By Emmanuel Trenche
Ever get the feeling that you’re being watched?
If you do, you’re not paranoid. It’s likely your competitors are watching your every move with new technology that will give you a shear wake up call.
Following the old adage of keeping your enemies closer, they’re monitoring everything - from your company’s blog articles to customer tweets about your products or services. In many cases, they’re even tracking company websites and receiving email alerts or phone notifications when website changes indicate you’ve entered a new market or industry, among a slew of other things. Spooky, right? No, it’s called competitive intelligence technology and it’s becoming mainstream across all markets and industries.
What Are Competitors Looking for Online?
There are a few reasons why more companies are investing in digital competitive intelligence approaches. First, competitors want to know if you’re doing better than them. Depending on your industry, they’ll look for cues that could threaten their market share. This could be your product line, promotional tactics, a new partnership or something as small as new certifications or accolades. Every company wants to be the market leader and if they’re losing their competitive edge, they’re likely to pinpoint what’s holding them back by browsing the web since almost everything ends up online anyway.
The second reason why they’d keep tabs on your company online is to differentiate themselves. There’s no competitive advantage in mimicking others, but rather in doing something unique that’s hard to replicate. Aggressive competitors monitor your website to determine if they can compete through price, service, or new technology, to name a few approaches. When monitoring your company’s website, for instance, they’re watching how you’re communicating value or claim a market position. If they find that your company and other competitors mostly use videos to generate leads, they may want to use videos in a different way or do something totally unique to stand out and take away your leads.
Thirdly, and most importantly, competitors want to predict your next move. Even the smallest bit of data published online can be the key that unlocks what’s happening behind closed doors. Some clues lie on your own website, like a job listing in a new department or a new partnership recently announced. Even employees are capable of accidentally leaving behind clues on social media. Granted companies aren’t looking to hack into your website and start spying, but they do notice breadcrumbs left around the web about your company and use them to figure out where you’re heading.
Now, how exactly are they keeping up with your company’s moves? Every industry and company will focus on different things, but here are a few areas of interest that get the attention from many competitors: