I’ve discussed the value and virtues of Q&A sites before. But I haven’t discussed them in relation to using them for competitive research. They are actually quite valuable for that type of information gathering.
If you go to a site like Quora, for instance, and type in a query using your competition’s brand name, then you are likely to find questions people have asked about how to use your competition’s products and services. There may be questions related to using the products directly or ways to use them that have not been discovered yet. You can often learn a thing or two about the competition from these types of questions on these sites.
Once you have that information gathered, what do you do with it? Well, you can use it for your own marketing or product development. If a competitor is beating you in a certain area of the market, then you can use that information to improve your own services.
You can also use that information to market your own products and services. If you have an edge over your competitor in a certain area, then you can often discuss that advantage on these Q&A sites. If you do it appropriately, you can position your brand as superior without turning anyone else off in the process.
Q&A sites are not necessarily time wasters. They can actually provide you valuable information about your competition.