An Unconventional Approach to Competitor Research





Blog Date

June 3, 2024


UK, Manchester

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An Unconventional Approach to Competitor Research

Peeling the Onion: Unveiling the Secrets of Your Competitors

In this cutthroat business world, every edge counts. The age-old adage “know your enemy” has never been more relevant. Competitor analysis is the cornerstone of strategic decision-making. It’s a dance of wits where the prize is market supremacy. But what if I told you that the traditional approach, akin to a frontal assault, is only half the battle? What if I unveiled a strategy that is as unorthodox as it is effective?

Picture your competitor as an onion. Their secrets, closely guarded strategies, and prized assets lie at the core, protected by layers of defenses. Traditional competitive analysis often involves diving headfirst into these layers, seeking readily available information. But the true power lies in a counterintuitive approach of starting from the outside and working inwards.

Sneaking Around the Periphery

When you approach a competitor from the outside, you catch them off guard. They’re too busy fortifying their defenses against the usual frontal attacks to notice you sneaking around their periphery. This element of surprise is your first weapon.

As the folks at Octopus Intelligence put it, “When researching a competitor, begin from the outside of their area of influence and work inward. Peeling the onion skins away, talking to more people closer to them.”

You see, your competitors don’t operate in a vacuum. They have partners, suppliers, and collaborators. Starting from the outside means you’re looking at it from another angle. You’re more likely to uncover hidden alliances that reveal a competitor’s vulnerabilities and treasured competitive advantages.

Tapping into Unconventional Sources

The heart of competitor intelligence often beats in unconventional sources. The overlooked, the underestimated, and the underappreciated. Tap into these lines of information by venturing outside traditional competitor research.

As suggests, “By leveraging data mining and sentiment analysis, companies can stay ahead of market trends and better understand their target audience, leading to more informed business decisions and improved customer experiences.”

As you work your way inwards, each layer of the “onion” represents a step closer to understanding your competitors. The outer ring gives you their market reputation, customer satisfaction, and industry influence. Armed with this knowledge, you’re better prepared for the next layer.

Building Relationships for Insider Intel

The closer you reach the core, the more you’ll rely on human intelligence. Build relationships with people connected to your competitor – current or former employees, suppliers, or industry insiders. These individuals can provide invaluable insights that complete the puzzle.

Imagine competitive intelligence as peeling away the layers of an onion. Start from the outside, where information is abundant and easily accessible. What is their public image? What are customers saying? How do they present themselves in the market? As you move inwards, the layers become thinner, and the information more specialized.

Dig deeper to uncover details about their pricing strategy, supply chain vulnerabilities, or future expansion plans. At the core, you’ll find their most closely guarded secrets – their proprietary technology, strategic partnerships, and long-term vision.

The Unconventional Path to Victory

Remember, though, competitive intelligence is not about stealing their protected secrets. That’s industrial espionage – it’s illegal and a waste of time. What’s the point of looking for something you can’t do anything with?

Your most potent weapon is conversation. Talk to more people, especially those who are closer to your competitor. These individuals are often privy to critical information that can complete the puzzle.

Approach analysis from the outside, talk to sources, and go beyond the superficial. You’ll see what they present to the world and the intricacies hidden beneath the surface. As Steve Zuckerman, co-founder of Vatica Health, says, “Becoming more mindful of my thoughts and emotions has been one of the most important skills I’ve developed and has not only helped fuel Vatica Health’s success, but it has also exponentially increased my levels of fulfillment and equanimity.”

In the world of competitive intelligence, conventional thinking often leads to conventional results. To gain the edge and uncover the hidden facets of your competitors, dare to be unconventional. Begin from the outside, where the layers are thickest, and work your way inwards. As you peel away each layer, talking to people closer to them, you unveil their secrets and weaknesses.

They don’t want you to know the secrets you can use. This is the path less traveled, but it’s the path that can lead you to victory in the battle for market supremacy. Embrace the edge, and watch your competitors unravel before your eyes.

Ready to take your competitor research to the next level? MCR SEO, the leading SEO agency in Manchester, UK, is here to help. Our bespoke, people-powered competitive intelligence solutions can provide the insights you need to create a lasting competitive advantage. Let’s talk and explore how we can help you be more competitive, beat your rivals, and win more business.

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