    A B2B buyer is not solely an agent of the business they work for, and they do not exist in a vacuum. They are a human being with emotions, preferences, and a life that exists outside of their workplace. And, outside of work, they are a consumer. It is inevitable that our expectations as B2B buyers are shaped, to some degree, by our experiences as consumers in the B2C world. Therefore, in addition to the space that is being carved out for the ‘human’ in B2B decision making, much can be gained by recognising the ‘consumer’ as an additional influence.

    The consumer, as I’m sure we can all recognise, is faced with an overwhelming choice of products and services; able to order for next day delivery, at the click of a button; familiar with the ‘personalities’ of our favourite brands through prolific social media presence. These three elements of the consumer experience – access to a wider than ever range of options, ability to quickly and easily acquire products, and exposure to a strong social media presence – are all relatively recent phenomena, but have become so prevalent that many of us can’t imagine our daily lives and purchasing experiences in any other way. As the bar has been continually raised by B2C companies in terms of the choice, access and exposure they offer – so too have our expectations as consumers risen exponentially. For many of us, these high expectations will be translated into our lives at work, influencing our expectations as buyers in a B2B context.

    In her article ‘Too Much Choice’, Eva Krockow uses the example of a coffee shop to illustrate the overwhelming amount of choice available to consumers – Starbucks, she says, offers a choice of 80,000 different drinks combinations. Disadvantages of such abundant options aside (decision paralysis, disappointment or self blame) freedom of choice and maximum product variety is still very much expected by consumers, due to the liberal belief that making our own decisions will lead to increased happiness and wellbeing. Taking into account the aforementioned importance of emotions in B2B buying, it makes sense that the same underlying motivation and desire for variety also applies here – particularly when buyers are used to this desire being met when they are operating as consumers, outside of work.

    Furthermore, in the consumer sphere, potential stress caused by an overload of choice is partially tackled through the use of numerous comparison and review services – usually websites – to aid the consumer in making a choice. These decision making aids are not always so readily available in B2B markets – mostly because, by definition, the target audience for products and services is much smaller. One particular area where we have noticed this in our own research is in the utilities sector. While it is very easy for consumers to compare a range of utilities offers from different suppliers on one web page, this is not always an option that is widely available to businesses. The utilities being sold are the same as in the consumer space, the suppliers are often the same, and B2B buyers are used to quick and easy comparison in their lives as consumers – it can therefore be disappointing when the expectations they have built up as consumers are not lived up to in their work interactions. The disconnect between the B2C experience and the B2B experience is apparent.

    Convenience – including next day, or even same day, delivery – may be the most important reason behind the rise in online sales. While experts tend to believe that physical shops will continue, the decline of the high street is difficult to ignore – in the first nine months of 2018, 1,000 retail businesses went into administration and 85,000 retail jobs disappeared from Britain’s high streets.

    B2B online sales are also on the rise, and are predicted to reach over $6.6 trillion globally by 2020. However, many B2B companies remain at least ten years behind where they should be in terms of digital transformation. While it’s true that running a B2B ecommerce channel is often more complex than for B2C – due to B2B’s higher value sales, wider range of payment methods, and complicated catalogues – B2B customers increasingly expect to be able to buy the products they need through multiple online channels, and for those products to be delivered more quickly than they ever have been before – just as they do in their lives as consumers. However, websites of B2B companies are often digital catalogues, containing product information but lacking the ability to actually make the purchase online. Features of successful B2B ecommerce websites include showing prices to signed-in customers who have individually negotiated terms, inclusion of a 24/7 online chat feature, and the ability for customers to save a custom order in order to easily repurchase it. Features like this allow the B2B buyer to replicate their quick and easy consumer experience when purchasing for their business, while the additional needs and challenges of B2B ecommerce are still accommodated.

    There has been a significant amount of commentary about the use of social media in B2B marketing, with a growing consensus that these channels do have a place within the strategies of B2B brands. There are numerous examples of B2C brands with successful social media strategies – one being the baking brand Greggs which has become known for its humorous Twitter feed, most recently handling the backlash to its newly-introduced vegan sausage roll. But it can be difficult for B2B companies to see a place for themselves in this playful landscape. Outside of LinkedIn, which is focussed specifically on business, many B2B companies have a relatively low social media profile. However, and especially considering the increased importance given to establishing emotional connections with B2B buyers, social media is important as it offers a forum for B2B companies to connect more closely and authentically with their target market. Examples of successful B2B social media campaigns include MarketStar’s ‘The Evolution of the “Zombie” Lead’, which uses graphics and storytelling to engage its Twitter followers. Storytelling on social media is one strategy allowing B2B brands to maintain their professional image, while engaging followers with interesting content that reflects the brand’s personality. The use of engaging visual content, particularly on image-based channels like Instagram, can also be very effective for B2B brands.

