Competitive intelligence can make or break your business. In my early teenage years, I remember an ice-cream shop on my street that my friends and I loved so much that we went there every day. We bought the same vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate flavors every other day because that’s all they sold. Some months later, a new ice-cream shop with more variety opened and it was like the previous one never existed. Looking back, it looks like the second ice-cream shop did their homework, which is what we call competitive intelligence in business. They found out the weaknesses of existing businesses in the area (limited variety of flavors) and developed a strategy to exploit them. Competitive intelligence analysis is an essential strategy in business to help you make informed decisions about your industry.
In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at what competitive intelligence is, what it does, why you need it for your business, and how to obtain the data you need for it. If you’re familiar with the basics of competitive intelligence, you can skip to the nitty-gritty part through the table of contents below.
Table of Contents
What is Competitive Intelligence?
Did you know that over 80% of netizens have purchased products or services on the Internet? This means that one way or another, people are buying things from the internet. If they aren’t buying from you, they are buying from someone else. So, if your products/services are getting little to no attention, then you need to know what your competitors are doing better.
Knowing your competitor’s tactics, strengths, and weaknesses is a vital part of what you need to understand your business/industry better. If they are doing it and it is working for them, then you probably should be doing it too. Competitive intelligence is the data that gives you valuable insight into your competition and their tactics. Competitive intelligence research is how you get this data.
All the data you need regarding your competitors can be within your reach no matter the volume or size. All you need is an efficient method of collecting it. Web scraping is an affordable and fast choice for extracting big data from websites. With this method, you can begin auditing your competition ASAP without any extra chores. We’ll talk more about this later. For now, let’s take a look at the goals of competitive intelligence analysis.
What Are the Goals of Competitive Intelligence Research?
Business owners conduct competitive intelligence analysis for many reasons. But the general objective is to know what your competitors are doing right and wrong, and ultimately do better. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at more specific significant goals of competitive intelligence:
- To differentiate between high & low-quality contents: First and foremost, you must do a competitive intelligence analysis on the high performing content by your opponents. Competitive intelligence analysis is one of the easiest ways to find out what your consumers want to hear. Note that you are looking into all forms of content including videos, articles, trends, partnerships, and more. The goal here is to know what their fans were interested in since you share the same target audience. It isn’t advisable to completely replicate their contents but you can draw inspiration from them and even do better. Furthermore, you should take note of their SEO methods for the high performance of your content online. It would take a really long time to go through years worth of contents manually but you can get the data with just one click through a web scraping bot.
- To improve social media strategies: It is proven that constantly interacting with your followers (customers) on social media is a way to generate brand loyalty. However, how you relate with your fans depends on the brand image you want to present online. One wrong move on social media can make your brand become a victim of trolling. Therefore, it is advisable to take advantage of competitive intelligence and avoid your competitors’ mistakes. Also, you can learn what to do as well as be inspired by their strategies, and use them to win over clients for your business. Also, competitive intelligence can help you identify social media platforms where the competition is slacking, so you can intensify your efforts there. By utilizing a data extraction bot, you can have every data on their social media strategies delivered to you in a structured format.
- To increase sales: Using sales data intel can go a long way in growing your business, especially if you are a product-based business owner. Sales data comprises a wide range of information like the dissemination of the products, reviews, the products themselves, customer engagement, and even the buying process. With these pieces of information, you can find out what your buyers like or dislike about your brand and understand how to better your business. Through reviews, you can know what customers like best about your competitor’s service. It could be their customer service, swift delivery, discounts or promos, quality, packaging, online engagements, and so much more. You can easily collate the data by extracting data from webpages like their social media platforms, community forums, review sites, and third-party sites, containing all the information you need.
- To manage competitive prices: Like you, your customers can access big data on the Internet, including the price differences between brands of the same industry with the aid of price comparison sites. It is advisable to take advantage of this opportunity before they do. With web scraping, you can compare your products or services and prices with that of your competitors’ online. You can also compare reviews and even gain knowledge of their real-time pricing strategies. Competitive prices are about more than simply comparing the prices of you and the competition. You have to be able to tell when they are on sales so you don’t lose that window of giving discounted prices as well or you can come up with something more creative. Therefore, you must know their pricing strategy and you can easily get the data no matter the size of it through web data extraction.
What is the Importance of Competitive Intelligence and Analysis?
What’s the real benefit of good competitive intelligence? The goal of every business owner is to constantly improve your products/services, content, social media presence, and most importantly, marketing strategies. Competitive intelligence helps you achieve this by telling you what your competitors are doing right, so you can do it too and what they are doing wrong, so you can avoid it. Basically, you are profiting from their experience and learning from their mistakes.
Another question people ask: “what is competitive marketing intelligence?” Competitive marketing intelligence plays a vital role in revealing the current state of the market to you. It is one of the most recommendable ways to get valuable insight into the marketing strategies that are currently most effective with the consumers. Since you share a common consumer base with them, a marketing strategy that works for them will also work for you.
So instead of going to thousands of audience members to find out what marketing strategy best appeals to them, you can just take a look at what they respond to from your competitors. Then you can focus on tailoring that marketing style to focus on the peculiarities of your own business. Web scraping makes it easier to compile accurate data extracted directly from the sources and presented to you in a structured format.
How To Gather Competitive Intelligence Using Web Scraping
One of the things that stump a lot of business owners is how to gather competitive intelligence. How do you collect the data you need in an efficient manner? Without ending up spending a lot of time and resources and hurting your business? Well, here’s a solution. Web scraping! Like I mentioned earlier, web scraping offers an affordable way to collect data in large volumes in a short time.
Web scraping works by using bots known as “spiders” or “crawlers” to parse through the HTML code of a given web page and tag data according to some preset parameters. Then an extractor collects the tagged data into a spreadsheet file, already organized for easy analysis. Depending on the specific service, web scraping services use different protocols to enable you to collect data easily.
With web scraping, you can collect data from social media platforms, competitor websites, price comparison platforms, e-commerce platforms, search engines and so much more. Data from all these platforms gives you a complete picture of the competition’s overall business strategy. Then, you can develop your own strategy to beat them just like the new ice-cream shop that came to my block.
How To Do Competitive Intelligence With Scraping Robot
There are several approaches you can take to implement web scraping in your competitive intelligence analysis strategy but the easiest is using web scraping services. Web scraping services give you the infrastructure you need, so you don’t have to waste time and resources building your own. And the best scraping service you could subscribe to is Scraping Robot.
At Scraping Robot, we make it as easy as possible for you to collect data from anywhere on the web. To get started, just send a message to us detailing what you want and we’ll get started creating a custom scraping solution for you. Our custom scraping solutions are tailored to fit your exact data needs. So you can easily collect all the different datasets you need to successfully analyze competitor tactics. If you’d like to get a taste of how scraping works by yourself, we have some prebuilt modules that you can try out.
Our scraping service uses APIs and multiple proxies to allow you to collect data from multiple web pages in real-time.
Your competitors are a goldmine of data. Everything about them either tells you what to do or what not to do. Competitive intelligence is the content of the goldmine. And at Scraping Robot, we provide you with the tools to mine that wealth of data and use it to improve your business.
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