A reader from Tehran, Iran emailed asking for a model by which he could judge how competent his company was at competitive intelligence. Tough question. At the end of this post I'll share my attempt at a model that you can use to judge at what level your company is operating.
But first I wanted to share a podcast I recently did with Eric Enge from StoneTemple Consulting on the topic of competitive intelligence.
There has been a lot of buzz about competitive intelligence and a lot of interest in conflicting marketing claims. It is hard, it is complex but hopefully your find something interesting and actionable in my podcast with Eric.
Podcast Summary: We started by talking about why competitive analysis should be a part of ever web analytics program (now that there are so many free options as well). We covered the top competitive intelligence vendors, the data capture methodologies they use and the strengths of each vendor.
Download the Podcast:
Podcast Details: Here are the questions we covered in the podcast:
- 1. Why do you think we need to do competitive intelligence analysis as a part of web analytics
2. Can you talk a little bit about using Hitwise as an analysis tool?
3. Can you talk a little bit about using ComScore as an analysis tool?
4. Can you talk a little bit about using Alexa as an analysis tool?
7. In that same post you also talked about MSN’s keyword / key phrase forecast tool. How does that fit into a businesses web site plan?
8. For a final question, let’s shift gears a bit, because this is one of the most interesting things we’ve discussed. How would you recommend a company get started when they are getting into analytics for the first time?
In my humble opinion each company / Analyst should spend at the minimum 10 – 15% of their time doing competitive analysis because it is the only way you will provide the “ecosystem” context to the data you are getting from your Web Analytics data.
If you are not doing competitive analysis (using any tools above that you prefer) then you are optimizing and measuring success with blinders on. You’ll go straight and make turns etc, but without the benefit of the 360 degrees view (which could have a huge influence your turns and the direction you take).
Competitive Intelligence Competency Judgment Model:
So if you do spend 10% of your time doing competitive analysis how do you figure out what level of competency you are at? There isn't a standard model you can use, it is still a evolving field. But I would look for these things:
* You do nothing, you are focussed on your website analytics and that forms all of your reporting and every element on your dashboard. You have unlimited potential for improvement.
* This one's tricky: You currently only measure conversion rate for your competitor using one of the many tools. This is also level nada because usually there is little actionable insight that comes from this exercise. (For more on this click here.)
* Do you know your share of traffic compared to your competitors?
* Do you know the trend of traffic over the last six to twelve months compared to your competitors?
* What are the organic rankings of the top search keywords for you with respect to your competition?
* Do you know what % of your traffic comes from search engines and what % is it for your competitors?
* What is your share of visitors you get from search engines for your top five non-branded keywords, what what is the share that your competitors are getting?
* What are the top five websites referring traffic to your website and what sites are referring traffic to your competitors?
* Are you doing search funnel analysis for your keywords and your competitors keywords?
* What affiliates and banner ads networks work for your competitors successfully? Are you using them? Should you use them?
* Do you know which are the sites that are not your direct competitors but are getting traffic for your non-branded keywords? What is your strategy to deal with them?
You can use the answers to questions in each level in the model above to judge what level you are at. How's that for simple!
Jim Sterne's Emetrics summits are a premier destination for learning about all things Web Analytics. I have spoken at past Emetrics summits and am a Net Promoter of the events (emetrics DC '06 reflections). The next set of conferences are in London, March 29 (Agenda, Speakers) and San Francisco, May 7 (Agenda, Speakers). Jim's very kindly invited me to speak at both events and I hope to see many of you there.
As always please share your feedback via comments about this post, I would love to get your feedback on the competency model suggested above or anything else for that matter.
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