Tools & Competitive Intelligence SearchFest 2010 Session

Learn more about your competitors. This session will teach you how to gain the insights necessary via tools to help facilitate advantageous business decisions.


Neil Patel – ACS
Jordan Kasteler – Search and Social
Brian Carter – Fuel Interactive

Session Details

Brian Carter was the first speaker for this session. His talk is about competitive intelligence for social media and SEO.

44% of marketers using social media for competitive intel; 21% use social media but not for competitive intel.

Captain Dominance: Abe Lincoln

  • Team of rivals
  • Keep enemies close
  • Respond the right way at the right time

What is competitive intelligence? It’s spying and monitoring. You start with data, analyze and then act on it.

How do you “do” competitive intelligence? Gather info about products, competitors, enviroment, strategy and tactics.

Problems with competitive intelligence?

  1. Workload – it’s a huge job.
  2. Leadership – great companies don’t follow their competitors.
  3. Impact – less data on micro / neotrends so competitive intelligence conclusions can be obvious.
  4. Results – does it really improve success?

Why is competitive intelligence important? Insights – get to know your customer better than your competitors. If you know them more than your competitors, you’ll most likely be able to market to them better than your competitors.

Everything you discover during competitive intelligence needs to fit your plan – don’t imitate but don’t stray from your plan. If you copy, your customers might think of you as a copycat and not a leader.

An idea: crowd-source your competitive intelligence; ask your customers what they don’t like about your competitors.

Next up with Neil who is talking about 5 social media discovery tools.

His five points are:

  1. Twitter search – Neil isn’t a fan of Twitter but likes Twitter search. Search on keywords that have to do with the business you’re doing competitive intelligence for. Searching will help you discover what customers want and don’t want.
  2. Google Trends – current trends help you determine what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t be doing. Trends change very quickly; be careful what you go after. Dig into the trend a bit deeper to see if you can discover relevant hot trends.
  3. Social Mention – don’t just rely on the popular social sites to figure out what’s hot and what’s not. You not only need to create a lot of buzz but positive buzz.
  4. Tweetmeme – get in with the “it crowd” before they go popular. Search for things that are in your industry or competitor terms and look into a couple of things like sorting by age, don’t focus on popular stories and go after the ones that are rising in popularity fast.
  5. Technorati – it’s not “sexy” anymore but it does a pretty good job.

Bonus – Digg. You can search by keyword and see the highest-dugg stories that have that keyword in it. Neil adds “+np” to the keyword search query that disallows any stories that hit the front page.

Jordan was the last speaker. Jodan is going to cover what exactly you should be monitoring for social media.

Jordan suggested using Trendrr and Trendistic, a couple of tools that shows you the volume of social conversions happening at social media sites. Blogpulse was another tool which looks specifically at blog conversations. WhosTalkin brings a whole bunch of different resources (blogs, forums, etc.) into one space for you to search where conversions are happening on the social web.

In Twitter search, you can search by positive or negative mentions now, which can help you zero in on what you’re looking for while getting rid of the fluff.

Tweetbeep will email you whenever something is mentioned in Twitter (think Google Alerts for Twitter).

Boardtracker and Boardreader are two tools to use for monitoring purposes on forums and message boards.

PostRank aggregates a lot of bookmarks and sharing statistics from many websites and shows you graphs on these stats. It’s a free tool.

Compete can help you spy on competitors and see a “guesstimate” as to the percentage of referral traffic.


Mike Rosenberg


Christian Bullock of Amplify Interactive, a Portland Oregon SEM agency

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