Competitive Intelligence on a Shoestring Budget (July 2013 Product Camp Austin)


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This is the material that was presented for session OA-1110 , "Competitive Intelligence on a Shoestring Budget", at Product Camp Austin July 20th 2013.

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Competitive Intelligence on a Shoestring Budget (July 2013 Product Camp Austin)

  1. 1. Competitive Intelligence on a Shoestring Budget Product Camp Austin #11 – July 2013 Doug Fierro
  2. 2. Guidelines • This session will focus on how to gather raw competitive intelligence data • Focused on B2B companies • How you organize the data, prioritize vendors, gain insights, and publish it for internal stakeholder usage is enough work for separate session in the future! • Never misrepresent who you are during your competitive research (registering for webinars, interacting at trade shows, etc.) • Basically anything published and publicly available on the internet is fair game • Don’t be afraid to talk to other vendors and customers at trade shows, conferences, etc. • You can get juicy information watching two vendors (or customers of competing vendors) battling it out in public! • The competitive landscape is always changing- this is not a one- time effort to be set aside afterwards • Don’t be afraid of larger companies with more resources than you
  3. 3. Where To Start? • Internet search is the fastest and easiest way to start gathering information about a company or a product: • Set up a recurring Google Alert ( • Search suggestions: – Company name – Product name(s) – Target market or industry – Names of visible employees who are often quoted or speak at presentations (Directors, CTO, VP, CEO, etc.) • However, there are plenty of other good sources of data that are beyond a simple internet search…
  4. 4. Other Sources • In no particular order: – Company website and press releases – YouTube (especially the comments section!) – Community forums & groups (online and local / regional meetings) – Published articles and reviews – Trade shows and events – Your own employees – sales, services, marketing, etc. • Includes win/loss analysis – Published knowledge bases, manuals, release notes – Sign up on company sponsored mailing lists, groups (LinkedIn), etc. – Developer forums, APIs, support & partner portals – Resumes and job postings – Public SEC filings (S1s, 10Ks, etc.) – Partners & resellers – Investment / venture capital resources & funding – Leveraging Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws • – Search on terms like “I hate <product>” or “<product>”
  5. 5. What To Capture • Because Product Management serves many internal stakeholders, you should capture a wide range of information and only publish what is relevant for your target audience • Suggestions: • Keep one master summary list with basic fields / columns to track – Company name, HQ, website link, product(s), frequency encountered, win/losses, brief description, # customers, # employees, $ revenue, threat level, funding history • For a subset of vendors, do a deeper analysis • Produce consumable material for sales, marketing, etc. – Have internal vs. external versions of each analysis produced
  7. 7. Intelligence Gathering Example • Let’s pick a hypothetical company to gain competitive intelligence on • Press release info last few months: – New VP of sales on July 9th – IPO offering May 22nd – New 8.0 release on March 23rd – Lots of customer deal announcements vs. “fluff” releases like surveys, awards, events, etc. • Let’s drill down on the IPO announcement…
  8. 8. SEC Filing Example • Public companies have to file certain forms with the SEC • Search on SEC forms here: – • The Tableau S1 (Amended) reveals quite a bit about their company and products: – Over 12,000 customers, and some larger ones are named – Top line growth of 93% from 2010 to 2012 ($34M/$62M/$128M) – Recently invested in APIs to support partner ecosystem – Employee growth from 749 in Dec 2012 to 843 in March 2013 • 360 are in sales and mktg; 227 in development; 82 in services; 63 in G&A; – Percentage of revenue that is maintenance vs. new license – List of their perceived competitors – Deals over $100K increased from 111 in 2012 to 239 in 2012 – They are currently developing a SaaS offering- Tableau Online – 83% of their total revenue in 2012 was derived from North America – Plan to expand internationally (target countries listed) and focus sales to public sector – Financial health - $40M in cash and short term assets – 90% of licenses are perpetual vs. 10% term; maint fees avg 25% of license costs – Over 90% of their sales staff are direct vs. channel sales – Architecture overview and products offered – Growth strategy – …and more !
  9. 9. Posted Job Listings & Descriptions • You can find out about how a company is organized, skills dependencies, where they are expanding hiring, and locations by looking at job postings • Also resumes of former employees can reveal product and company information of interest
  10. 10. YouTube Research • No budget to travel to a trade show or event? • Lots of Tableau videos created by the vendor and others: demos, tutorials, customer testimonies, etc.
  11. 11. Pricing • Tableau GSA pricing schedule published by a reseller: • Price-List-April-2013.pdf
  12. 12. Tableau LinkedIn Group • Most of these forums are open, but moderated:
  13. 13. Find Out What Users Are Saying… • There is no substitute for real world customer commentary and testimony! • Find discussion forums that are not vendor sponsored • Example:
  14. 14. Find Out What Users Are Saying… • Here is another example :
  15. 15. Watch Others Battle It Out In Public • Entertaining, but not a recommended best practice
  16. 16. I Love To Hate …. • There is strong correlation between public dislike of a company or product and the amount of negative information available to research!
  17. 17. What About Small Private Companies? • More difficult, but not impossible • Crunchbase is a good place to start if they have received any funding in the past…
  18. 18. Share Your Experiences!
  19. 19. Tips and Resources Provided During Session • Other resources: • • • • • • AngelList ( • Read fine print of published product terms and conditions! • (sorry if I missed yours!)
  20. 20. THANK YOU!