Where can you
go to find information about competitors and about a marketplace that’s published? I’m Mike Sandman and we’re going to be looking at publications both in print online. So let’s start with the obvious one.

Look at Your Competitor’s Website

If you’re trying to understand what a company is doing, what a business is doing, you go to their website. What companies say about themselves on their websites can be very very useful, not just from the perspective of the concrete things that they tell you, but also from the perspective of the image that they try to present. Another place to look for publications is to go to the Internet for job postings. Competitors put jobs up on their website, particularly if they’re medium-size or larger organizations, and of course there are all sorts of job posting websites – CareerBuilder, Monster, GlassDoor, and a great many industry-specific sites. Beyond that, there are industry forums and discussion boards, and these boards are typically contributed to by people who work in companies that you may be interested in, that may compete in your marketplace, or may have a supplier or customer relationships to your competitors. The companies that these people work for really have no control over what they say.

Social Media Displays Personal Biases

Social media has become an enormously powerful way of looking at what people and businesses are saying about themselves. Social media can be a very valuable source of information, but budget your time, don’t get buried in it, and take it with a grain of salt because a lot of what people say is personal opinion and very often people in the middle people who don’t feel very strongly about an issue one way or the other don’t comment, whereas people who do have a strong opinion either positively or negatively I will make it and will hog the social media spotlight. And then trade journals, most of them are online and they cover every niche that you can imagine. So we’ve looked at all of the places that you can go for publications, both online and in print. This is an enormously powerful source of information about businesses that are in your marketplace and about competitors that you’re likely to face.