The availability of so much corporate information online should, in theory, make competitive intelligence research far easier. However, there is so much information out there, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. To help your research, we’ve put together a guide to the best Competitive Intelligence Tools that are easily accessible online.
When we first started maintaining this list, we trawled through over 5,000 websites to find the ones that provided the best competitive intelligence information. This has become a “short” list of around 300 research tools.
We’ve just checked them all again, and updated our Competitive Intelligence Tools guide, which you can download here. We’ve used all these at some time or other – if we hadn’t, the chances are they’d be very little use as competitive intelligence tools.
How can the Competitive Intelligence Tools guide help my research?
Competitive intelligence can be broadly split into two research types: primary and secondary. Whereas we wouldn’t recommend DIY primary research (contacting your competitor’s employees, for example, is a tricky one to pull off), secondary research, which is mainly online, is an option open to everyone.
Yes, competitive intelligence experts can find out a lot more than a rookie researcher – but to be honest, anyone who is willing to spend time online can gain significant insight into their competitors. We’re not precious about our secondary sources, which is why we want to share this download with you.
How do I use this guide?
What do you want to know? We’ve organised the guide into broad research areas, in alphabetical order. From annual reports through website monitoring, we cover all aspects of business life online. To make your research even easier, we’ve also organized company profiles into US states and countries.
Some industries will use areas that others won’t need – you might never need to research patents or trade shows, for example. However, to pick three examples, financial, employee, and marketing information is useful intelligence for just about every business.
Internet-based research is open to all
In 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, Ben Whishaw’s new-style Q says to 007: “I’ll hazard I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pyjamas before my first cup of Earl Grey, than you can do in a year in the field.”
Now we’re not advocating doing any damage – however this quote neatly sums up how intelligence has changed. These days, anyone with a laptop and the internet has access to a wealth of information about the competition. It doesn’t have to become a full-time project, and it doesn’t involve a huge spend – competitive intelligence tools are there for all of us to use to our advantage.
Have a look through these tools, and you’ll see that time spent on secondary research really reaps rewards.
To find out more about primary and secondary research, and how competitive intelligence can give your business the edge, please contact us.