When you think of competitive intelligence, you probably think about the news. At its core, competitive intelligence is a means of keeping up with what your competitors are doing, and much of that information is available through news articles, blogs, and social media postings.
But that’s just scratching the surface. Many companies “publish” valuable documents on their own websites or through partner sites, without much fanfare or publicity. In some cases, these documents aren’t even intended for public consumption, per se, but they are nonetheless available to anyone who cares enough to find them.
Here are five types of useful documents that your competitive intelligence process should catch:
1. Requests For Proposal
When your competition bids on a potential contract, the bid specifications are often posted, either through the competitor itself or through the company requesting proposals. Furthermore, in the US, winning bids for government contracts are a matter of public record. Locating these responses in a timely manner can offer insight into your competition’s bidding practices, pricing structure, labor costs, and more.
2. Financial Filings
While quarterly releases are highly publicized, many financial filings don’t warrant the same level of media attention—but they can still provide useful information about the state of the business.
Official presentations can be loaded with valuable info, whether they’re aimed at user groups, investors, partners, or potential customers. Presentations offer a glimpse at how your competition approaches different audiences or market segments, as well as how the company frames its own offerings. And with a daily CI process in place, you’re more likely to catch sensitive documents that weren’t intended for public consumption, making the competition’s mistake your gain.
4. User Guides
Manuals, user guides, and technical documents can offer an in-depth look at how your competition’s products should function. Capturing this type of information can be invaluable for your product development team.
If one of your competitors spends valuable resources conducting research that’s relevant to your industry, why not take advantage of their efforts? Industry reports, surveys, and polls conducted by the competition can be information about not only the industry, but also the company asking the questions.
It’s easy to imagine the business value of these kinds of documents, but tracking them down can be challenging—it often requires hours of browsing and clicking through outdated sitemaps, hoping to stumble across a hidden gem or two. A thorough, ongoing competitive intelligence will help you see everything the competition puts out there by going deeper than the headlines.
For more information about how CI Radar can step up your competitive intelligence process through document capture, contact us today to set up a free demonstration.