    The differences between B2C and B2B markets will always be important, but there is much to be gained from considering the similarities. All B2B decision makers have a not-so-secret double life as a consumer, and it is inevitable that experiences enjoyed in the B2C world will shape expectations of what can be achieved in a B2B context.

    Author: Lorna Finlay

    Source: B2B international

  • Five fundamental topics in Commercial Due Diligence (CDD)

    Five fundamental topics in Commercial Due Diligence (CDD)

    Commercial Due Diligence (CDD) is a vital aspect of the pre-investment process for private equity firms and investors. CDD is typically conducted before buying negotiations begin, in order to allow the potential buyer to assess the risks and potential of the target company before proposing an offer. CDD is often performed alongside Financial Due Diligence and Legal Due Diligence.

    ''The purpose of CDD is to provide a holistic and comprehensive picture of the internal and external environment of the target company.''

    Acquiring a business is complex and challenging. A solid CDD process is always necessary in order to support a buying decision. It is desirable to get a clear view of the targets’ commercial attractiveness, it is even more of interest to conduct solid CDD when investors are not familiar with the market their potential target is operating in. Markets have their own dynamics and characteristics and can easily appear attractive on the outside. CDD should warn investors from targeting a company that appears attractive (based on its prior financial results and historic growth) but is actually active in a market threatened by competitive innovation, new regulations, shift in demand or other disruptive events.  

    The specific structure of a CDD report depends on the party responsible for delivery, the target company, scope of the research, timeline and available budget. Still, some fundamental topics are (almost) always present in the report:

    Target Company

    Of course, intelligence needs to be collected about the target company. It is essential to make an assessment of the achievability of their business plan; is it realistic taken into account the internal and external environment? How does the current cost structure look? Additionally, it is vital to learn more about the company’s historic and future strategy.

    Also, recent developments within the company need to be considered. Was there a recent change in management team, restructuring, capacity expansion or lawsuit? The portfolio of the target company also needs to be assessed. How is their portfolio diversified and what are makes their products or services unique? This will provide a first indication of the competitive edge of the target company. In a further stage of the analysis this information is used to create a solid understanding of the ability to compete of the target company.


    In order to provide a decent assessment of the market the target is operating in; it is of utmost importance to get insight in where the market is heading. Is the market mature? Which growth drivers and key developments do we see? Is the market susceptible for disruption? Can we identify a regulatory framework? Which substitute markets are evolving?

    Sometimes, data about a certain market is not available. In that case it is necessary to estimate or model the actual and obtainable market value to get reliable insights in market shares and market growth. All the insights combined give a clear understanding about how market developments affect the (future) value of the target company. 


    Competition plays a major role in assessing the commercial attractiveness of the target company. Creating a better understanding of the competitive playing field is crucial. How are market shares divided among competitors? What is the intensity of the rivalry? Can the market be seen as consolidated or fragmented? Part of this is creating competitor profiles of the key competitors and identify how the target company is positioned in the value chain.

    Next, it is necessary to estimate future competitive threats. Think about companies competing in a related market, or companies from other geographical markets with expansion drift. Depending on the level of competitive intensity within a market, new competitors will enter the playing stage. The entrance of new competitors in a market is more likely when there are high profit margins, no major entry barriers and when there is still a high future growth potential.


    In analysis of customers of the target company, it is imperative to first define who we see as a (potential) customer. This demarcation helps to keep focus and reduce the scope. Next, customer profiles can be made with the right segmentation. Are the customers other companies or consumers? What is their purchasing behaviour? Are customers easily switching between different brands? What are they willing to spend? Also, conducting an order analysis and get understanding of the distribution channel is essential.

    A crucial element are the key buying criteria; are customers making their purchase decision based on price, quality or service, and how is the target company performing on those criteria?

    Relevant buying criteria provide context for solid competitor analysis, it enables to draw a framework in which the competitors and their products can be valued or scored. It also supports in assessing whether the target company has a strong and defendable position with respect to customers. Pinpointing the right buying criteria is a tough task, but when done right, the information is invaluable.

    Revenue and pricing

    Last but not least it is useful to take a deeper look into the balance sheet, P&L and cash flow of the target company. Where is the main revenue deriving from? Are cost and revenue projections reasonable? How much can the target company be expected to make over a set period of time? Prices can fluctuate over time; what is the forecast for prices in the future and what factors affect the price? Examining revenue and pricing structures can also be shared with activities performed in Financial Due Diligence.

