Competitors Databases How to Build One and Why is it worth the bother

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Competitors Databases How to Build One and Why is it worth the bother

Understanding your competition is not just an advantage; it’s a necessity. This is where building a competitors database comes into play. It’s an invaluable tool for businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve. But what exactly is a competitor’s database, how do you build one, and why is it so critical for your business success?

Understanding Competitors Databases

A competitor database is a structured collection of detailed information about your competitors. This includes their products, strategies, performance metrics, market positioning, pricing, strengths, and weaknesses. It’s more than just a list of names and some text. It’s an important resource that provides in-depth insights into your competitive landscape. 

Why Build Competitor Databases?

Strategic Decision Making

Knowledge about your competitors equips you with the power to make better decisions. You can identify market gaps, understand industry trends, and anticipate competitors’ moves.

Benchmarking

Comparing your business against competitors helps benchmark your performance. It can highlight areas for improvement and opportunities for growth.

Identifying Opportunities and Threats

A well-maintained database reveals opportunities for expansion and potential threats to you.

Tailoring Marketing Efforts

Understand their marketing strategies to improve efforts to capture a larger market share.

Innovation and Development

Competitor insights can create innovation and develop new products or improve existing ones.

How to Build a Competitors Databases

Decide if you are going to use your CRM or a spreadsheet for your competitors databases. Or invest in competitive intelligence software. 

Identify Your Competitors 

Start by listing direct and indirect competitors. Include emerging businesses in your industry.

Define the questions 

Create the questions you want to ask about each competitor.

Gather Information

Use a variety of sources to collect data, including:

  • Public Records and Reports. Financial statements, press releases, and industry reports.
  • Digital Footprint. Websites, social media profiles, and online customer reviews.
  • Market Research. Surveys, interviews, and industry analysis.
  • Trade Shows and Conferences. Networking events are goldmines for gathering competitor information. 
  • Talking to people. Experts, your sales teams, customers and your competitors. 

Analyse the Data

Organise the data in a way that allows for easy analysis. Look for patterns, trends, and insights that can guide your strategy.

Update Regularly

The business world is dynamic. Regular updates to your database ensure you always have up-to-date information.

Leveraging Technology in Building Your Database

Technology can be crucial in building and maintaining a competitor’s database. CRM, data analytics platforms, and AI-driven market intelligence tools help automate things like your data collection and analysis, which provide real-time insights and forecasts.

Deep-Dive Competitive Intelligence

Basic data collection is a good start. The real edge lies in deep-dive competitive intelligence. This involves:

Leadership and Talent Analysis

Understanding the competitor’s strengths and strategies lies in analysing their leadership and talent, including their experience, leadership styles, and even their movement across the industry.

Patent and R&D Insights 

Track patents and research activities offer early signs of future moves and areas of interest.

Supply Chain Analysis

Examining a competitor’s supply chain can reveal their efficiency. And their reliance on certain suppliers and potential vulnerabilities.

Customer Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment analysis on social media and review platforms gauges customer perception and satisfaction.

Predictive Analytics

The next level of a competitors database involves predictive analytics. Forecast future trends and market and competitor moves by analysing past and current data. This approach allows you to prepare and strategise rather than react.

Integrating Competitive Intelligence into Corporate Strategy

Having a competitors database is one thing. But effectively integrating this intelligence into your corporate strategy is another. This involves:

Regular Strategy Reviews

Incorporate insights from the database into regular strategic reviews. This ensures that your strategies are always aligned with the current competitive landscape.

Cross-Functional Use

Share insights across departments. For instance, marketing can use competitive intelligence for campaigns. Product development can be used for innovation.

Scenario Planning

Use the database for scenario planning. By simulating different competitive scenarios, you can develop contingency plans.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

The business environment is constantly evolving, and so should your competitors’ databases. Encourage a culture of continuous learning and adaptation within your organisation. Stay abreast of new data analysis techniques and tools. Be ready to pivot your strategies based on fresh insights.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Sometimes, the best intelligence comes from collaborations and partnerships, even with competitors. This can be strategic alliances, joint ventures, or industry consortiums. Such collaborations can provide deeper insights than what is available through public sources.

Embracing a Global Perspective

Competitor analysis must go beyond local or regional boundaries. Global trends, international competitors, and cross-border market dynamics can impact locally focused businesses. Understand how international events, policies, and economic shifts influence your competitors and industry. Analyse how cultural differences affect competitors’ strategies and market performance in various regions.

Unconventional Data Sources

To gain deeper insights, tap into unconventional data sources:

Social Listening Tools

Go beyond standard social media monitoring. Use advanced social listening tools to capture unstructured data. Data like consumer sentiments, trends, and influencers’ opinions.

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) 

Utilise publicly available information from many secondary sources. From media, public government reports, forums and journals.

Machine Learning Algorithms

Use algorithms to predict competitor behaviour, market shifts, and consumer trends.

Big Data Analytics

Big data is used to process and analyse vast amounts of information. To reveal patterns and insights not visible through traditional analysis.

Integrating Non-Traditional Competitors

New unconventional business models mean traditional competitor analysis might miss key players.

Disruptive Startups

Keep an eye on startups disrupting traditional business models in your industry.

Indirect Competitors

Consider businesses in adjacent industries that could pivot into your space. Or as dangerously change consumer expectations.

Continuous Skill Development

The field of competitive intelligence is ever-evolving. Continuous skill development is essential.

Training and Workshops

Regular training team sessions on the latest data analysis techniques and competitive intelligence.

Collaboration with Experts

Engage with competitive intelligence experts, data scientists, and industry experts to improve capabilities.

The Art of Storytelling with Data

Finally, the ability to weave data into a compelling narrative is crucial. Storytelling with data transforms raw information into actionable insights. Making it easier for decision-makers to understand and act upon. Use data visualisation tools to present complex data in a digestible format. Develop the skill of crafting narratives around data and its insights, highlighting key insights and strategic implications.

Competitors Databases How to Build One and Why is it worth the bother

So, wrapping up. Building a competitor database requires traditional techniques, innovative approaches, and ethical practices. Gain significant competitive advantage by:

  • Expanding the scope and depth of your competitive intelligence
  • Embracing technology
  • Fostering a culture of continuous learning

Building a competitors database is not a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process that requires dedication and strategic thinking. Understanding your competitors allows you to stay one step ahead. It will enable you to make smarter strategic decisions. And position your business for success in a crowded and ever-changing marketplace. A competitors database is more than a tool; it’s a strategic asset. It should evolve, adapt, and integrate into the fabric of your strategy. The ultimate goal is not to track competitors but to anticipate and lead the market. In the race of competition, it’s not about keeping up; it’s about staying ahead.

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