So, you have to profile a competitor. You have the research scope and you are ready to start. What now? Here are the most essential six sources of information for any competitor profile.
1. Google. It is an obvious place to start. Many competitive intelligence questions can be answered directly from Google. Search for pricing, product roadmap, announcements, reviews, resellers, job titles; look for web pages but also PDFs and images.
2. Competitor's website. The competitor’s website is a source of basic information, such as product portfolio, key executives, case studies and partner details, but you should also trawl through the past year of blog entries and check the investor relations page.
3. Twitter. Find the competitor’s main Twitter feeds and work through the past year’s worth of entries. Also look at the Followers and Following lists, identifying key relationships and repeating for the Twitter feeds of those other accounts.
4. LinkedIn. A premium LinkedIn subscription is worth paying for; trawl through employee profiles, as well as other profiles that mention the competitor (they may be clients, resellers or other relationships). Use LinkedIn to count how many employees work in each division.
5. SEC. For public companies, SEC filings have authoritative information about revenues, investments, acquisitions, customers and partnerships. The company’s international operations may file locally, so also check country registries.
6. Wayback Machine. Looking at past versions of the competitor’s website on archive.org can shed light on changes of direction in strategy, marketing and product development. Previous versions may have since-removed pages with key data on pricing.
Using only the above sources will give you an excellent base for building a competitor profile. For many more sources, including industry-specific sources, see our free resources.