(Bredemarket Premium) Getting competitive proposals WITHOUT submitting a FOIA request

One of the best ways to get competitive intelligence on a competitor is to request the competitor’s response to a government agency procurement, such as a proposal submitted in response to a Request for Proposal. This is done by submitting a request via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or equivalent.

One note: this technique primarily applies to government agency procurements, since governments are often required by law to disclose this information. Bids submitted to private entities usually remain private.

Of course, actually getting the competitor’s response isn’t easy.

  • First, you have to submit the request in the proper format.
  • Second, you have to be detailed in what you are requesting, and you need to request everything that you want: the actual proposal itself, any follow-up correspondence such as a best and final offer, the agency’s evaluation score, and everything else. If you only request the original proposal, the agency is only obligated to provide the original proposal, and nothing else.
  • Third, you have to wait for the agency to prepare a copy of the proposal. Depending upon applicable law, the bidder may be able to redact portions of the proposal, and it usually takes some time for the agency and the bidder to agree on what can legally be redacted.
  • Fourth, you may have to pay (usually on a per-page basis) to receive the materials.

This entire process may take several months, and you can’t even request the material until after the procurement has been awarded, or perhaps contracted.

But guess what? You don’t always have to submit a FOIA-like request to get a copy of a proposal submitted to a government agency.

By Neep at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3309749

And no, you don’t have to break the law; these proposals (and other valuable documents) can be obtained legally and ethically.

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(Bredemarket Premium) July update to a June post

By Chris Light at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13429378

I have an update to something that I previously wrote for my Bredemarket Premium subscribers.

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(Bredemarket Premium) Publicly available information on a major biometric firm’s plans

During my years in competitive analysis (either as a formal role or on an informal basis), I conducted the vast majority of my analysis using publicly available information. This could be obtained from a government agency via a public information request, or from a paid service that shares information to paying subscribers.

By Hoodedwarbler12 (talk) – I (Hoodedwarbler12 (talk)) created this work entirely by myself., Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26933846

And in some cases the information is freely available to anyone who knows how to use it.

However, if you want to continue reading this post, the rest of the post is NOT free. This is the first “Bredemarket Premium” post, which requires a subscription to read. For more information about Bredemarket Premium, see my recent mailing to my mailing list.

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(Past illustrations) Creating actionable information to document and expand a merged company’s combined market

(This past illustration describes something that I performed in my career, either for a Bredemarket client, for an employer, or as a volunteer. The entity for which I performed the work, or proposed to perform the work, is not listed for confidentiality reasons.)

By Lacrossewi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81149806

PROBLEM

After a merger of two companies, the combined company needed to know which customers used solutions from the combined company, which customers used competitor solutions, and which used both.

For example, a customer may use the combined company’s solution for one product line, but a competitor solution for another product line.

As the combined company introduced new products and entered new markets, this information was also required for the new product lines and markets.

SOLUTION

While others worked on front-end presentations of public portions of the data, I gathered the underlying data.

  • For multiple product lines, I recorded (when known/applicable) the type of customer (for example, a statewide government agency), current vendor, previous vendor, initial and extended contract value, product version, relevant statistics about the customer, and a designated reviewer for future quarterly updates.
  • The data was both stored separately for each product line and was also summarized.
  • Information was color-coded to highlight the combined company’s market position.
  • Data could be filtered as necessary (for example, only showing statewide government agencies).
  • The complete collection of highly sensitive data was tightly held.
  • Portions of the data were passed to selected subject matter experts on a quarterly basis for updating, allowing front-end presentations to be updated quarterly.
  • Additional information was gathered as new markets were entered and new products were launched.

RESULTS

The combined company had a better view of its positions in its various markets.

The resulting actionable information could be used to target specific customers and replace competitor products with the combined company’s products.