How to use your competition to predict the future of your market.

Competitive intelligence and market intelligence can predict the future that your organization or product will have to play in

By Tyler Logtenberg

I am very excited to craft this article, as I have always been excited by how clearly competitive intelligence and market intelligence can predict the future that your organization or product will have to play in. These small details and insights are like living a Sherlock Holmes novel where the minute changes paint the picture of what the story is.

As product builders, knowing the future allows us to craft products and platforms that are unique and powerful. For this article, we will focus on the website, which is the funnel through which sales, hires, marketing, product announcements and more occur.

Whose attention are your competitors seeking? News and Events (Blog / Announcements)

    • What events are they going to? Are there new categories of events or conferences that is not the traditional set? Are they sponsoring meetups or symposiums for specific types of industry?
    • Who is picking up their stories that they share? Are all their announcements linked to paid PR sites, or are they getting featured in specific sources? What type of audience is at those sources?
    • How are they positioning themselves in announcements and in media? Is it the same as their site? If not, what can we learn from that change?

What are your future clients looking for? Support threads, reviews, and forums

    • What are the negative things their clients are saying? What gaps keep getting mentioned? (Great time to draft a SWOT of their abilities)
    • Is there invitations by the company to their users for betas or trial of new functionality? (Search for “beta” on the forums to start, and beta sites.)
    • Is there a section for feature requests? What is there?

Who are the strategically aligning with? Partners and flagship customers

    • What partners and integrations are mentioned, is there a similarity in the direction of those integrations and partnerships? (Check Zapier as well).
    • Do the partnerships complement the service or overlap with what they have traditionally done? It is common for companies to form strategic partnerships to cover the needs of existing customers as they sunset a piece of functionality.
    • Has a customer or partner been removed from the site? Are new customers coming from a specific market or industry background?

What internal gaps are they looking to fill? Job pages

    • What new roles are being hired? In the details is there any indication of asks that are unusual for a company like this? Specifically, look for changes in engineering teams. Are they now hiring data science when it was never there before? Is a sales or marketing role looking for experience in an industry they never played in before?
    • Do sites like Glassdoor have reviews or feedback from existing customers?
    • What systems are they using to deliver the postings, is it a formal HR system of a certain size? If there is an HR system they are using that costs $1000/month (like BambooHR) or they are using outside consultants, you can extrapolate their focus on hiring and growth.

What have your competitors changed in their offering? Product Pages

    • What features have been added/removed/formatted differently?
    • Have they changed pricing, packaging, or descriptions?
    • What new product content added, from webpages to datasheets to videos.
    • Don’t miss any pricing and packaging changes or tests.
    • See which products and services are scaling up or scaling down.

“As product builders, knowing the future allows us to craft products and platforms that are unique and powerful.”

What key competencies do your competitors’ teams have? Team Pages

    • What is the background of their executive team? Is there a specific focus on new members of the team that come from certain industry backgrounds?
    • Where are people geo-located? If new hires are appearing in a different location or a new office is mentioned, then you can see how they are expanding to different areas?

How is your competitor adapting to customer changes? Marketing Pages

    • Are there changes in the headers of key areas (like the homepage)? These changes are indicative of SEO practice changes.
    • What fields are looked for on a landing page? These details can show indications of their sales structure and processes. Are they going by the size of the company, revenue, department, or other ways? Are they asking for phone numbers and positions so they can call, or do they prefer email campaigns?
    • What new landing pages or A/B tests are being run. What can we learn from those?

Catching all these details across a number of rivals is a big challenge. Rival was built to detect these changes, help you pull insights from this intelligence, and apply it back into your organization.

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