What is Competitive Intelligence Gathering? – Competitive Intelligence gathering is the process of identifying, gathering, analyzing, verifying and using information about your competitores from resources such as the Internet.
Competitive Intelligence is non-interfering and subtle in nature.
Competitive Intelligence Gathering
It is non-interfering and subtle in nature compared to the direct intellectual property theft carried out through hacking or industrial espionage. It cocentrates on the external business enviorment. In this method, professionals gather information ethically and legally instead of gathering it secretly.
Competitive intelligence helps in determining:
- What the competitors are doing.
- How competitors are positioning their products and services.
Companies carry out competitive intelligence either by employing people to search for the information, or by utilizing a commercial database service, which can be lower in cost.
Sources of Competitive Intelligence
Competitive intelligence gathering can be performed either using direct or indirect approach.
- Direct Approach – Direct approach serves as primary sources for competitive intelligence gathering. Direct approach techniques include gathering information from trade shows, social engineering employees and customers and so on.
- Indirect Approach – Through an indirect approach, information about competitors are gathered using online resouces. Indirect approach techniques include:
- Company websites and employment ads
- Search engines, Internet, and online database
- Press releases and annual reports
- trade journals, conferences, and newspapers
- Patent and trademarks
- Product catalogues and retail outlets.
- Analyst and regulatory reports
- Customer and venodr interviews
- Agents, distributors, and suppliers
- Industry-specific blogs and publications.
Competitive Intelligence Gathering
Competitive Intelligence – When Did this Company Begin? How Did it Develop?
Gathering competitor documents and records helps to improve productivity and profitability that in turn stimulates the growth of the company. it helps in determining answers to the following:
- When Did it begin? – Through Competitive Intelligence, companies can collect the history of a particular company, such as its establishment date. Sometimes, they gather crucial information that is not often available to others.
- How Did it develop? – What are the various strategies the company uses? Development intelligence can include advertisement strategies, customer relationship management and so on.
- Who leads it? – This information helps a company learn about the competitor’s decision makers.
- Where is it located? – Competitive Intelligence also includes the location of the company and information related to various branches and their operations.
Attackers can use the information gathered through competitive intelligence to build a hacking strategy.
Information Resource Sites
Information resource sites that helps to gain competitive intellgence include:
Source : https://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml
EDGAR, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system, performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by companies and others who are required by law to file with U.S Securities and Exchange Commision (‘SEC’). Its primary purpose is to incrase the efficiency and faimess of the securities market for the benefit of investors, corporations and the economy by accelerating the receipt, acceptance, dissemination, and analysis of time-sensitive corporate informaton filled with the agency.
Hoovers is a business research company that provides complete details about companies and industries all over the world. Hoovers provides patented business-related information through the internet, data feeds, wireless devices, and co-branding agreements with other online services. It gives complete information about the organizations, industries, and people that drive the economy.
LexisNexis provides content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting, and academic markets. it maintains an electronic database of legal and public-records related information. it enables customers to access documents and records of legal, news, and business sources.
Competitive Intelligence Gathering
Competitive Intelligence – What Are the Company’s Plans?
MarketWatch tracks the pulse of markets for engaged investors. The site is an innovator in business news, personal finance information, real-time commentary, and investment tools and data, with journalists generating headlines, videos, and market briefs.
The Wall Street Transcript
The Wall Street Transcript is a website as well as a paid subscription publication that publishes industry reports. It expresses the views of money managers and equity analysts of different industry sectors. The site also publishes interviews with CEOs of companies.
Alexa is a great tool to dig deep into the analytics of other companies. It allow users to :
- Discover influencer outreach opportunities by uncovering sites that link to your competitors using Competitors Backlink Checker.
- Benchmark and track your company’s performance relative to your competitors using Competitive Intelligence Tools.
Euromonitor provides strategy research for consumer markets. It publishes reports on industries, consumers, and demographics. It provides market research and surveys focused on the organization’s needs.
Competitive Intelligence – What Expert Opinions Say About The Company
SEMRush is a competitive keyword research tool. It can provide a list of google keywords and Adwords for any site, as well as a competitor list in the organic and paid google search results. It enables an approach for gaining in-depth knowledge about what competitors are advertising and their budget allocation to specific Internet marketing tactics.
Copernic Tracker is website tracking software. It looks for new content on Web pages and when it detecs a change, it notifies the user by email, including a copy of the Web page with the changes highlighted, or by displaying a desktop alert. Copernic Tracker helps to track online forums and social media, auctions, news sites, product updates, new job notices, competitors web sites and so on.
Attention Meter is a tool used for comparing websites(traffic) by Using Alexa, complete, CrunchBase, and Quantcast. It gives a snapshot or traffic data as well as graphs from Alexa, Complete, CrunchBase, and Quantcast for the specified websites.
Monitoring Website Traffic of Target Company
Attackers can monitor a target company’s website traffic using tools such as Web-stat, Alexa and monitis to collect vuluable information. These tools helps to collect information about the target’s customer base which help attackers to disguise as a customer and launch social engineering attacks on the target.
The information collected includes:
- Total Visitors – Tools such as Clicky (https://clicky.com) find the total number of visitors browsing the target website.
- Page Views – Tools such as Opentracker (https://www.opentracker.net) monitor the total number of pages viewed by the users along with the time stamps and the status of the user on a particular web page (whether the webpage is still active or closed.)
- Bounce rate – Tools such as Google Analytics (https://analytics.google.com) measure the bounce rate of the target company’s website.
- Live Visitors map – Tools such as Web-stat (http://www.web-stat.com) track the geographical location of the users visiting the company’s website.
- Site Ranking – Tools such as Alexa (https://www.alexa.com) track a company’s rank on the web.
- Audience geography – Tools such as Alexa track company’s customers location on the globe.
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