    Of course this list is not complete. The exact content of a CDD report truly depends on the profile of the target company and the specific characteristics of the business environment. However, these five topics are always present and absolutely essential as building blocks for a solid CDD report.

    Author: Kees Kuiper

    Source: Hammer, market intelligence

  • How digital breadcrumbs can help to achieve the right intelligence

    How digital breadcrumbs can help to achieve the right intelligence

    The concept of a digital breadcrumb trail isn’t new. In the digital world, intentionally or unintentionally, we leave behind a trail of information that can reveal a lot about us. The web pages we visit, the links that we click on, our location, browsing history, our device, everything reveals something about us. Notice that cookie that you need to accept on a website? That’s a digital breadcrumb you’re leaving behind. These breadcrumbs are used by B2C companies like Google and Facebook to put together our consumer profile and then make billions of dollars by showing us ads off of those profiles.

    Surprisingly, B2B companies haven’t been able to leverage the power of digital breadcrumbs to develop their market and competitive intelligence strategies. Just like consumers, companies also leave behind digital breadcrumbs such as a tweet about an event, a job posting on their careers page, a blog post announcing new features, a new case study, changes on the management page, customer comments on a review site, discussion forums, press announcements, news coverage, and much more. In the context of B2B companies, the word ‘digital breadcrumbs’ was first coined by Meltwater CEO Jørn Lyseggen in his book Outside Insight.

    Digital breadcrumbs are any information that might not mean much in isolation, but reveal valuable insights when collected, organized, and analyzed in a structured manner over a period of time.

    While implementing market and competitive intelligence solutions at some of the world’s leading companies, we’ve discovered novel ways in which the smartest teams use digital breadcrumbs to gain competitive insights. Here are a few handpicked, real-life examples from our experience that illustrates this concept.

    Industrial accidents: the digital breadcrumbs that helped a company generate sales leads

    Sales teams have one of the most critical and challenging roles in the company: they bring in the money. The sales team of a safety equipment manufacturing firm often complained of missing opportunities because they did not receive the right lead from their marketing team at the right time. As a result, the company was losing revenue opportunities to the competition. The marketing team started to look for leading signals that might point to a requirement for safety equipment. Their experienced salespeople told them that it usually takes an industrial accident for the management, to realise the importance of safety and invest in the right equipment.

    This information was publicly available as such mishaps are covered by the local news. Similarly, another leading indicator of potential leads was the expansion or announcement of new projects, which results in a new facility being built or tenders announced by the government. By tracking such news reports of industrial accidents, facility openings, and tenders announced by the government, the company was able to build a sales pipeline worth $5 million in the first three months of implementing our Market and Competitive Intelligence platform.

    Negative news: the digital breadcrumbs that helped a bank avert business risk

    When a bank lends money to businesses, it often runs the risk of not getting their money back, should the business fail. Good banks are better at managing their risk exposure. Therefore, instead of just relying on voluntary disclosures by current and potential clients, a European bank, after lending money, proactively tracked negative news on these companies and monitored their filings with the United Kingdom’s Companies House for signals of potential business risks.

    These signals included publicly available information about management changes, lawsuits involving directors, litigations, fines, money laundering, liquidation, and corruption. With this intelligence practice in place, the bank reduced the time for flagging risky accounts by 80%.

    Job postings: the digital breadcrumbs that revealed competitors’ next big move

    In a hyper-competitive market, knowing where your competitors are headed is an important strategic advantage. Consider the case of a Fortune India 500 IT services major with $9 billion in annual revenues. The company was looking to focus on blockchain and wanted to ascertain which of their competitors were also focusing on this new space. By looking at the job postings of their competitors for blockchain-related roles in specific regions, their market and competitive intelligence team was able to intelligently predict specific competitors they would be up against.

    Sales signals: the digital breadcrumbs that enabled a sales team to engage with prospects

    A common strategy for B2B companies selling to large enterprises is account-based sales development (ABSD). Instead of trying to sell to everyone and spreading themselves thin, enterprise sales teams focus on a few high-value accounts to deep-dive into. The healthcare division of a Fortune 500 IT major was seeing success with its ABSD strategy but was looking to cut down on the lengthy sales cycle. They realised that account managers that were having personalised conversations with prospects and following up with them frequently were closing deals sooner than the others.

