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Knowledge Of The Competition Is A Big Step Ahead - Articles Surfing
In the information age, the value of information cannot be underestimated. Some big companies, in fact, have entire departments devoted to gathering competitive information.
You must be careful however, not to get so wrapped up in gathering information that you wait too long to act. You must be able to act early on in your research into a competitor's upcoming product launch. By beating your competition, you can close out your competitor's distribution channel. But if you dilly dally too long, your options to respond to a competitor's move becomes smaller.
One company that provides training in competitive intelligence for example, warns entrepreneurs not to lie or misrepresent themselves or who they work for. In fact, there's a law - the Economic Espionage Act - that governs the legalities of gathering competitive intelligence.
Here are a few tips on how you can get information about your competition so you can use them in creating effective marketing brochures for your ad campaign:
1. Exploit open sources
There is no better way to jumpstart than with Google. This database is the most used search engine in the Web. On Google, search for the company's name or the industry to find out more about the competition.
Other sources include search engines for industry-focused Web pages, market research, economic analysis, as well as company reports that sell research by the page. This way, you can buy only the pages you need, instead of having to buy the entire report. But before you pay for your information, check whether you can get the same information for free from other sites.
2. Get the help of everyone at your company and as many customers, vendors, and others as possible.
Talking to people remains the most effective way to gather intelligence. Use your employees to be your eyes and ears in the marketplace, in your industry - even in your company's reception area.
For instance, your receptionist can be one of your most valuable sources of information. I know of a brochure printing company that routinely keeps vendors waiting for 10 to 15 minutes after they arrive at the reception area to allow the receptionists to listen in on their conversation. More often than not, these vendors will talk about other brochure printing companies or deals that have been offered to them. The receptionist then has been instructed to immediately email these information to the concerned staff so he or she is better prepared to negotiate when it's time for them to meet.
Within your company, there is a wealth of information. I am aware of a large pharmaceutical firm that pirates staff from other pharmaceutical companies so that they can get inside information. To help employees understand what kind of information you're after, circulate a list of the factors that are critical to your company's success and let them know that these factors will determine their individual successes.
3. Cultivate relationships with competition.
There is no better way to get information than to get it directly from the horse's mouth. Most of these businesspeople know that in order to get information, they also have to give information. As they say, you are going to be much more interesting to talk to if you have something that they would be interested in. You have to be careful though, that you do not give too much.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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