What Is Competitive Intelligence? Complete Guide For eLearning Marketers

What Is Competitive Intelligence? The Complete Guide For eLearning Marketers
Summary: What is competitive intelligence, and what are the benefits for eLearning marketers? A complete guide to help you win more customers.

Competitive Intelligence Guide For eLearning Marketers

What is competitive intelligence in simple words? Competitive intelligence in business is also known as corporate intelligence. It's the idea of gathering, analyzing, and using information collected on your competitors, customers, and other market factors. All combined can contribute to your business's competitive advantage.

Care to see how it's done?

Look, there will always be alternative products and solutions out there. Your competitors are dying to fulfill your customers' needs better than you can. So, when dealing with eLearning products and services, you must outperform your competition. That's the way to go if you want to win more customers. And to do that, you'll need to have the best product in the market.

But what makes a product the best? For your marketing and positioning strategies to work, you must know where your product stands in such a competitive environment as the eLearning industry. You see, it's not just about how relatable your product is to your ideal customers and their needs but also how it compares with the rest of the market.

Let's go a little deeper...

Do You Want To Implement Competitive Intelligence The Right Way?
Learn how you can spy on your competitors with an SEO competitive analysis.

Competitive Intelligence Benefits You'll Want To Leverage

So, what are the benefits of competitive intelligence, and why is it important? Tactical intelligence is critical for several reasons. First off, you'll want to learn what your customers want. Then, you'll need to determine your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. Of course, it's key to understanding buyer motivations and uncovering market trends if you want to stay at the top. Anticipating threats and building a continuous competitive advantage are vital. Not only will the above help you prioritize business decisions but will also help strengthen your strategies.

Care to learn how you can leverage competitive intelligence to win more customers?

It's time to learn how competitive intelligence works.

Competitive Intelligence Examples

Doing competitive intelligence right means finding the best ways to "know your enemy."

First and foremost, you'll need to go through diverse published and unpublished sources. That way, you can collect efficiently and ethically a vast amount of content and data to understand what's going on in the eLearning market.

In an ideal world, an eLearning business can successfully employ competitive intelligence. To begin with, you have to cultivate a detailed portrait of your marketplace. Doing so will allow you to anticipate and respond to challenges. It's a great strategy if you want to handle problems before they even arise.

The eLearning industry is a very competitive environment. As such, you must demystify the opportunities and challenges it presents. If you analyze all the info you get, it's easier to create effective and efficient business practices for the future.

Don't know where to start? Here are some competitive intelligence examples.

1. Content Updates

A good example of competitive intelligence is taking notice of content updates. Are you aware if your competitors are expanding to new customer segments? For example, they might change their focus from SMBs and mid-sized companies to enterprises. However, it's also essential to know when they try to expand to new buyer personas. Mind you, the latter is crucial because it can bring devastating consequences from a market share perspective. When rival companies start marketing to a broader range of target customers, you need to pay attention.

Do you want to avoid getting blindsided? Well, start paying attention to your competitors' content updates. What they share in blog posts, newsletters, and social media reflects the buyer personas they are after. Companies that write about eLearning course creators sell to eLearning course creators. Companies that write about HR challenges sell solutions to HR professionals. You get my point. So, if at one point you notice that one of your competitors starts creating content geared towards a new buyer persona, then it's worth investigating further.

Using an SEO competitive analysis is key to spying on your competitors, but it can also help you find interesting topics to talk about. For example, you can use SEO tools to see where their organic traffic is coming from, check backlinks, identify brand ambassadors, or even uncover paid keywords.

2. News Coverage, Surveys, And PR

News coverage is another excellent example of competitive intelligence. It doesn't matter much whether it's positive, negative, or neutral. Just keep an eye out for any news coverage regarding your competitors, as it might signal a strategic shift.

For example, one of your competitors could get coverage on announcing a new partnership. That's crucial information since it might convey a shift in their branding or demand generation strategy. Plus, more often than not, news coverage actually reinforces your value proposition.

What if it is announced that one of your competitors has had a data breach? That's an excellent opportunity to use this as proof of your superior security efforts.

In these last few years, we've published several surveys that have captured the attention of plenty of media. You may check them out here:

By having Christopher Pappas talk about these insights on Forbes Business Council or other websites like SHRM, The Enterprisers Project, Human Resources Director, Benefits Pro, Entrepreneur, World At Work, HR Executive, HR Morning, HR Today, HR.com, HRTECHSERIES and Industry Today, we've boosted brand awareness. Following our example, you'll notice that many of your rivals might be using similar tactics to get media attention and increase brand awareness.

Make sure to keep an eye on similar assets the moment they are published by your major rivals.

3. Positioning/Messaging Changes

When it comes to competitive intelligence examples, this is one of my favorites. You must have a high-level understanding of how each of your rivals communicates the unique value of their business. It's a great strategy if you want to differentiate your product.

I can't stress enough how important it is to stay on top of any positioning and messaging changes. For starters, take a look at your competitors' homepages. Then, do the same with their product pages. It's crucial to notice if they make any changes to their core value proposition. And the way to start is by looking at your main competitors' websites. Also, you can go around their social media channels.

Most importantly, if you see any changes, the sales, marketing, and customer success teams at your company would love to learn what you discovered. Sending out alerts when competitors initiate positioning and messaging changes will help prepare you and your company for what's coming. Plus, when prospects and customers have objections or questions, you'll be able to address them more easily.

4. Pricing/Packaging Changes

As we've discussed time and time again, eLearning and educational technology is a competitive market. So, you understand how vital pricing and packaging can be when you want to influence buyer decisions.

