3 Great Sources for Gathering Competitive Intelligence

Part of the Competitive Intelligence For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The Hollywood version of gathering competitive intelligence might show some phone tapping, computer hacking, or night-time activities involving flashlights. Illegal! Fortunately, plenty of competitive intelligence is freely available, and you don't need to break a sweat over the methods.

Here are some great (and legal) sources of information to consider as you build a competitive analysis:

Good Sources for Competitive Intelligence
Sources inside your organization CEO and other executives, board of directors, salespeople, marketing managers and personnel, customer-service reps, delivery personnel
Sources outside your organization Customers, suppliers, distributors, financial analysts, SEC filings, online databases, social media, Dow Jones, LexisNexis, newspapers, trade journals, white papers, speeches and presentations, catalogs, patent databases, analytics
Events Trade shows, conventions, conferences, standards organizations

When it comes to internal sources, think big and target everyone within your organization. Why? Because your co-workers are already doing competitive intelligence as they perform their jobs on a daily basis. A big part of doing CI consists of formalizing these activities and building a system around them so that you're constantly mining information from these sources, analyzing it, and getting it to the decision makers who need it to formulate future strategies.

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