For some time, I've been carrying around a link to a KISSmetrics post, "How to be the James Bond of the Web: 37 Best Marketing Tools to Spy on Your Competitors". It's a useful round-up of commercially available ways to gather marketplace data, generally without breaking the bank.
The post was written by Chris Kibourn, CEO of TOFU Marketing, an internet marketing agency recently acquired by Fit Marketing. Kibourn (mercifully) presents his suggestions without slideshows or page jumps, in seven manageable groups:
- Online ad monitoring tools (7)
- Keyword monitoring tools (6)
- Link popularity and backlink tools (3)
- Web ranking tools (3)
- Monitoring and mentions (6)
- Social engagement and social sentiment tools (4)
- A "mixed bag" of other resources (5)
The last group thoughtfully includes the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, described as a tool that lets you see how changes to a competitor's site affected performance.
Kibourn wraps up his post with three recommendations that are not tools but can provide significant insights by:
- Following competitors on social media
- Subscribing to competitive blogs
- Subscribing to competitive newsletters.
Although Kibourn's recommendations are not specific to magazine or book publishing, they are generally applicable, more so as publishers work to market content more directly. The comments include suggestions for a handful of tools not included in the original post, so be sure to take a look. You might also take some time to give Bookseer a second look – its ability to help publishers capture 'little data' was covered in a post last year.