Internet market in Romania – How do you know what your competition is thinking

In 2007 I had a presentation called “Blogs – Competitive through information”, prepared for Strategic Marketing.

The idea was to evaluate blogs as sources of competitive information, raw intelligence or OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) – the model was introduced by army intelligence  when developing strategic intelligence models for early warnings, Cyber-Intelligence, C4I systems, War-Rooms, etc.

Well, the idea is that today information warfare is as important to business as it is to the military 🙂

Here are some things we can figure out from the industry blogs/twitts/different posts and comments:

  • -Indicators of personal financial status using a behavioral model: bloggers and some online managers are not doing very good, low incomes, debts;
  • -Psychological indicators: frustration generated by poor results, neurotic;
  • *Attitudes are judgments:  based on the ABC model (affect, behavior, and cognition), I noticed only affective responses to the main business issues – these are strong emotional responses.

Online companies affected by the economic stress (based on blog/twitt and comment evaluations):

  • -IBU ProTV – they have several bloggers, I’m amazed to see they’re not doing very good at all – their decision to split from MediaPro Interactiv and Orlando Nicoara in 2009 brought them an incredible pressure; sport.ro is not doing very good compared to prosport.ro where Orlando has a strategy going on; based on the online posts, the employees at IBU are not doing very good (personally) and some companies are trying to recruit some of them as they are willing to quit their actual jobs;
  • -Boom/Netbridge – the problems here are complex since the future of some employees is still uncertain; their online posts reveal a deep emotional crises, lack of trust and they seem to be really tired;
  • -Others: although I’m used to cognitive evaluations, for the first time I could see emotional responses. I could also find posts written at 6:43 a.m. after a long night 🙂

Tips for bloggers:

  • – try cognitive responses as part your cognitive evaluations;
  • – I’m worried about your cognitive bias – you tend to make errors in judgment (based on cognitive factors 🙂 );
  • – try not to blog when angry are affected by business deals; can influence your negotiations skills;
  • – try to separate in 2: a business blog for rational posts and a personal blog for personal issues;

Tips for companies:

  • – your employees can reveal strategic information on blogs or on twitter without even knowing; you should be aware on the impact on your business;
  • – twitter is often a very good source of competitive intelligence as it is fast and usually very sincere: employees can reveal details about meetings, internal statistics, personal social networks, company problems, beliefs and attitudes;
  • – your hr dept. should be aware when your employees reveal sensitive things online;
  • – of course, the online environment is a source for competitive intelligence but also for disinformation so make sure you also have HUMINT sources;

Last but not least, all this evaluations helped me understand that me and my company are perceived as their no.1 competitor and that, based on their beliefs, we are drawing all the money from the market. Therefore, I’m happy to gain notoriety and see more coursing, personal attacks and bad mouthing coming from our competition.

In Romania, this means that we’re really doing a good job.