SWIFT Source and Signal Table – Updated

Competitive Intelligence and Business Intelligence Professionals Must Learn to Incorporate Deep web and Social media data into their evaluation and findings.  BloomThink’s SWIFT – social web intelligence framework and tactics – program helps companies do just that.

Take a look at our Source and Signal table below.  This is just a few of the sites and tools that can be used by the SWIFT practitioner or any savvy CI or BI professional to help bring meaning and context to the flood of data that is out there.  This is how you create actionable intelligence rather than simply another data report!

Source Signal
Feed Stitcher Site, blog and PR aggregation. http://feedstitch.com/
Yahoo Pipes Graphical tool for combining web sources. http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/
SpyFu Competitor Keyword Analysis
Search Monitor monitor competitors, affiliates and trade markets
Google Trends Traffic and GEO trends
FeedCompare Compare numbers (strength) of your subscribers vs your competitors
GroupHigh Monitoring and tracking for your market. Turned around it can deliver keen insight on the competitive marketplace
MySiteGrader website grader Grade your website against your competitor’s sites for the keywords you select. http://www.mysitegrader.com/
socialmention Social media, sentiment, top users, top keywords, top hashtags, top sources.
Addict-o-matic 25 sources for aggregation including RSS feeds, Bing, Google, Google Blog, Flickr, WordPress, YouTube, Technorati
NetVibes Fee based dashboard
Northern Light Search Research aggregator and dashboard
Wildfire Social Monitor Corporate & Market ComparisonsOverall sentiment analysis – trending market perspectives and background context on whether your market views you positively, negatively or ambivalently
LinkedIn Network & Relationships– degrees of separation, network reach, geography, work history, education, competitor connections in network

Competitor Projects – competitor staff areas of responsibility
Competitor Roadmap – job openings and hiring trends as leading indicatorsIP Tips, Drips & FUD – group participation, interaction, surveys & polls participation, publications & patents on profiles.

SlideShare IP Tips, Drips & FUD – marketing focus, roadmap, conference participation, travel & marketing budget (e.g. booth # listed in presentation –> 10K minimum spend), viewing / reach stats, best practices, trends
Facebook Profile Development – targeted likes, hobbies etc of specific person and/or his/her network.  Photos, places, apps, travel conferences etc.
Network & Relationships –
 Degrees of separation, network reach, connections

Competitor Strength  – Likes, Engagement Level, Sentiment, Content Strategy, Effective vs ineffective messaging

Twitter via tools like follwerwonk, NexaMe, Twiangulate, trendsmap.com etc. Profile Development – targeted likes, hobbies etc of specific person and/or his/her network.  Photos, places, apps, travel conferences etc.
Geographic Trends Mapping – for overall market awareness in specific countries and cities (e.g. popular & breaking twitter trends in Shenzhen, Beijing or Nanjing)
Network & Relationships –
RT’s, favorites,travel, interests, influencers,
IP Tips, Drips & FUD – find followers of competitors and co-opt them for counter intelligence or feed FUD
Fierce Medical Devices News Feed – tagged with St. Jude Medical, tagged with Boston Scientific, tagged with Medtronic, tagged with X,
Google Alerts News Feed – tailored alerts for anything Google crawlers pick up.  Dial in sensitivity based on scope of query.
Klout, PeerIndex, EmpireAvenue Marketing & Product – reveal competitor buzz building efforts, enable rapid response.
Profile Development – identify Industry influencers and gravity wells
Google Keywords + Trends Marketing & Product – Trends & Buzz Building.  Keywords & related terms collected then entered into google trends
ThinkWithGoogle.com/insights Market Trends – Research library, primary research, consumer insights
Advanced Search Engine Work
Using Copernic Agent or similar
Profile Development –  [“full target name” +GeographicLocation:website ] narrows in on specific name at specific geography on specific website
IP Tips, Drips & FUD – filetype: search for PDFs and PPTs, allintitle:,allinurl:
Published Journal Search Marketing & product- current trends & focus areas tailored to industry audiences

Profile Development – track authorship and citation trail of published works by targets

