How can vertical sources support competitive intelligence?

There is a wealth of go-to secondary resources for market intelligence: company registers, competitors’ websites both live and archived, social media, LinkedIn etc. However, competitive intelligence can turn up in rather less predictable places...

Vertical sources, i.e. a publication intended for a specific industry, can be as rich as horizontal ones (the general sources mentioned above). However, vertical sources are far sometimes too niche to turn up in standard lists of competitive intelligence resources. So how do you go about finding this information.

Sometimes, you are lucky and just stumble upon these sources. After all, that is one of the beauties of a speculative search on Google – among all the grit, you may just find a surprise nugget... You can’t beat a bit of serendipity. However, if you know the industry you’re looking into (and we assume you do), you’ll have a good idea of the more leftfield places in which to start your search.

Here’s our short guide to mining vertical sources, with examples of hidden gems we’ve uncovered recently...


The enthusiastic industry analyst

Save on Send is a great example of benefitting from someone else’s analysis. Have a look at this recent blog post about startup businesses. There is some useful data there about money transfer companies - well-written and thorough, this is definitely intelligence gold. Save On Send’s regular blog is a great insight into this area – check out the blogs and newsfeeds of your competitors and industry commentators.


The intelligence specialist

Search out research carried out by experts. Jen Underwood is a consultant who works with business intelligence and predictive analytics. Her blog is always worth a read – she clearly loves analysis and loves her industry, and the results are always full of insight. Here’s an example blog of research she carried out into a business data platform provider. Those of us who are into analytics could just read this for pleasure. It’s practically beach reading.


The vertical publication

Standard industry news articles can turn up surprising snippets of market intelligence. Retail Week has a piece on Amazon leasing an old Tesco warehouse. You have to subscribe to read the full article; however if this is related to your industry, it’s worth it. We may have laughed at the obscure trade publications that appear on Have I Got News for You – but trust us, industry publications definitely have their place in competitive intelligence.


Corporate intelligence in unexpected places

This is an example of how secondary research can speed things up. The intelligence about Aston Martin UK figures that appears on this page would usually be obtained through subscription databases; however it’s turned up in this rather unexpected source, saving time and having to trouble the client. A great instance of stumbling across information during a search.


The real surprise

This is a lesson in scrolling down the page. Halfway down this forum page is a dealer bulletin which you might not be able to get hold of anywhere else - the perfect illustration of finding that nugget of information in an unexpected place.  It goes without saying that forums are not always about facts, but don’t dismiss them out of hand.


Unexpected results can be greatly rewarding. There are sources that provide fantastic intelligence – but because they are pretty niche, never make it onto the standard registers of sources. Now you know better. Create your own register of resources, and never be afraid to keep drilling down through your search results. You may strike gold.

To find out more about vertical (and indeed, horizontal!) competitive intelligence, please contact us.