Yesterday I listened to a most engaging and informative AIIP webinar presentation by Arthur Weiss of CEO of Aware on how to find competitive intelligence online. I have taken many of Arthur’s Internet tip especially to beef up Google Chrome searching and connection to improve my specialty, primary research, that is finding information by talking to people. In a spirit of cooperative intelligence, I share these tips to help you locate better information and identify relevant people more expeditiously.
The 10 Tips
1. Know What You are Looking For. Switch your perspective and look at the target company as though you were them, their competitor or a customer.
2. Create a Collection Plan. Identify sources: Why will the information be available? Where will you find it? How can you find it ethically?
3. Use Advanced Search Techniques. Start with the search engines & take advantage of the innuendos of key word searching, advanced search techniques and language translation. He liked Wonder Wheel (discontinued) which visually mindmaps your Google search, which he didn’t realize was so easy to enable through Google Chrome. Arthur also reminded us to search Amazon for sources and to take advantage of the Even More features of Google. One Google Chrome extension he likes in particular, is the Augment Search feature, which allows you to add/change search engines to your search.
5. Don’t Ignore Competitor websites. Aside from reading them thoroughly, don’t forget Domain Tools and Moz since sites linked to your target company can be very telling, and may also provide you people to talk to. Don’t forget to search cache memory for some history of the website over time on Wayback Machine.
7. It’s the people that make the difference! In addition to the common social media connections, Arthur recommends Quora. Other people search tools include Datacom Connect, and Spokeo. Arthur wasn’t as keen on Zoominfo, since they have converted to fee based mostly. Be aware that these sources all need to be cross-checked. Look at your own profile and note the errors.
8. Remember the Quality of Paid Databases. Many of us at AIIP take advantage of the discounted rates from these service providers such as Dow Jones Factiva, PrivCo, InfoToday, ProQuest and LexisNexis to name a few.
9. Keep Up-to-Date! I particularly valued Arthur’s tip to follow industry and competitive intelligence experts on Twitter. This is so easy and you can clump their Tweets so easily in a Tweet Deck column. I also like to stay current with CI Ning, SCIP, AIIP and IntelCollab.
10. Think Differently. Look for things that are odd or out of place. If something doesn’t look right, feel right, or sound right, find out why. Be a critical thinker.
This is just a smattering of what Arthur shared about how to find competitive intelligence online! These webinars are one of the key benefits of AIIP membership. They are all taped so you can listen to them anytime, and AIIP members can download a copy of the slides as well.