Even if your eLearning product offers the best value for money and ROI in the market, remember that potential customers always have some budget constraints. Sometimes you might lose business to a competitor simply because that company offers a similar eLearning product at a lower price point.

Unfortunately, you cannot stop this from happening unless you keep track of your competitor's pricing and packaging offerings. No one wants to have prospects going dark or even having customer churn. So, keep an eye on your competitors' pricing and packaging details.

The best way to do so is to have set times per month when you go directly to competitor websites and check if there are any changes in pricing options. Sure, field intelligence is good, but nowadays everything happens online first.

5. Leadership Changes

Speaking of business intelligence examples, it's a good idea to keep track of executive leadership changes. You must be in the know when it comes to the C-suite personnel across your competitive landscape. You see, such changes usually precede strategic shifts.

For instance, there might be a time when your industry rival hires a VP of Sales for the first time. Obviously, that's a killer move if you want to improve sales. Consequently, you'll start noticing that your sales reps might find themselves in a loophole where they have to tackle competitive deals.

Here's another example: say your competitor parts ways with their Chief Product Officer. That is a big deal, as this departure might indicate changes to their product roadmap. Knowing about competitor leadership changes gives you an advantage in anticipating major consequences from such a change.

Arming your sales reps with the collateral needed to win competitive deals and helping your customer success reps combat talking points relevant to competitor offerings are vital.

Looking forward to improving your team? Here are some methods successful leaders use to build high-performing marketing teams!

6. Customer Reviews

If you are looking for a valuable source of competitive intelligence, customer reviews are what you need. There are many websites online where you can find customer reviews about your rival's products.

The good thing is that these reviews provide honest and unbiased opinions. Hence, you can understand your competitors' products, services, features, benefits, and drawbacks. Plus, you can also find user suggestions for making the product better. That can help you craft a selling point based on what you have but others don't. Or, simply, you could use user feedback to improve your own products based on what's missing from the User Experience.

By leveraging customer reviews, you can identify your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. In addition, you can understand more about customer satisfaction and loyalty or even go deeper into their value proposition and differentiation. That way, you can discover areas of improvement and innovation for your products as well. Are you wondering what kind of customer review platforms you can use? From Yelp, Trustpilot, or G2 to our niche-specific corporate training directory, you can access and analyze hundreds of competitor customer reviews.

However, remember that you might see some fake or manipulated reviews. Or, for example, you'll find plenty of incomplete or inaccurate information out there. The key is to look for quality and relevance in customer reviews. Therefore, always be critical and cautious when using customer reviews as a business intelligence tool. Make sure to cross-check and verify the information you gather with other sources of competitive intelligence to avoid pitfalls.

Also, winning business awards is something many of your competitors might be after. So, make sure to check what kind of awards they've won in the last two years and go after them yourself!

7. Employee Reviews

Keeping an eye on your competitors means that you also want an insider's view of what kind of business they are running. Most importantly, you should find out what the employee experience is like there. That way, you get to dive into your rival's company culture and bring more talent your way.

To remain at the top, you need your company to stay competitive and attract top-notch candidates. By creating a work environment where employee satisfaction is a goal, HR pros will manage to hire top talent and retain employees in the long run. Go through sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, Vault, etc., and find any company culture ideas or benefits packages that might be a good addition. Also, check if they've won any awards for their employee experience. For example, they might have been recognized as a Best Place To Work.

Ultimately, using competitive intelligence can lead you to transform the employee experience at your company. You see, competitive intelligence is used by more than just marketing, product, and sales departments. HR teams can also benefit from competitive intelligence. By learning more about your competitive landscape and how you stand up to the competition, you'll top the charts as an employer brand.

Having your company's core values set is key for performance, productivity, and retention.

8. Job Postings

When you want to spy on your competition, a good idea is to check their job postings. Not only will new position openings reveal their next steps, but it might also motivate you to bring more talent to your business.

Your competitors' internal investments reveal where they are focusing their resources. That's why competitive intelligence research does include taking a look at job openings. It's crucial not to get blindsided by any new projects your competitor might be planning. You can follow them on social media or even monitor brand mentions on the web to make sure you're the first to learn about any new job postings.

It's like transfers in sports like basketball and football. You want to know if they are on the lookout for a new team member because you might also need to strengthen your team to compete with them. It's how it goes if you want to win a championship. Maybe it gives you a clue that they are parting ways with one of their leading learning technologists, or maybe they are looking for a new eLearning developer or designer. Any of these moves conveys a strategy behind it. And the sooner you know, the better.

9. Customer Logo Changes

For argument's sake, let's assume you're competing with more than one company. If that's the case, you'd be on your toes to know if your competitors lose a key account. Having this information from the very start is critical to building an even stronger relationship and getting that client on your side.

What I want you to remember is that knowing that a prospective customer is back on the market is news you should learn right off the bat. And to do that, you need to monitor the customer logos on your competitors' websites closely. If you're already spying on them, the moment they quietly remove the logo, you'll be the first to know! That gives you the advantage to investigate any opportunities before anyone else. It's all about using a timely strategy to seal the deal with an important client.

Key Takeaway

No matter your industry, everyone is competing for audience attention. And it's a fierce battle. If you think about it, we compete for traffic, ad placements, followers, and sales. Although conducting competitive analysis is absolutely necessary for business intelligence, it is not particularly "fun" if you don't know where to start.

I know that competitive intelligence as a topic might be a bit uncomfortable. And for good reason. Many eLearning marketers fail to spy on their competitors, and that is their doom. Thankfully, there are many competitor analysis tools you can leverage.

If you can't do it on your own, our strategic and competitive intelligence professionals are ready to help you.

Simply reach out, and we'll talk about all the right steps you need to take to spy on your competition and get those sales rolling!

Your Cart