How to Use External Data to Improve Competitive Intelligence

What if you had data that could help you understand your customers’ preferences and perception of your brand and product in comparison to their perception of competing brands and products? In order to become a leader in your industry, you need to get ahead of your competitors. And in order to get ahead of your competitors, you need to know your competitors inside and out.

What is competitive intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is the analysis of competitor information. It is the process of defining, gathering, and analyzing information about competitor products, customers, messaging, sales, etc. Understanding how your competitors operate and how their customers respond is important when it comes to your own organization’s own operations and initiatives.

The most effective competitive intelligence involves the systematic collection and analysis of information from multiple sources. What you’ll need to perform the best competitive analysis is external data that provides information and insights on your direct and indirect competitors.

How can you use external data for competitive intelligence?

There are many different types of data that can help you piece together a complete view of your competitors, and there are many different ways that data can be applied to your business strategies and missions. The use-cases listed below are a glimpse into a few of the most useful ways you can learn from external data sources and how you can apply those insights to your business:

Location data for better marketing and site-planning

Location data can give you insight into where your customers are going and if they are coming into contact with any of your competitor’s ads, brick-and-mortar locations, or events. By analyzing trends in footfall, your organization can see the locations that are frequented by customers and how this varies over time.

Are your customers always passing by a billboard that your competitor advertises on? Are they getting coffee right around the corner from one of your competitor’s store locations? Did several of them attend a pop-up sales event that your competitor orchestrated? With information like this, your organization can make better informed decisions about where to advertise, where to open competing stores, and how to outperform your competitors' advertising and marketing efforts.

You also can use location data to avoid making the costly mistakes that your competitor has already made before you. You’ll be able to see which locations competitors have opened that are getting the least amount of footfall traffic and thus avoid setting up a location in an area that will only hemorrhage money. You can see if that pop-up event your competitor hosted flopped and brainstorm how you might be able to do it better to attract a larger audience.

App usage data for app improvement and innovation

App usage data gives you a peek into how your customers are using apps on their phones, tablets, and computers. If your brand offers an app user experience for your customers and competing brands also offer an app experience, you can use app usage data to identify and evaluate your competition's strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own app.

You can evaluate which competitor apps are being downloaded and used more frequently than your own and use this data to determine why that might be. What features are popular or unpopular on competitor apps? Should you amend your own features? Is the user experience more seamless? Is the loading time much faster?

Being able to see into the app usage of your competitor’s apps gives you a secret manual into the dos and don’ts of apps in your particular industry. It can help you redirect if you’re off course and can spark innovative ideas that will help you give your customers the most superior app experience.

Market share data tells organizations the number of shares their competitors hold in the market. By acquiring market share data, you get to see which of your competitors are doing better or worse than you and you also get to track market shares across different product categories. By analyzing how customers are driving the market in relation to you and your competitors, you can glean insights that will help you determine customer behavior, changes in economic trends, and audience perception and preference in your unique industry.

For instance, if you are a swimsuit brand and you can see that a competing swimsuit brand holds 20% more of the market than you do in Florida, you can place focus on why that brand is capturing more of your audience in that region. Does your brand lack a presence in that region? Is there a swimsuit type that is more popular in that region that you aren’t manufacturing?

Similarly, if you can see that a competing swimsuit brand is capturing more of the one-piece swimsuit market, you can evaluate why customers prefer their one-piece swimsuits to other competitors and apply that information to your own one-piece swimsuit products. Perhaps your brand’s market share in one-piece swimsuits drastically dipped because audience preference has moved to a certain material that your organization doesn’t use. The only way to know is to dive into the data.

Pricing data for strategic pricing

Using pricing data, you can identify pricing trends across your competition while being able to anticipate market changes relevant to your products or services. You’ll be able to see which competitors are pricing their products at optimal price points and how much those price points are fluctuating as your industry changes.

Knowing how your competitors are pricing their products, you can make strategic decisions to lower your pricing to be more competitive, to capture a more “upscale” audience with more expensive products, or to match the general pricing of competitors in your industry. Whatever your organization decides, competitor pricing data will give you the roadmap to current and future pricing strategies.

How do you get all of the competitive intelligence data you need?

If you combine all of the data we discussed above plus any other relevant competitor data that you know will provide critical insights, you’ll have the power to grow your business multi-fold. But how do you get all of this data? There are so many different types of relevant data and so many different sources of data that organizations are often daunted by the task of acquiring all of the data they need.

The easiest, fastest, and most effective way to get access to competitor data that will boost your business is to use a data commerce platform. Narrative’s data commerce platform gives organizations access to multiple data sources and multiple data types all at once. By simplifying and automating the most time- and labor-intensive aspects of data acquisition, you’ll be able to find and buy the exact data points you need from the data providers you select. And you’ll be able to browse and cherry-pick the data you want with just a few clicks. No negotiations needed and no technical expertise required.

Want to learn more? Our experts will get you started.

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