Business is necessarily a competitive field. Many firms are offering the same or similar products and services, thus each one has to give reasons why customers should choose them over competitors.
To be able to do that one has to know and understand the competitive environment in the industry. That is why competitive intelligence is such a key feature of business intelligence.
As companies are constantly looking for ways to improve their intelligence, they are scanning for sources of alternative data that would provide it.
A good example of an alternative data source is Coresignal. As for now, let us look closer at what competitive intelligence is and how it can be improved.
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Know what you are facing
In many ways, information is among the most important things in contemporary business. Constantly renewed knowledge is necessary for the best tactical decisions.
Therefore, businesses pay much attention to gathering intelligence and analyzing data when designing their action plans.
One such type of crucial information falls under the heading of competitive intelligence.
Broadly, this can be defined as a firm’s efforts to collect and analyze information about the industry, competitors, their products, services, and results to understand the competitive environment they are dealing with.
Therefore, competitive intelligence is of utmost importance, as it shows to the firm what works in their field and what needs to be done to get their fair share of the customers.
Simply put, it is a prerequisite for keeping the company competitive. Thus, no wonder that firms constantly actively seek ways to boost their competitive intelligence.
Here, as in many departments of business, a huge impact has been made by the rise of alternative data sources.
Alternative data is the kind of data that has not been traditionally used for business intelligence as it does not necessarily come from the industry sources themselves.
As more and more ways to generate and transmit data are being created, alternative data sources are now being utilized to a constantly growing extent.
The utility of alternative data for competitive intelligence
There are very many different types of alternative data, which means that they can be applied in many ways in business. And most of these ways can contribute to competitive intelligence, as competition is at the very essence of business.
Thus, alternative data can boost competitive intelligence in numerous ways. Here are the most important types of alternative data used to improve competitive intelligence.
Market Segmentation Data
This category includes such important data types as firmographics and technographics. Firmographic data categorize companies by their various statistical features, such as size, revenue, age, etc.
Technographic data classifies them by their technological stack, that is what sort of hardware and software tools they are using, how they implement technological updates and similar features related to technology.
Segmenting the market in such ways allows you to understand your own position in the industry and identify your main competitors.
Online Product Review Data
A lot of alternative data is available from online sources. Product review data is among the most important of such data types, as it gives intelligence on how well competitor’s products and services are doing in relation to public sentiment.
Furthermore, the way products are reviewed online is a strong indicator of the position of competitors’ brands, thus adding to your understanding of the competition.
Online Job Posting Data
Another extremely important kind of data that could be found online is job postings. The way firms are hiring and changes in their recruitment habits are clear and early indicators of growth tendencies.
Thus, from this data, one can find out whether competitors are growing or declining in time to make strategical decisions based on it.
Additionally, one can learn from the hiring methods of competitors to ensure that best practices are repeated or even improved.
Company Employee Reviews
This is one of the best ways to find out the truth about the microclimate in the competing firm. What company employees say in anonymous reviews can be very different from what is said in official commercials.
Thus, company employee reviews allow you to peek inside the firm and gain some in-depth insights that allow you to draw a clearer picture of the firms in your industry.
We should conclude by once more pointing out an old truth that is sometimes overlooked – to compete successfully one has to have an advantage. And traditional data can no longer give it as it is something that everyone is using.
To really have a competitive advantage a firm needs to look for its own unique intelligence. This is achieved by utilizing and combining various alternative data sources.
Thus, alternative data is now an absolute necessity to turn simple general information about other firms into true and useful competitive intelligence.