Strategies, Techniques & Sources to Find Local Business Information

I just listened to a most informative AIIP (Association of Independent Information Professionals) webinar on finding and using local sources—Internet, Social Networks & People—by Marcy Phelps, CEO of Phelps Research and author of the recently published, Research on Main Street. In the spirit of cooperative intelligence, I would like to share some of the key points I learned.

As a primary researcher, I was listening to clues which provide connection to people, often the best and most current sources of intelligence, recognizing that the web contains numerous sites for companies, demographics, population statistics, country, city, county and state data—the core for research.

Marcy’s 5th strategy tipper “Go Off-line” resonated with me. So much local information is simply not in print anywhere, including the Internet. Also when searching privately held companies or subsidiaries within a large company, it’s great to interview local people, since these companies are often the big fish in a small pond. Some of Marcy’s favorite local sources include: journalists, government workers, librarians, local chapter association leaders, local economists, and economic development executives.

Chamber of commerce sites and their employees are a rich source of local data, and often brag about their local companies and personalities, and can refer you to other people, local newspapers and librarians, among others. Speaking to locals is essential to get at sentiment and opinion, which often bring life to research findings. Other local sources include convention/visitors bureaus, economic development  organizations and local chapters of national associations.

I also liked Marcy’s discussion around local news sources since they can lead you to the right people.

American City Business Journals

ABYZ News Links

News Voyager

Radio-Locator

Google News advance search

Topix

Marcy also included discussion around social networks, a fertile source for finding experts. She included LinkedIn and Twitter, but did you know about Nearby Tweets or Local Tweeps to find people by location? Twitter’s advanced search allows you to find local Tweeters and so much more. Placebloggers is a good resource to find bloggers by location. Others include Feedmap and InOtherNews.

Read Marcy’s handouts from this webinar. You can also link to numerous, relevant links which correspond to each chapter in Marcy’s book, Research on Main Street. While these links are valuable, learning how to use them in context is the key. I recommend that you buy the book to learn how to strategically plan your quest for research, whether it’s to locate your new business, conduct an opportunity analysis, provide sales intelligence or conduct competitive intelligence. She covers so much more especially government sources (chapters 4 & 5), which I didn’t even discuss here. One last tipper: use your creativity and have a Plan B in place! Local information is not that easy to locate, but this book will surely boost your approach to finding it!

You must be an AIIP member for the full transcript and PowerPoint for Marcy’s webinar, which can be accessed anytime through AIIP’s website. Learn more about the benefits of being an AIIP member. If you’re an independent running a research, private eye, library or competitive intelligence practice, AIIP is the place to get invaluable advice and resources to help you start and run your business successfully!

Advertisements

SLA Annual Conference Competitive Intelligence Division: Presentations, Fun & Book Signings

The Competitive Intelligence Division (CID) of Special Libraries Association (SLA) has a great line-up of presentations and fun events at this year’s annual conference in Philadelphia from June 12-15.  In the spirit of cooperative intelligence, I have listed the competitive intelligence (CI) events below in chronological order by date with book signings at the end. Look under Twitter #slacid for CI Division Tweets!

Sunday, June 12: Pre-Conference Workshop

1 – 5 p.m.: Convention Center 203B. Seena Sharp: Sharp Market Intelligence

How to Create the Advantage of Competitive Intelligence in Your Organization. Seena will share wisdom and highlights from her book, Competitive Intelligence Advantage.

Monday, June 13

10-11:30 a.m.: Convention Center 104B. Dr. Craig Fleisher: College of Coastal Georgia CI Division UnConference. Explore the future of competitive intelligence as we look to 2020.

Noon-1 p.m: SLA Bookstore Booth 1321. Craig’s book signing Business & Competitive Analysis

2-3:30 p.m., Convention Center 109B. Toni Wilson: MarketSmart Research CI Best Practices for Creating Value & Collaboration. Show how to create collaboration between Information Professionals and other areas of your company.

4-5:30 p.m., Convention Center 109B. Panel Discussion: Dispelling Myths about Competitive Intelligence

Moderator: Fred Wergeles, Fred Wergeles & Associates

Panelists: Victor Camlek-Thomson Reuters; Jill Heinze-Affinion Loyalty; Nathan Rosen-Morrison & Foerster; Seena Sharp-Sharp Market Intelligence

SLA’s Competitive Intelligence + Legal Divisions

5:30-7:30 p.m., Marriott Salon D. CI Division Open House. Listen to fast paced Pecha Kucha presentations among 6 juried competitors. Winner gets an iPad 2!

Moderator: Dr. Craig Fleisher-College of Coastal Georgia

Judges: Scott Brown-Social Information Group; Ellen Naylor-Business Intelligence Source; Cindy Romaine-Romainiacs Intelligence Research, SLA President & Instigator of SLA’s Future Ready blog

Sponsor: Aurora WDC; Booth 533 & 1429

Tuesday, June 14

8-9:30 a.m., Convention Center 203A. August Jackson: Verizon Researching Privately Held Companies: Information Sources & Techniques that Work

CI Division + News Division

10-11:30 p.m., Marriott Salon B. The Intelligence Café Join 10 CI experts in interactive sessions to learn several CI topics in an informal setting.

