AWARE Competitive Intelligence Resources
Where to find information
In order to gather and use competitive intelligence, one of the first steps is to search for secondary information sources - i.e. information that has already been published or collected for other purposes, that may be relevant to the key intelligence topic under investigation. Secondary sources may provide the answer to what you need. They may also provide information that will help the primary research stages - by suggesting potential contacts or interview approaches.
Knowing where to look is half the battle!
Over the years, we have built up a database of sources that we use for finding information. Some of these are on the web - and are easily accessible. Our Competitive Intelligence sources on the Internet pages give you a selection of these. We also include some relevant videos to offer you online training in various aspects of competitive & marketing intelligence and analysis - courtesy of the best of YouTube and similar sites.
As well as the CI Sources we've added a separate list of other cool sites we believe show merit even if the content is not directly CI related. These include pages on business management, finding grants, business education, and a selection of reciprocal links. (We try and keep our links up-to-date and current but every now and then good sites disappear or change. If you find any dead links, or links that fail to match the description please tell us).
Although there is an incredible amount of information on the web, often the best place to learn how to do something new, or the theory behind something, is from a book. Our book recommendations list our favourite books on competitive intelligence and analysis, marketing, scenario planning and related subjects. Alternatively, if all you need is a general overview on what competitive intelligence and competitor analysis involves then our brief guide to competitive intelligence / competitor analysis should get you started.
Another resource is a regularly changing section on business humour. A major reason why companies fail is that they miss the obvious: that is they miss what is obvious to everybody else. Such failings are blindspots and humour is one of the best ways of illustrating a blindspot. The selection of stories and anecdotes included all have the aim of showing how easy it is to be blinkered and miss the obvious. You should use these stories and consider whether any of these or similar practices are common in your business - and if they are, how they impact your competitiveness. Part of the role of CI is to help businesses identify and correct their blindspots, and humour, storytelling and similar approaches are one of the more effective ways of quickly making such blindspots visible.
The above resources are all external to AWARE. We include two resources which are not - our blog, and our Marketing Newsletter. Our blog is published whenever something catches our attention that we think will help your competitive intelligence, marketing or general management thoughts and practices. The newsletter is published occasionally, and aims to keep you up-to-date with what we are doing.
If you can't find what you need on our CI Resources pages have a look at our Help pages. These include a free ask the expert section where you can post a question on any competitive analysis, competitive intelligence or marketing related topic and one of our experts will reply with an answer. We also include an archive of typical past questions, so you may find the answer there.
Quick Tip: Questions
A key competitive intelligence skill is the ability to distinguish what you do know from what you don't know. The effort is then to find out sources for the unknown information - as the great English writer, Dr Samuel Johnson said:
Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
Unfortunately even with the knowledge there can be problems. Lewis Branscomb - the US physicist and Harvard management professor once said:
People rarely distinguish among data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. But they are as different from each other and as interlocking as starch molecules, flour, bread, and the flavorful memory of a superb morning croissant.
The aim of competitive & marketing intelligence is to turn data into something that can lead to competitive advantage in the same way that your morning croissant or loaf of bread depends on flour and water interacting to make something that is more than just a mixture of the raw ingredients.