Indeed.com/jobtrends Market Trends – hiring as a leading indicator of focus and industry movement
Scribd IP Tips, Drips & FUD – published and available research, papers & presentations
Competition Blogs, Forums & Community Profile DevelopmentIP Tips, Drips & FUDMarketing & Product
Deep Email Miner IP Tips, Drips & FUD – internal email social network mapping to explore nascent social connections buried in an email corpus.
Deep Web Analysis using Maltego, Casefile, Social Network Visualizer, AutoMap, scirus.com, brightplanet or similar Marketing & IT Ecosystem – discover associated IP addresses and TLDs (top level domains), discovery and association engine.
ClipBoard.com WebClipping manual aggregation dashboard tool
OutWit Technologies – http://www.outwit.com Web Scraper programmatic human triggered web scraper for larger data volume collection.  Can export collections to files or SQL
Newsle.com Human Data Feed Aggregator – follow users who are in a network to see what they’re up to.
Pinterest Analysis Tools: PinAlerts Pinpuff Pinerly is good for tracking analytics data on Pinterest

Repinly helps you find influencers

Pinterest is powerful, lots of traffic. Average time on Pinterest approx: 10 minutes, far more than other social sites.These allow you to get a message when someone pins something from your website. You can set up for alerts on competitor sites, too. 
Rapportive search for information online
Disruption Analysis Sources: Crunchbase www.whogotfunded.comSeekingAlpha CORI Business & disruptor informationis a good tool to find information.SEC and other money-related findingsPublic Company Data

Contract Database

www.copyright.gov Copyright and IP search
ThomasNet.com product information on manufactured goods.
Domaintools.com Paid service.  Alerts based on domain registrations.  See competitor domains
www.indeed.com Hire/Fire/Openings  – overarching jobs trend analysis.  Find out who is staffing up
www.similarsites.com –Find out who competes with whom
Boardreader.com Find out what people are talking about. Also searches LinkedIn groups.
www.competemonkey.com  –set up alerts when a competitor’s site changes

Social Web Intelligence Framework and Tactics

Businesses desire to augment and amplify their competitive intelligence capability by integrating information from social, web and other publicly available sources. They seeks to develop an internal competency program around the discipline of web intelligence. This program has the goal of producing actionable intelligence using available web, deep web[1], social media and darknet[2] information.

To this extent, BloomThink has created the Social Web Intelligence Framework and Tactics (SWIFT) Program. BloomThink’s SWIFT Program is a uniquely designed business process and method for capturing, categorizing, analyzing and reporting on vast amounts of disparate unstructured data. This program and framework, as well as related technologies, are designed to be deployed as in-house solutions.



The emphasis of the SWIFT Program is the structured and deliberate synthesis of targeted intelligence and contextual intelligence. Built on commercially available technology and leveraging your organization’s existing resources, targeted intelligence is developed through intentional and focused search across available web, deep web, social media and darknet collection vectors. Contextual intelligence is collected through the implementation and monitoring of social listening and alerting technologies then stored in the SWIFT platform. The SWIFT Program guides practitioners through the steps to collect, categorize, synthesize, analyze data and then deliver meaningful, actionable intelligence in easy to read and evaluate templates. Templates for regular intelligence reporting, on-demand profile development and ad hoc threat assessment are included as part of the program.

Your organization’s SWIFT Program practitioners are educated through a program of training modules, simulated and real-world practicum delivered by BloomThink. SWIFT Program pulsing and assistance is provided on a quarterly basis and/or as needed.

The SWIFT Program covers the following four phases

  1. Listen and Gather – passive signal awareness and directed signal search
  2. Filter and Categorize – signal discrimination and information grouping
  3. Synthesize and Analyze – find the connective tissues between signals and determine impact
  4. Report and Act – Format the most relevant analysis and supporting facts in actionable reports

BloomThink’s approach to the Social Web Intelligence Framework and Tactics Program is to maximize technology investments that your organization has already made. For this reason, an inventory of available and recommended technology is performed at the start of the engagement. Organizational investments in items like journal subscriptions, LexisNexis, WestLaw, industry-specific content, commercial listening platforms, network analysis tools and data visualization software are important to understand from the outset. BloomThink comes prepared with a host of free or freemium technologies (some listed below as examples) that may be used for the duration of your organization’s SWIFT Program.

To request an evaluation please fill out the form:


[1] The term “deep web” refers to world wide web locations not currently indexed by the most common search engines.

[2] The term “darknet” refers to anonymous, non-commercial or generally unknown web communications and technologies such as P2P file sharing.

Social Competitive Intelligence

competitive intelligence in the age of social  by bloomthink
Creative Commons: Attribution by Flickr user davitydave

The flip side of all the advances is social media marketing is a substantial increase in competitive intelligence capability.

