Q&A: Searching For Issues With Competitor’s Products

Before the advent of social network applications which brought us Facebook Pages, Twitter feeds and LinkedIn Groups, there were electronic discussion boards and forums.   These were and continue to be open platforms where individuals post questions, answers and comments on an array of subjects.   Unlike using social media dashboards,  researchers must use specific search applications to find meaningful intelligence on these boards and forums.  Meaningful intelligence can be in the form of problems with a particular with a competitor’s product or service.

Enter Google Discussion Search.  Yes, it does exist and it is a quite powerful tool.  To demonstrate how it works, let’s try to find some of the issues that users had with Research In Motion‘s smartphone, BlackBerry Curve, back in June 2011.

Step 1: Enter Your Keywords Into Google

Figure 1 is a screen shot of the keywords, “BlackBerry Curve” along with related results.

Figure 1: Results For "BlackBerry Curve" on Google

 Step 2: Select “Discussions”

Slowly scroll down the left hand side of the results page and click on “Discussions”.  Figure 2 illustrates where the “Discussion” tab is located.

Figure 2: Location of Discussions Tab

Step 3: Enter the Custom Range Date

By entering a custom range date, you will be able to filter the results down to manageable amount of relevant hits.  For the purposes of this exercise, let us select June 1st, 2011 to June 30th, 2011 as seen in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Entering Custom Date Range From June 1st to June 30th, 2011

Step 4: Sort The Results

From the results, you can sort based on relevancy or date and source (i.e. discussion forums or Q&A sites).  Figure 4 presents the results sorted by relevance and Q&A sites.

Figure 4: Results Sorted By Relevance and Q&A Sites

From the search result, you can see that individuals used Q&A sites such as Yahoo! Answers and Askville Amazon to pose questions regarding their problems with their BlackBerry Curve smartphones.

Step 5: Access Relevant Results

Figure 5 provides a screen capture from the page, “Why does my blackberry curve 8520 battery run out soooo fast!?!?”

Figure 5: Q&A - Why does my blackberry curve 8520 battery run out soooo fast!?!?

It is interesting to see that there are several solutions to the individual’s problem which may indicate possible flaws in the smartphone.

Looking to improve how you use Google to gather strategic intelligence on your competitors efficiently?  Contact Isabelle Poirier to discuss the opportunity to have a customized seminar for your organization.

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About The Author:

Ian is a content strategist and the competitive intelligence researcher at Intelegia. With his knowledge of social media tools and an understanding of branding on the web, Ian formulates content marketing strategies for clients’ needs. As co-author of the Canadian Cities Online Marketing Index© and chief blogger at Intelegia, Ian documents and assesses global best practices of organizations’ approaches to social media marketing in terms of integrating their branding and communications strategies to obtain their marketing objectives. Follow Ian on Twitter @citweetz. __________________________________________________________________

About Intelegia

Intelegia is a boutique consulting firm in Montreal, Canada that understands the need to be innovative and strategic in a business landscape that’s evolving at an incredible pace. The firm delivers social media strategies to efficiently engage with stakeholders in economic development, business to business and business to consumer segments. It assists clients by defining and executing sustainable social web strategies that will allow their brand message to stand out in a competitive environment where target audience engagement is a must.

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