    They started tracking their key accounts for conversations starter signals such as event participation, awards, new office opening, and leadership changes. These signals,  'conversation starters', gave the opportunity to the sales teams to follow-up with the right context without being a nuisance. By scaling this activity across the sales team, they were able to get to a point where 90% of their account managers reported finding opportunities to engage with their prospects.

    So the question remains, if there is value in tracking these digital breadcrumbs, then why do companies tend to overlook them? We think it is because it’s usually easier said than done. It is overwhelming to identify such signals in the extremely noisy place like the internet without the aid of sophisticated tools that are specifically engineered for this purpose. As it turns out, the first step towards building a market-intelligent company is to define the goals of your market intelligence programme. As you might have already noticed, in all the examples above, there was a clearly defined goal which helped these companies identify and capture the right digital breadcrumbs.

    Author: Mohit Bhakuni

    Source: Contify

  • How to make a case for the importance of competitve intelligence

    How to make a case for the importance of competitve intelligence

    Whether you’re in product developmetn, sales or marketing, if you deal with competitive intelligence (CI) gathering, you already know how important it is to your business. You see how much information exists in your industry space, and you probably spend significant time and effort capturing and interpreting that data. It’s all worth it though, because the insights you uncover help keep your business on top. You know that an investment in CI is an investment in your future competitiveness.

    But when it comes to garnering executive support, the case for CI isn’t always self-explanatory. Executives often lack firsthand knowledge and context when it comes to the ins and outs of intelligence gathering. They see the end results, but they don’t see the late nights and last-minute scrambles that go into producing those results.

    In order to secure the funding and resources you need to keep your CI system running smoothly, keep these points in mind:

    Emphasize inevitability

    Competitive intelligence is more than a trend, it’s an old concept that’s been given new life by advanced web-scraping technologies, allowing businesses to gather information at an unprecedented rate. In 2015, around 17% of US businesses surveyed were using some form of data-gathering technology to inform business decisions. In 2018, that number rose to 59%. That type of expansion signals that whether it happens today, tomorrow, or next year, your business will inevitably find a reason to invest in intelligence gathering. So why wait and fall further behind the competition? Nobody wants to feel like they’re missing out on the next big technological breakthrough, and you can use that to your advantage when you’re looking for executive investment.

    Bring the numbers

    If abstract benefits aren’t enough to make your case, take a look at your company’s recent history. Find instances where intelligence gathering has had a measurable impact on your business’s finances. Better yet, find instances where overlooked information caused your company to miss out on a profitable opportunity. These anecdotes will drive home the concept that good CI is directly linked to your business’s financial health. In fact, 92% of executives surveyed in 2018 said that data gathering and analysis is 'extremely' important to their companies’ successes. It’s no longer a luxury, it’s an investment your business can’t afford not to make.

    Think ‘better, stronger, faster’

    Once you have the c-suite’s attention, it’s time to talk potential. Whatever your current CI process looks like, chances are it could be improved. Whether you proactively skim the competition’s social media or play catch-up after major announcements, you’re probably not grabbing as much data as you could be, or distributing it as efficiently as you could with a competitive intelligence service. In a 2018 Grid report, businesses already using an intelligence platform achieve on average a 51% adoption rate among users. If 49% of your workforce is left out of the CI process, you’re undoubtedly missing out on the valuable insights those employees might be able to offer.

    Building out your CI process means ensuring that you’re capturing, organizing, and distributing information to the stakeholders who need it, in a timely and efficient manner. If you don’t have a full-time staff member or team devoted to it, developing and implementing this type of process can be a daunting task. That’s why more and more businesses are choosing to outsource their CI gathering needs.

    Source: CI Radar

  • Ken je concurrenten: het belang voor product managers en marketeers

    Schermafbeelding 2018 06 12 om 16.26.15Staand voor het Retail schap maakt de consument in recordtempo een veelheid aan afwegingen. Krijg ik waar voor mijn geld? Hoe is de prijs? Wat koop ik echt? Is het gezond? Hoe weet ik dat het ene product gezonder is dan het andere? Een complex samenspel van afwegingen dat leidt tot het wel óf niet plaatsen van het product in het winkelmandje. Dit fenomeen doet zich niet alleen voor in de supermarkt maar ook bij klanten in allerlei andere (online) verkoop omgevingen.

    Leveranciers ‘helpen’ de consument door op de verpakking te vertellen wat er in zit: bijvoorbeeld ‘vol met gezonde plantsterolen’ of ‘verlaagt de bloeddruk’. De klassieker ‘goed voor hart en bloedvaten’ is misschien wel de bekendste voedingsclaim aller tijden. 

