Posts Tagged ‘competitive intelligence’

Competitive intelligence using LinkedIn

April 30, 2010

Clearly LinkedIn is a major source for CI as you get prompt reminders of shifts in organization personnel and the like.  Now a new feature  makes LinkedIn and even more powerful competitive intelligence tool.

The new feature, “Follow Company” allows individuals to get notifications of people’s comings and goings, company announcements and the like. 

One drawback: it doesn’t appear you can follow a company on the “down-low” as LinkedIn allows anyone to see who is following the company.  So if you work for a competitor, its likely that the company is going to know that you are following them.

Chill use of LinkedIn?  If a company doesn’t want to publicly acknowledge comings and goings – either because it doesn’t want to announce lay-offs or maybe because a mass hiring will tip off competitors about a confidential expansion into a new market, I wonder if companies will start discouraging or even prohibiting their workers from updating their LinkIn profile?

Like with Facebook, LinkedIn may find that its need to create ever new features will invoke the law of unintended consequences.

Competitive Intelligence w/ Google “Alert Rank”

March 4, 2010

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing  writes one of my favorite small business blogs.  I’m hardly alone on that score but its mostly because he provides great tips that often enhance what I’m already doing. 

He recently posted about a service call “Alert Rank” which helps organize your Google Alerts and rank them in terms of relevance.  Its free and easy to set up.  Now if only they can integrate it with IGoogle, I’ll be thrilled.

Speaking of the later, use IGoogle as your Google Alert console and remember you can create multiple pages so if you want one page that just tracks competitors or clients you can do that.  If there is a particular issue you want to stay current on, you can do that too.  As someone who has used a number of competitive intelligence tools that cost thousands of dollars a month, I think the combination of “Google Alerts” and “IGoogle” which costs nothing beats out most of the much more pricey competitive tools out there.

Small law firm marketing – be smart

January 15, 2010

This Wall Street Journal article says, go with the growth, create alliances with other businesses and use the Internet.  That’s a great strategy and an here is an example of a tactical approach for a lawyer.

Look at your local business marketing: what industries are flourishing?  Get in front of that audience at their local trade association meeting. 

At the meeting find ways to partner with a key player. Approach someone on the association board, see if he or she is willing to have you speak to his company about a pressing legal issue.

Take that presentation and turn into a white paper you post online.  Let your online community know about your efforts and this should  include people you’ve met at the trade show.

Social networking boon for data mining tools

December 1, 2009

This Computerworld article discusses a couple data mining tools that were created for law enforcement to track potentially criminal activity and the like.  However, these tool can purchased by customers for less upstanding uses.

The tools grab the bits and pieces of data about an individual and synthesize that information into a fuller profile.  More significantly, the tools tracks relationships between various IP addresses in order to evaluate various social relationships the person has with various entities.  As an example, they mention that one of the tools, Maltego, can compile a list of gmail users at the National Security Agency.

Competitive Intelligence: Exomind, another tool can track various activities between people so for example, it could observe a sudden rush of employees at a company giving and receiving LinkedIn recommendation which might signal that a company will shortly experience a layoff.

SCIP is great!

November 19, 2009

Not only do they link one of my blog posts from their home page but they also provide links to great competitive intelligence articles from all over the web.  And I touted their website in my talk this week on competitive intelligence in San Francisco and pointed to several references I found there as resources.

Thanks SCIP (Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals)!

Use iGoogle for competitive intelligence

November 16, 2009

iGoogle allows users to create landing pages for just about anything Google has created an app for and more.  One of the things I use it for is to quickly monitor news about competitors and clients.  And because this is Google, it’s all free.

Basic how-to:

Go to the iGoogle page and if this is your first visit to iGoogle you will see a big button that says, “Look for new stuff to add” which will take you to page full of gadgets you can easily insert into your iGoogle page.  There is also a search button that allows you to find things to add to your page.

Next, search on “alerts” and this will bring up a Google news box that you can customize and add to your page. 

Now you face a question: do you want to load all these news alerts to your one iGoogle tab or create specific tabs for specific activities?  I chose the latter approach and have created a tab called, “Top ten clients.”   To create a tab you open the down arrow to the right of your “Home” label and click on last pull down item, “add a tab.”

