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8 Cheap & Easy Methods for Gathering Competitive Intelligence

In my previous post, Competitive Intelligence: 8 Ways B2B Marketers Should Use, I discussed what competitive intelligence is and how B2B marketers should be using it to stay ahead of their competition. In this post I want to share ideas for gathering competitive intelligence.

The Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals defines competitive intelligence as: The legal and ethical collection and analysis of information regarding the capabilities, vulnerabilities, and intentions of a business competitor.

According to Benjamin Gilad, president of the Academy of Competitive intelligence, “Companies spend about $20 billion on market research annually and about another $2 billion on analyzing specific competitors.” I don’t know about you, but I never worked in a company that spent anywhere near that on competitive intelligence. In fact, most of the companies had no formal system or process and no people devoted to gathering competitive intelligence. As is typical in most small and medium (and even large ones if the truth be told) B2B companies, competitive intelligence is an ad hoc word-of-mouth sort of thing. Typically sales and marketing send emails or have phone calls whenever anyone sees or hears something about a competitor.

As the marketing leader for a medium size B2B product manufacturer, I led a CRM implementation. This included creating a process for gathering and maintaining competitor information in the CRM. I’ll share ideas based on this experience, along with many years gathering competitive intelligence.  For instance, gathering competitive intelligence for specific sales opportunities, analyzing the competitive landscape for strategic marketing plans, ongoing business development, and creating competitor tools for the sales team.

Here are 8 inexpensive ways you can gather competitive intelligence for your B2B marketing:

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Competitive Intelligence: 8 Ways B2B Marketers Should Use

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there’s not much discussion about competitive intelligence in B2B marketing circles lately. However, competitive intelligence should be an ongoing effort, not a one-time snapshot, even in small and medium sized companies. According to the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), competitive intelligence is the legal and ethical collection and analysis of information regarding the capabilities, vulnerabilities, and intentions of business competitors.

A 2014 study by Global Intelligence Alliance (now M-Brain), Market Intelligence Trends 2020, reported that 42% of respondents said competitors will be the most important area of focus for market intelligence with regards to the business environment in 2020.

Here are 8 ways B2B marketers should be using competitive intelligence:

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