    De klant lijkt met deze informatie geholpen. Lijkt! Want is dit ook echt zo? Natuurlijk, in eerste instantie wel. Maar als zij even langer doordenkt roept de marketing claim natuurlijk nieuwe vragen op (zoals informatie altijd leidt tot nieuwe vragen: dat is hèt kenmerk van informatieprocessen). Nieuwe vragen zijn: Hoe gezond zijn die sterolen nu eigenlijk? Hoeveel zitten er in de alternatieve producten die er niet over reppen? Wat doet een plantsterool voor mij? 

    Conclusie: Product gerelateerde informatieverstrekking via claims is al snel aan erosie onderhevig bij een steeds slimmer wordende consument. Dat betekent dat naarmate de tijd voortschrijdt steeds meer of specifiekere informatie moet worden toegevoegd. Daarmee worden data en informatie een intrinsiek onderdeel van het product!

    Deze ontwikkeling is natuurlijk prima voor de consument maar stelt nieuwe eisen aan de product manager en marketeer. Deze moet zorgen voor steeds specifiekere en valide productinformatie die aangeeft hoe het product zich onderscheidt van andere producten.

    Dit betekent dat de product manager de concurrentie zo goed moet kennen dat hij of zij op eigenschap- of ingrediënt niveau kan vertellen hoe het product zich onderscheidt van andere producten. Alleen dan kunnen slimme en valide claims worden gekozen en zo helder mogelijk aan de klant worden gecommuniceerd.

    In een markt die steeds kennisintensiever wordt, speelt competitive intelligence (CI) een steeds belangrijkere rol in product management en marketing communicatie. Operationele CI is effectief toe te passen in drie stappen.

    1. Data gedreven ontleden van concurrerende producten

    Het maken van slimme claims vereist dataverzameling over concurrerende producten. Langs voor de doelgroep relevante dimensies moeten concurrerende producten worden geïdentificeerd en in kaart worden gebracht om tot een adequate productvergelijking te komen. 

    Databeschikbaarheid maakt het inventariseren van producteigenschappen meer of minder makkelijk. Dit verschilt per product. Van levensmiddelen is vaak data beschikbaar via productdeclaraties die op de verpakking te vinden zijn. Daarnaast zijn er (vaak dure) databases waarin deze producten zijn terug te vinden. Niet voor ieder product zijn de eigenschappen eenvoudig te achterhalen. Soms zijn daar creatieve datacollectie methoden voor nodig. 

    2. Analyse van producteigenschappen op relevante dimensies

    Om tot zinvolle inzichten te komen moet de verzamelde data worden geïnterpreteerd langs voor de doelgroep relevante dimensies. In het voorbeeld van het levensmiddel kunnen deze dimensies bijvoorbeeld zijn ‘voorzien in energiebehoefte’, ‘mate van verzadiging’, ‘bijdrage aan spieropbouw’, ‘calorie rijkheid’, etc., etc. 

    Producten kunnen goed of minder goed op deze dimensies scoren. Voor diverse claims is het van belang te begrijpen hoe deze assen zich tot elkaar verhouden. Als een product claimt bij te dragen aan gewichtsvermindering is de as ‘rijkheid aan calorieën’ maar ook ‘mate van verzadiging’ van belang. De aanwezigheid van een bepaald ingrediënt kan op de ene as een hoge score opleveren terwijl het juist op de andere as tot een lagere score leidt. Om tot een valide claim te komen niet onbelangrijke informatie! Een sprekend voorbeeld is het ‘light’ product wat in zichzelf misschien wel ‘light’ is, maar tot weinig verzadiging leidt waardoor men daarna weer snel andere producten tot zich gaat nemen. Een voor de doelgroep relevante interpretatie van de verzamelde data staat in deze stap van operationele CI centraal. 

    3. Inzichten concreet maken door mogelijke acties te benoemen

    Tenslotte is de proof of de pudding natuurlijk in de eating. Welke claim kan legitiem en valide gemaakt worden? De met CI geproduceerde inzichten leveren in deze fase niet de formulering van de winnende claim op. De inzichten vertellen wel welke claims valide kunnen worden gemaakt, op welke scores de claims zijn gebaseerd en hoe het product zich qua scores verhoudt ten opzichte van de concurrerende producten. Behalve competitief inzicht en input voor marketing levert deze fase van de aanpak ook onderzoeksvragen op voor productontwikkeling en research. De productmanager of marketeer die een met CI opgebouwde kennisvoorsprong weet te behouden is in een kennisintensieve samenleving spekkoper.