Moderators: Arik Johnson-Aurora WDC and August Jackson-Verizon

Topic Leaders:

Dr. Craig Fleisher-College of Coastal Georgia: Analytical Techniques for CI

Carolyn Vella & John McGonagle-The Helicon Group: Legal & Ethical CI

Ellen Naylor-Business Intelligence Source: Build Internal Knowledge Network for Primary Intelligence

Craig McHenry-Pfizer:Technical Tools for CI

Anna Shallenberger-Shallenberger Intelligence: Unique Collection Sources

Eric Garland-Competitive Futures: The Future is Hidden in Your Library

Derek Johnson-Aurora WDC: CI Model Innovation

Toni Wilson-MarketSmart Research: Collaboration with Clients & End Users

Seena Sharp-Sharp Market Intelligence: The CI Advantage: CI Value Proposition of SLA Members

Nathan Rosen-Morrison & Foerster: CI in the Law Library

Sponsor: IEEE Xplore Digital Library, Booth 1401

Noon-1:30 p.m.: Convention Center 203A, Scott Brown-Social Information Group & Joe Murphy-Yale University 60 Apps in 60 Minutes especially for iPhone, iPad and Android! Bring Your Lunch and Learn!

Sponsor: Dow Jones & Company, Booth 600

2-3:30 p.m.: Convention Center Ballroom AB. Seena Sharp: Sharp Market Intelligence Extreme Makeover: CI Edition—Spotlight & Need to Know Session. How to minimize risk, avoid surprises and grow your business. Tippers from Seena’s Competitive Intelligence Advantage book on how CI makes money or saves money every time!

CI + Advertising & Marketing + Business & Finance Divisions

Sponsor: LexisNexis, Booth 411

4-5:30 p.m.: Booth 411. Book Signing by Seena Sharp.

6:30 – 8 p.m.: Meet in Philadelphia Marriott lobby. No Host Competitive Intelligence Dinner. Sign‐up for the dinner during the CID Open House (June 13 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Marriott Salon D) or email Robin Swan at r6s0wan@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, June 15

10-11:30 p.m.: Convention Center 105B. Integrating with Sales & Marketing to Capture & Deliver Intelligence Learn how to gain and provide competitive intelligence for Sales & Marketing in your company. Panel discussion. Informal venue: Q&A format. No PowerPoint.

Moderator: Toni Wilson-MarketSmart Research

Panelists: Susan Berkman-Research Ability; Ellen Naylor-Business Intelligence Source; Marcy Phelps-Phelps Research; Anna Shallenberger-Shallenberger Intelligence

Book Signings by CI Division Speakers:

June 13: Dr. Craig Fleisher: Business & Competitive Analysis—Noon-1 p.m.

SLA Bookstore: #1321 Exhibitor Hall

June 14: Seena Sharp: Competitive Intelligence Advantage—4-5:30 p.m.

LexisNexis Booth #411 Exhibitor Hall

June 14: Marcy Phelps: Research on Main Street—4:30-5:15 p.m.

SLA Bookstore: #1321 Exhibitor Hall

Real-Time Competitive Intelligence

Competitive Intelligence has historically focused on strategic and tactical forms of intelligence. In fact, SCIP changed its acronym from Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals to Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals. While competitive intelligence is an important component in strategic planning, and companies benefit from scenario planning: many companies miss the boat by not conducting and communicating competitive intelligence in real-time. Real-time competitive intelligence deserves to be a focus within the profession.

Many companies think they are conducting real-time competitive intelligence since they monitor their market landscape continuously on the Internet and increasingly through social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as well as industry specific forums or social networks like Ning. While monitoring is the foundation of real-time market intelligence, it is not actionable. The action you take in real-time will give you a competitive advantage.  As David Meerman Scott said at our AIIP conference, “Speed and agility bring competitive advantage…Act now before the window of opportunity vanishes.”

That’s the point: many in competitive intelligence sit on the knowledge they gain from monitoring the environment. I think part of the reason is that competitive intelligence is a staff job, and many in the profession don’t have the authority to take action. Some corporate cultures reward information hoarding, the exact opposite of sharing and taking action.

However, competitive intelligence managers can inform our company employees in real-time, and in areas where we have more knowledge, we can make recommendations. The balancing act in our job is to offer cooperative intelligence: don’t inundate people with too much information, just what you know is important to them.

When you read a rumor about a competitor or marketing trend that could significantly impact your company, check it out right away. This usually involves talking to another human being. That’s why having a deep human source network is essential for every competitive intelligence practitioner.

When you’re at a trade show, report back your findings several times during the day to the sources in your company who are asking. Invariably your findings bring up more questions.

It’s interesting that Sales will quickly follow up with leads immediately after a conference or trade show. With the same exuberance, you need to fire off a report of your key findings to those who need to know, and those you suspect should know. Don’t put it off: some of the most timely intelligence comes from trade show interviews. What I really like is that much of this is not published yet, and can be used to give your company’s marketing, sales and product teams a leg up.

When you hear that a competitor is merging or acquiring another company, put the word out immediately at your company, especially to sales people, as they can reassure your customers that your good service will continue, and perhaps instill doubt about the merged competitor entity.

The point is those companies that take action more immediately are the winners these days. Those that ignore events or sit on valuable information lose. What has been your experience with real-time competitive intelligence?

%d bloggers like this: