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Flatiron Health pulls competitive signals out of the noise to establish differentiated strategies

Flatiron Health has a bold mission in a crowded and complex market: to improve lives by learning from the experience of every cancer patient. Offering a suite of solutions for community oncology providers puts the Flatiron Health team face-to-face with a wide range of competitors, including some legacy direct competitors, a handful of emerging players, and a long tail of indirect competitors offering overlapping or point solutions. The company’s many internal stakeholders across product, sales, customer success, and marketing turned to the Product Marketing & Strategy team to get much-needed context on the market and competitors to maintain a competitive advantage and win in this complex market.

Competitive resources lacking competitive intelligence

From the early days of Flatiron’s Product Marketing team, the company knew they needed competitive intel resources. However, before Crayon, those resources lacked the consistency and structure needed to have the desired impact on sales, product, and other key stakeholders. Though there was an abundance of institutional knowledge about the market and competitors, much of this information was discussed on an ad hoc basis to nurture new deals or client relationships. The team lacked a consistent strategy around collecting, analyzing, and distributing competitive information. Without a good source of competitive intelligence, the team relied on the most recent or loudest story from the field. The information in competitor profiles and battlecards was often outdated and piecemeal.



Director of Product Marketing & Strategy at Flatiron
Competitive intel was gathered and shared in a piecemeal and anecdotal fashion, and it wasn’t being documented or shared consistently or proactively. Our competitive resources had quickly gotten stale and couldn’t be used as a reference. So every time a competitor did something, we jumped into a reactive mode, starting from scratch to find messaging, product details, customer feedback, and everything else we needed. We had a real organizational gap in market and competitive intelligence.

The competitive resources weren’t working, and the team knew they needed to build a competitive intelligence program as the foundation for delivering impactful competitive insights across the company. They turned to Crayon to build a robust CI program including programmatically capturing intelligence, centralizing and synthesizing it, and making it easily accessible by every stakeholder.

Programmatically capturing intelligence & discovering insights

The Flatiron Health team turned to Crayon not only for its strength in capturing complete competitive intelligence data but also for the advanced filtering layer to weed out the noise. The data itself was the necessary foundation of a strong CI program, and coupled with advanced filters, the team can hone in on exactly the intelligence they need at any given moment.

Using Crayon, the product marketing team has been able to stay on top of new competitive updates for a broad view of the most important shifts, as well as targeted alerts related to timely initiatives. For example, around their annual conference, Clara used an alert to surface any activities around their competitors’ events, and when she was working on a particular new product launch, she used an alert to focus in on related keywords to identify competitor mentions tied to that functionality.



Product Marketing & Strategy Manager at Flatiron
What stood out about Crayon was the ease of information access and filtering. Our competitive landscape is diverse, so in getting our competitive intel, one of the most important things is to be able to search for exactly the information we need. On top of that, we have a lot of teams with diverse focus areas accessing Crayon, so it’s great that I can filter down to exactly what I’m looking for, which may be different from what someone else is looking for. This saves time getting the most impactful intel.

Their Crayon analyst has also been a help in surfacing the most important intel and giving a quick view into the broader market. Clara explained, “Our weekly digest from our Crayon analyst has been great for getting a quick update on our market. I can skim through to see the specific competitors that I care about for my segment, but I can also see what’s happening in the broader market. There’s increasing overlap in competitors from other areas of our business, which is important for me to know, but now I don’t have to spend time staying on top of them. And the analyst’s synthesis of the intelligence has been helpful, highlighting why the selected insights are important for us.”

Establishing differentiated strategies with competitive intelligence

Crayon has become the go-to resource for competitive research, and become a primary input for delivering the right intel at the right time to the right stakeholders. Crayon data now feeds a host of deliverables in a seamless way that saves time and elevates the quality of intelligence shared with internal teams. From a monthly competitive newsletter to a daily competitive buzz report to deep competitor profiles to a quarterly market analysis report, Crayon has become an integral source for competitive intelligence and analysis. The team has been able to produce more competitive resources with better intelligence in less time, providing benefits both in and out of the Product Marketing & Strategy team.

Stakeholder teams have more regularly come to rely on the Product Marketing team for actionable competitive intelligence as a result. “Crayon is the first place I go when the Product team comes to us with a specific, niche question about the competitive landscape,” Clara reported. “I’m able to search for exactly that keyword and easily pull together a report for that product manager.” 

The proactive sharing of competitive intelligence has also been positively received by these stakeholders. Crayon plugged into the team’s existing workflows in Slack and email, enabling them to deliver more intel consistently with little effort. In one case, the Product Marketing team discovered that an emerging competitor was likely investing in a notable feature set based on job openings and content marketing surfaced in Crayon. They shared that out through their internal communication channels, and were applauded by their stakeholders. “The head of Strategic Initiatives reached out to us and said, ‘this is great intel, this is the sort of thing we don’t get through our conversations in the field,’” Clara shared.

Building & scaling a successful CI program

When the Flatiron Health team set out to build a CI program, they knew they needed a platform that would help them establish best practices from the start but also grow with the team and scale the program. Crayon’s flexibility and support has helped the Flatiron Health team successfully establish a CI program that’s embedded in the organization.

“Crayon has grown with us,” Nate shared. “From the start, Crayon’s flexibility and support have been critical for establishing a strong CI foundation customized to our needs. We wanted to get this right and not bite off more than we could chew, and the support from the Crayon team to execute a phased approach was really helpful. Crayon as a company is truly committed to a partnership to make sure you get the most out of the relationship and investments in a CI program, regardless of the stage of program maturity. Now we’re entering the next phase of our CI program and we’re excited for the future of the initiative.”

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