    Auteur: Egbert Philips

    Bron: http://www.hammer-intel.com/nl/portfolio/

  • Resisting the inefficiency of data silos

    Resisting the inefficiency of data silos

    The dreaded data silo: it lurks inside unsuspecting businesses, dragging down efficiency and stifling interdepartmental collaboration.

    If you haven’t encountered one in the wild yet, a data silo is essentially an isolated database or data storage unit that’s not integrated with the rest of the organization’s information system. Silos often develop within departments or business units, where information is stored in a way that’s inaccessible to other departments. Even when those departments have a shared need for said info. This can result from the use of incompatible software systems, interdepartmental competition, or a simple lack of consideration for the value information might have if it was widely available. Silos can also lead to incorrect or outdated information being circulated, when teams aren’t working from the latest available data, because it hasn’t been shared yet.

    In the competitive intelligence field, gathering information is only half the battle. Ensuring that information makes it into the right hands in a timely manner is equally critical. A data silo can have a devastating impact on your competitive intelligence process, leaving valuable information on the table until it’s no longer actionable.

    And when you’re paying for that information, either with your team’s time and effort or through an external service, letting information languish in someone’s inbox or desk drawer is a huge waste of money. Quick, effective dispersal is vital.

    The solution? Use a common information collection and distribution platform, instead of relying on 100 different tools being used by 100 different people across various departments. With one centralized platform, accurate, up-to-date information is always available, which will help your business uncover valuable, time-sensitive insights and opportunities.

    CI Radar, for example, provides an e-mail briefing service for its clients which ensures that users are kept in the loop on the latest competitive intelligence available. E-mail briefings can be scheduled to go out daily, weekly, or several times per day, depending on the subscriber’s preferences, and each briefing’s contents can be customized depending on what topics or competitors the subscriber finds relevant. This cuts down on the amount of irrelevant information each team is expected to wade through, saving time and energy. This system prevents data silos from forming by quickly and simultaneously dispersing competitive insights to each department.

    Source: CI Radar

  • Taking advantage of automation technology in competitive intelligence

    Taking advantage of automation technology in competitive intelligence

    If you’re a market or product researcher, or an intelligence specialist, you’re probably already aware of the extent to which technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have altered the business landscape over the past decade. But many professionals still view AI with suspicion, even mistrust, after being over-sold on its capabilities and underinformed about its limitations.

    If you’re one of those people, it’s time to give AI another (cautious) chance.

    Hybrid solutions, sometimes called smart workflows, combine automation technology with human analysis in order to improve the efficiency and accuracy of a business process. Smart workflows automate repetitive, tedious, and time-consuming tasks, and freeing up time for humans to handle more the complex, strategic tasks that machines still struggle to execute. If you’re reluctant to trust a computer to conduct important research, smart workflows allow you to build in human checks and balances wherever you see fit.

    Here are three ways automation technology can save you time at different stages of your competitive intelligence process.

    Data collection 

    A competitive intelligence process is only as thorough as its data collection method. If you’re missing information during the initial intelligence gathering stage, none of your hard work afterwards can correct that deficit, you’ll always be left with an incomplete set of facts. That’s why automated intelligence gathering is growing in popularity, even among small-to-midsized businesses. By allowing a machine to do the first-line data collection, you remove the potential for human error in terms of overlooking relevant company names, keywords, or phrases. With ongoing maintenance, an automated data collection system can drastically reduce the number of manhours spent searching for information.


    When you’re dealing with a high volume of information, an automated classification system can give structure to the raw intelligence data, breaking it down into more manageable chunks for researchers and analysts to work with. Even if the information is particularly complication, a human curator can clean up pre-sorted data much more quickly than a raw, unorganized feed. The combination of machine power and human intelligence saves time and reduces employee burnout.


    Managing your competitive intelligence distribution process can be a time-consuming job in its own right, especially if you’re doing it all manually. Instead, many businesses are switching to an automated report model that takes your pre-classified intelligence data and distributes it to the intelligence users who need to see it, and have the right data skills to use it. Users can generally control what type of news they receive and when they receive it, without burdening the intelligence team with dozens, or even hundreds of unique schedules and content requests.

    Source: CI Radar

  • The growing importance of Market & Competitive Intelligence

    The growing importance of Market & Competitive Intelligence

    Market & Competitive Intelligence is becoming more and more important and it is today seen as one of the few sustainable competitive advantages for many companies. To be distinguished today is increasingly difficult, with many vendors producing similar products and services, selling them for sharp prices, delivering excellent after sales services, but often lacking unique selling points. 