A box will come up and you can give this tab any name you want.  It will then save it as a link below your iGoogle home tab.  You can open this tab and start setting up custom Google news searches on your top clients.  The results will display on this page under a label for each client (you create the label) and Google news will stream its most recent news for these clients.  You can display anywhere from 1 to 9 items.  It defaults at three and I chose to see five.  I find it a lot easier to monitor news at a glance rather than have alerts come to my email where I have to open them up individually and scan through them.

Tip:  don’t just follow these instructions.  Play around with iGoogle yourself and I’ll bet you quickly will find uses that work better for you or can improve this approach.  iGoogle is not only very powerful but also lots of fun.

Remember:  I will be speaking about competitive intelligence for law firms in San Francisco tomorrow.

Use social media for competitive intelligence

November 15, 2009

Here is another article about the dangers of social networking for companies.   The article’s recommendation is “be careful” and I think that’s insufficient.  Training, training, training, I believe is the key to a successful corporate approach to handling employees use of social networking.

The article starts out discussing a more interesting issue which is utilizing social networking for competitive intelligence.  They use LinkedIn as an example and warn about the dangers of allowing people access to your network.  The first point is that for a corporation, this could be like handing over a client list to a competitor.  The second point is that this list is great competitive intelligence as it could show an outsider who the key people are in a particular industry and how your company connects to them.

Point one:  There are good reasons to keep your network private based on who you are and what you do.  As an attorney, clients might not want other people to know about the relationship so that is a critical issue.  If you work for Microsoft, you may not want your bosses to know that you just accepted a Google HR recruiter to your network.  Or maybe you do.  But there are downsides to privacy.  Restricting access to your network deprives you some of the benefits of reaching out to others based on who you know. 

Point two:  LinkedIn is a great tool for competitive intelligence, learning about who knows who and how they know them.  This can be great information for a meeting.  You can ask with some confidence if the person you are meeting with knows someone else in their network that you know.

Twitter is also a great tool for competitive intelligence.  In face by utilizing the Twitter’s advance search, its possible to refine a search and get very real time information.  For example, I did a search on various law firms and found that an attorney at Wilson Sonsini tweeted about his being made partner before the firm had made the announcement public.  Typically, firms like to control these kinds of announcements carefully so this might be exploitable intelligence.  Who might have been overlooked?  What else might this person tweet about that could be revealing?

By the way, I will be speaking about competitive intelligence for law firms in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Hoovers integrates with LinkedIn

April 22, 2009

How this works is that as a subscriber when you pull up a Hoover’s company report and view the people at the company, there is another link that allows you to see people in your LinkedIn network that are also at the company.  At the bottom of a Hoover’s record it provides a list of people on LinkedIn at the company within your network and you can sort by relevance which allows you to see which of your contacts has a connection with a particular person.  This increase the value of making sure you have a wide network of contacts.


PhRMA: Drug Industry Association

March 26, 2009

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

Overview: The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.

Associate membership: Allowed but not easy to join.

Public membership directory: Yes but its just a list of pharmaceutical companies with a mailing address and a link to their websites.  However, it is useful as a guide to the top U.S. research-based (versus generic) drug companies.  “B”

National Conference: Not clear from the website but its hard to believe they don’t.  They may keep it exclusive.  “D”

Chapters: Doesn’t appear that they have regional chapters.  Since this includes the top of the industry, it may not be necessary to offer regional chapters.

Glossary? Doesn’t appear that they do.

Industry related content and feel:  Excellent.  They provide lots of colorful reports, newsletters and the like offered to the public.  The only downside is that because they aren’t looking for members, the material and offerings feels calculated for public effect.  “B+”

Overall: This website is easy to use, informative and a bit cold.  Because its primarily an organizations of top corporations, it doesn’t have much of a human feel.  “B”

Sports equipment association report card

March 12, 2009

National Sporting Goods Association

Overview: The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) is a trade association serving retailers/dealers/wholesalers, manufacturers, and sales agents in the sporting goods industry since 1929.

Associate memberships? Yes, its possible to join in a variety of capacities. A

Makes membership directory public? No, but they have an extensive new product directory. B+

Active National Conference?  Yes, they have mulitple conferences and they provide lots of detailed information about them on their website. A

Industry reports and news? Yes, they provide extensive information; statistics, research newletters and much of it is available free of charge to the public.  A

Glossary? No D

Good view into the industry?  Yes, they provide extensive industry research, press releases but no public advocacy. B+

Overall: Excellent website with lots of information about the sports equipment industry.  If I needed to find out about this industry this would be one of my first stops.  A