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Competitive Market Research: Study Shows How Companies Monitor Their Competitors

Colleen Ferguson on Thu, Feb 8, 2018

Monitoring is essential to any competitive intelligence strategy, as it allows a company to stay on top of what competitors are doing at all times. The 2018 State of Market Intelligence Report uncovers current practices of how companies are monitoring their competitors and approaching their market research efforts. To understand the practices around competitor and market intelligence monitoring, let’s dive into the Who, What/Where, When, and How to shed some light on the subject.

Who Are Companies Monitoring?

The report found that companies are monitoring a wide range of audiences, including direct competitors, indirect competitors, customers, prospects, partners, and more. Notably, 82% of companies track their own company as an integral part of their CI efforts -- notice this percentage matches the number of those who track indirect competitors as well. This attentive approach provides a well-rounded perspective on how a company is performing in the greater marketplace.


Aspirational Competitors, Partners, and Thought Leaders are the groups least tracked, which shows a missed opportunity -- these audiences can provide significant insight into market strategies.

What and Where Are Companies Monitoring?

The majority of professionals in the study track 10 or fewer sources of intel, focusing mainly on a couple of their competitors’ core online profiles -- website, content accounts, and social media accounts.

Get the latest data - download the 2020 State of Competitive Intelligence  Report 


The sources companies monitor demonstrates a big opportunity in competitive intelligence. The small scope of intel sources (10 or fewer) doesn’t even come close to covering one company’s digital footprint -- some of the most valuable intel can be hidden in less obvious sources, such as job boards and review sites. You can also learn valuable information by gathering sales and marketing feedback from your own team.

When are Companies Focusing on Competitive Monitoring?

Competitive monitoring can be a time-consuming process, so it’s no surprise that the bulk of competitive and market intelligence time goes towards this research phase. 43% of time for market intelligence is dedicated to research, while the remainder is split between market analysis and communication of insights.


How are Companies Gathering Competitive Intelligence?

Given the time involved in competitive monitoring, it’s no surprise that many companies turn to a variety of products and services to support this process. 58% use at least one competitive intelligence software tool, and 34% employ a consulting or research firm. However, a single solution can’t always provide a complete picture, which is why 39% of respondents stated they use two or more tools to support their market and competitive intelligence efforts.

For the companies who use no tools at all, this may be a reflection of company size. For example, with companies >1,000 employees, over 70% use at least one software tool or consulting agency, while only half of companies with <50 employees leverage tools or agencies. Fortunately for those small companies with limited budgets, there are plenty of online tools and resources to help make the most of your competitive intelligence and maintain best practices.


Competitive intelligence is only valuable if you are gathering timely intelligence on the right competitors in the right places. Benchmark your own competitive intelligence efforts against the results of the 2018 State of Market Intelligence Report.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence Market Research Market Intelligence

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