    Differentiation does not only imply exclusivity of products and services, but also the ability to see and understand shifts and drivers in the market. Questions that need to be answered include:

    • What would customers like to buy from you?
    • What are the likely strategic moves of your competitors?
    • How fast is the market growing?
    • What are the disruptive market trends?

    Asking and answering these questions is the role of a Market & Competitive Intelligence team.

    Looking forward

    An important shift in intelligence roles and activities is the move towards forward looking intelligence. While in the past many intelligence teams focused on the current situation (competitive position, number of happy customers, revenue, profit, etc.)  or measuring past performance to understand patterns, share and progress, today intelligence teams try to understand what will happen in the future by doing predictive analytics, modelling, scenario planning, competitor simulation and so forth.  Forward thinking is what will help a company anticipate, be proactive, be smarter than competition and grow faster than the market.

    This means that the role of market intelligence is becoming more important, and the better a team’s capacity to answer the above-mentioned questions, the stronger the company’s sustainable competitive advantages.

    It is therefore important to know how well intelligence teams are developing, how they are organized within a company, how big the team is, what budget they have and where they are positioned on the global intelligence scale.

    Author: Joost Drieman

    Source M-Brain

  • The types of news stories around your competitors you should monitor

    The types of news stories around your competitors you should monitor

    There’s an old saying 'the news never sleeps'. And it’s never been more true than it is in today's media-saturated world. Internet news sites and the 24-hour TV news cycle have combined to create a non-stop news environment that churns out stories faster than any human being can possibly read them.

    For professionals charged with collecting competitive intelligence, this constant news output creates an unending deluge of articles waiting to be skimmed, sorted, and distributed. Where an automated competitive intelligence process used to be a luxury, it’s rapidly becoming a must-have for businesses that are serious about capturing high-quality, timely information.

    Here are six types of news stories that a well-calibrated CI process will always capture:

    Product launches

    When the competition releases a new product, service, or solution, it’s helpful to know the 'what', 'why', and 'where', behind their new offering as soon as possible. If there’s a launch day event, press release, or management statement, a good competitive intelligence process will bring them to your business’s attention.


    As exciting as new products are, when the competition tweaks an existing product, it can have important implications. An upgrade may not receive as much publicity as a new product, but it will often garner a mention in a blog and social media post.

    Industry reports

    Whether released by a competitor or an independent organization, industry reports can provide insight into where other businesses stand within the industry space. Reports released by competitors often contain valuable research, while external reports tend to offer a broader picture of where your competition ranks according to various criteria.

    Sales wins

    Attracting new business isn’t a zero-sum game, but there are still plenty of reasons to take note when a competing company scores a new client or sale. Many companies will toast their wins publicly, via press releases and blog posts. On the other hand, if your competition doesn’t advertise its wins, a thorough CI process can still alert you, via news articles and industry news sites.


    If you want to do comptetitor analysis in order to find out on what your competition can really offer its customers, testimonials generally offer the most in-depth, concrete information. CI should capture testimonials and case studies written by your competitors, as well as external reports from customers, partners, and industry review sites.


    Awards aren’t everything, but when your competitors win big, they’re receiving free publicity and fostering a sense of prestige within the industry. If your competitor is presenting the award, it can be indicative of an underlying relationship with the winning company. Your CI process should keep up with awards being given to and by your competitors.

    Source: CI Radar

  • Which questions to ask when analyzing a competitor? A constructive overview

    Which questions to ask when analyzing a competitor? A constructive overview

    Many businesses are hiring a competitive intelligence agency for the first time. They need to scope out the research and it can be helpful to have a ready-made starting point. What questions should frame a research proposal? What is it possible to discover about competitors? What is a good structure?

    Below are some the questions that typically go into a competitor profile. These lean towards analyzing a technology company, but can be easily adapted across industries.

    Corporate background

    • What is their funding history?

    • What is their revenue history?

      • How are their revenues split by global regions?

      • How are their revenues split by client size?

      • How are their revenues split by industry?

    • How many employees?

      • How many engineers?

      • How many sales employees?

      • How many marketing employees?



    • What do customers like and dislike?

    • Why do customers buy from the competitor?

    • For prospects who did not convert, why did they turn down the competitor?

    • Who are some of the competitor’s customers?


    Product strategy and capabilities

    • What is their range of products?

    • What are the key product features?

    • What are their capabilities for mobile?

    • What are their analytics and reporting capabilities?

    • What is their product roadmap?

    • Is the product localized? What languages are available?

    • How easy is the product to customize?

    • Do they have a professional services team?

    • What is the implementation effort required? How long does implementation take? What resources do they offer? What resources must the client provide?