First 3 facts for foundation:

1) It should be clear by now that social media is not a technology fad.  It’s not just about Facebook or Twitter.  Otherwise we’d see those technologies leading the social adoption in locations around the world.  Yet we see services like VKontakte in Russia and QZone in China and a host of other social media services and sites proliferating around the world.  Instead, it is about a way of communicating as human beings.  We respond to and engage with each other in ways facilitated by the technology.  That’s why we see so many different flavors of the same kind of services popping up all over the world.

2) Social media technology adoption in business is accelerating. In 2008 just 23% of businesses had adopted social technologies in some way.  In 2011 that number was 50%.  This year it is even higher.  The top two reasons for the adoption are to meet user / customer expectations and to be more innovative.

3) Users want 4 things: To share product information, To share news – especially the ‘scoop’ – new or unique news that few know at the time, To co-create products, services & experiences along side companies (Doritos commercials for the Superbowl are a great example – it was big business for Frito-Lay), and finally users want to have their opinion and feedback matter.

So put those all together and what do you get?  Social media technology taps into the ways we communicate as human beings.  Humans also communicate at work therefore the boundary between business user and personal user has blurred.  Users (whether at work or at play) want and expect to share product information, have an appetite for new news, have a desire to be involved and want their opinions to matter.

This has created an ecosystem in which users expect news & product info from companies, consumers want to “help” to “weigh in” to be in the loop.  If companies “reward” them with info they will be respond and be appreciated.  This is social media marketing – Pushing out information for adoption and amplification by users.

But we also operate in an attention economy where attention is traded for information.  This economy is bi-directional as any economy must be.  So if I, a user, provide you, a company with information,  especially new or unique information, I expect to be rewarded with your attention.   This is Social Media Intelligence – Gathering in information and signal from many sources; made all the easier because the sources want to be heard.

Social media lets us cast an extremely wide net to find someone or some business who will give us attention and reaffirm that we (or at least our tip, insight or scoop) matter! This gets back to some extremely basic human characteristics – namely the meeting of core Maslovian needs reinforced in a very Pavolvian manner!

Combine the features of this social business ecosystem – where users are hungry for engagement and businesses are hungry for unique information – and you have a nearly perfect synergy of supply and demand.

Applied to marketing, “engaged” users, brand “advocates” and consumer “insight”.  These are truly wonderful advances in marketing and consumer experience management.

But turn that marketing coin over and apply the same sophisticated information gathering, trend spotting and information derivation to your competitors (or imagine them turning it on you).  You have the framework, technology and process to delve deep into competitive intelligence.

  • You can find out who are your competitor’s clients and employees by correlating Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • You can find out what conferences and topics your competitors are interested in by tracking conferences they attend and announce on Twitter.
  • You can see who are influential by tracking who follows and RTs certain company staff.
  • You can see what topics, keywords and SEO that your competition is using by looking at their Facebook performance and their SEO performance with google tools.
  • You can create topic and trend maps by using simple linguistic analysis tools on their blog posts, forum comments and even traditional press releases.
  • You can spot issues and challenges or delays by looking at the questions a competitors technicians post on forums, complaints employees post on sites like glassdoor, monster or indeed.
  • You can even get great information from conference presentations posted online at sides like SlideShare.net or on corporate blogs.

Once you have gathered all this content, Big Data tools and BI tools help tease out patterns and trends from the structured data you’ve collected. Meanwhile, experienced staff create profiles of specific users for close monitoring.  While approaching individuals directly and asking for confidential information is likely against the law, many industry specific news sites (e.g. Gizmodo for tech news) have “tip us” functions where users can anonymously offer up juicy tidbits of information.  Keeping a watch on sites like that for your industry is vital.

This is not pie-in-the-sky theorizing either.  Massive law firm Patton Boggs said this earlier this year,

Since January, we’ve used a business and social intelligence platform for issue spotting, trend analysis, and monitoring clients. The program scans blogs and Twitter feeds to identify issues our clients may be facing and uncover possible problems before they hit the mainstream media and news outlets…It’s allowed us to get ahead of potential problems and to proactively pose solutions before our clients may even know these problems exist.

They are using these procedures to spot issues and deliver solutions before clients are aware of the issues.  Now imagine they’re not monitoring clients, they’re monitoring competitors.

So how can you adopt a defensive threat assessment posture to help protect your own intellectual property?

Ask yourself this:  “With everything you know about your area of expertise, about the market and about what’s coming; if you found the information you just posted except it was from your competitor would you be sad or glad?” 

Engage BloomThink to craft a social competitive intelligence program you can use to help you get ahead and a social business plan that allows you to advance your brand and awareness in the market without giving up what makes you special.