The internet was supposed to make it easy to find information. In the early days, it was touted as ‘the place where anyone, anywhere, with a connection could find anything they needed’. Shortly after the birth of Google, in 2000, students began using it for research instead of the library. Business owners began using it instead of attending trade shows or going directly to their competition’s place of business. Marketing departments began using it to learn more about their competition. And by early 2004, Google was handling 84.7% of all search requests. And today, in 2014, Google and its properties dominate the search engine market by handling over 85% of the world’s search queries.
And yet, Google hasn’t indexed the entire web. There are websites, conversations, information and more that cannot be found in a Google search. It could be that the website itself was programmed to not be found by Google. It could be that there is a company, university, association database that isn’t accessible through a search query using Google. And, considering that a single search for a brand, personal name, business name, or service can bring over 3 million results in Google – wouldn’t it be nice to know how to find this information without the help of Google?
Competitive Intelligence involves the use of many tools to answer key business questions. One component, or tool, is the better use of free resources available on the web. A lot of competitive intelligence and industry analysis questions can be answered, at least in part, by using these resources.
This book is a basic introduction to using online tools to find information about companies, people and activities that have an impact on:
•A Company’s position in the marketplace
•An engineering team’s ability to stay ahead of the competition with a product design
•What a writer will include in the new product manual
•How a salesperson will approach their next prospect
•The details an analyst will include in their report to the VP of Finance
My goal is to show you that there are places on the internet, other than Google, where you can find information.
My hope is that you will learn a new tool or tactic that you can put to work for you today.