    • How much does the product cost?

    • What are the pricing tiers? What modules are an additional cost?

    • What are typical discount levels for multi-year contracts, for volume and for competitive wins?

    • How much is a typical deal?


    Sales pitch

    • What is their go-to-market messaging?

    • How do they position themselves against competitors? Whom do they consider their primary competitors? How do they pitch against us?

    • What are their proof points that they can successfully drive engagement and ROI?


    Partners and developer ecosystem

    • What percentage of revenue is from resellers and similar partners?

    • Who are their significant partners? How much revenue do they generate?

    • How successful is their developer ecosystem?

    • How do they recruit and motivate developers?

    • What tools and SDKs do they provide developers?


    Of course, you might be more interested in some of these questions more than others. And provided insights might need more or less detail depending on context, but this list can be very helpful if you want to start a competitive intelligence project and you have little experience. If you are interested in a professional competitive intelligence or market intelligence partner, contact Hammer!

    Source: Aqute Intelligence

  • Why B2B marketers shouldn't neglect B2C data

    Why B2B marketers shouldn't neglect B2C data

    Companies don’t buy goods and services, people do. And people buy for emotional reasons first. So, understanding what motivates people to buy is at the heart of learning why and how they consume. If you are focusing solely on B2B data, then you’re missing a critical piece of the equation.

    In the “age of the customer” where customers are in control, B2B marketers need to understand their prospects in new, sophisticated ways. This requires utilizing data about your buyers at work, but also outside of work.

    Typically, B2B data focuses on role and firmographic information. While B2C data can reveal information providing clues to the emotional reasons and process your customers use when making buying decisions. By combining B2C and B2B data, marketers can develop more relevant content and experiences that meet individual buyer needs. This is proven to increase the ability to contact and engage B2B buyers.

    ‘Integrated’ customer journey

    Customers know when they are being targeted, and often they don’t like it. Let’s say you have an insect problem, and you mention it to a neighbor. Next day a pest control salesman shows up at your door. While it’s convenient that the product arrived right when you needed it, you are naturally skeptical. You feel targeted. Modern day targeting strategy must be natural and non-intrusive. And data-led insight and context is required to achieve that.

    Meeting B2B sales objectives requires thinking big picture, beyond the business, to consider what’s happening in your customer’s life. Real people shift personas and uniforms throughout their day. From 9-5, B2B buyers assume their work persona. From 5-9 they assume their home, friends, family, and general B2C persona. Despite these shifts they are all integrated. What motivates and inspires, but also what scares a customer is essentially the same across work and personal life personas.

    How and why someone buys a specific car, house, vacation or clothing brand is directly related to how a person will acquire a server, services, or consulting.

    Let’s say your customer is passionate about a certain sports car brand. This could indicate that they have a more adventurous and aggressive attitude, which often translates to the same attitude at work. These insights can help B2B marketers craft messaging and offers that connect with these attitudes and leverage them toward their product.

    Cybersecurity for example may not seem like an exciting topic, but marketing it in a clever way can show the more adventurous consumers (who also make B2B decisions) that it’s worthwhile. HP’s campaign of movie shorts parodying the TV show Mr. Robot starred Christian Slater educating people about the importance of cybersecurity. It was a bold move that brought a lot of attention.

    Combining B2B and B2C data attributes are key to understanding the emotional and philosophical nature of your customers. When this is accomplished, messaging and creative and entices buyers to act can be created.

    Data-driven marketing

    Modern customers interacting with a company through different channels (store, website, social media, app) want it to be personal. Marketers who accomplish this across platforms will increase loyalty and trust.

    Data about your costumers must inform what you do. It’s not about applying B2C techniques to B2B marketing. It’s about using more data to become a better, more relevant marketer.

    Combining predictive analytics and machine-learning models with the millions of B2B and B2C data attributes we can collect about prospects nowadays provides the tools to connect 1:1 on a human level. Even better, we can use this data to increase B2B marketer’s ability to expand their reach.

    Connecting with customers is more complicated than ever and reaching them in a modern omni-channel world can be challenging. If you’re a B2B marketer, the first step is to use data to create a 360 degree view of your customer. When you manage to do so, you can reach more buyers with more relevant content and messaging in more mediums.

    Steve Jobs was probably right with this quote: “You’ve got to start with customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.” Incorporating B2C data attributes in B2B marketing gets to the heart of understanding your customer, creating tailored customer experiences and reaching them in more relevant media. And that’s definitely a good thing to keep in mind as you strive to improve ROI.

    Author: Collin Dayley

    Source: Insidebigdata

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