Uncovering Competitor Information
Monitoring changes in your competitors' products, markets, and operations is crucial if you are to compete effectively. Here are some suggestions for finding competitor information.
Partnerships and Acquisitions: Have your competitors formed new partnerships with US or foreign technology partners, suppliers, distributors, or customers? What is the effect on market equilibrium? One of these competitors may have acquired a British company. Will the competitor gain access to technology, talent, customers, or market share? How should you respond to the acquisition?
New Hires: What technical and business expertise do new hires bring to your competitors? If a competitor hires someone with twenty years of management experience in India, the company could be considering outsourcing or offshoring some processes. If a biotech company hires a CEO with IT experience, the biotech company may plan to commercialize some software it had originally developed for internal use.
Conferences, Seminars, and Webinars: Are your competitors talking about new research or new business processes at conferences and in webinars? While some companies operate in stealth mode, others like to talk about new products and new ways of doing business. Often you can purchase conference proceedings where competitors spoke without attending the conferences. Another good information source is your competitors' webinars.
Research and Publications: Are your competitors publishing research reports? Research papers buried deep within the Hewlett-Packard web site describe some of HP's new technology.
Patent Disputes and Applications: Are your competitors involved in patent disputes? Check the web. Do they have new patents? Consult:
New Divisions /Spin-offs: Are your competitors forming new divisions or spinning off existing divisions? Spire Corporation, a company known for its expertise in optoelectronics, created a biomaterials division. This division now accounts for much of the company's revenues.
Blogs, Wikis, and Wikipedia: What is the public saying about your competitors' products? Check blogs, wikis, and Wikipedia articles for opinions about competitors' products, services, and support. (A blog is a web log. A wiki is a web site that encourages visitors to add or alter content. Wikipedia.com is a collaborative online encyclopedia.)
Systematically monitoring competitors and then deciding what to do about the information you collect is challenging. We can help you track competitors and evaluate research findings. We also do other types of strategic market analysis.
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