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Welcome to our Competitive Intelligence Software Comparison series! We are regularly asked by prospects and clients to help them compare different competitive intelligence software tools. So, we decided to dedicate a series of articles to this very subject.

As they work through the decision-making process, we often see that the decision is less about comparing tools against each other, but really working to understand what they need from the tool itself.

We have found that we end up becoming more of “CI Software Therapists” than salespeople during this process. Hence, this series!

You might be asking yourself: “Is it really possible to get an unbiased comparison of competitive intelligence tools from a company that makes one of those tools?”

Let me be perfectly honest with you, we have no interest in spinning our wheels trying to convince someone to use our specific competitive intelligence software tool for whom it would not be the right fit. That would be a waste of our time and a waste of yours.

So, ultimately what we end up doing during this process for prospects is working to understand what their requirements are from the tool they need, and helping them determine which tool might fit the bill (be it ours or someone else’s).

In this endeavor, we seek to be as honest as possible, as lying or portraying our tool to have features that it does not actually have only results in customer churn down the line (something none of us wants to see).

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A full step-by-step guide for selecting the right Market and Competitive Intelligence Software Tool

Comparing Apples to Oranges

When choosing a competitive intelligence software tool, keep in mind that you will almost never be comparing apples to apples. You should instead look at it as comparing apples to oranges.

Different tools are meant to do different things, and each has its place depending upon your organization’s needs or goals. I don’t seek to pit these software tools against each other, but instead, help you recognize which tool has what you need for your specific use case.

In fruit, apples aren’t inherently better or worse than oranges. Sometimes you are just looking for the vitamin C boost of an orange or the crunch of an apple. They serve different purposes. So do CI tools.

Comparison Factors

If you’ve read our high-level comparison article in this series, you already know about the four major comparison factors that we tend to get questions about from prospects and customers.

In our experience, there are often four very important factors that present themselves when making the decision on a competitive intelligence software product.

Don’t get me wrong, there are far more than just four factors to consider when making your choice, but for the purposes of this comparison, we’ll focus on the four factors that usually rise to the top in terms of importance.

Summarized briefly here, they are:

  • User Experience: Organizations are typically looking for a tool that is intuitive and easy to use.
  • Data Collection, Tagging, and Organization: Usually having software that uses automated tagging via Natural Language Processing vs. traditional manual taxonomies is very important.
  • Search Features and Functionality: Most are looking for search functions aided by AI and machine learning algorithms to help them discover new information that they may not have thought to explicitly search for, and how the AI might learn information about their needs over time.
  • Collaboration Features and Functionality: Perhaps one of the most important factors organizations consider is how well the competitive intelligence software in question supports collaboration across the organization and provides Knowledge Management capabilities.

In order to help, we will frame the comparison of the two tools below using these four primary categories.

Meltwater vs. Knowledge360: User Experience

It’s vital that the M/CI platform an organization chooses is easy to use. If the platform is needlessly complicated, or has a poor user experience, employee uptake across the organization will be low. This restricts the organization’s ability to embrace a comprehensive competitive intelligence strategy. 

When a tool is easy to configure, learn, and use, it’s much more likely that different stakeholders will use it. But building a great user experience isn’t easy, and many tools are too complex. The best tools balance powerful technology with accessible design.

To understand how competitive intelligence professionals rate Meltwater and Knowledge360 on user experience, we consulted independent reviewers on platforms like Capterra and G2. Both solutions rank highly, but it appears Knowledge360 has a slight edge.

G2 Ease of Use Comparison Ratings (as of this writing): 

  • Meltwater: 7.6/10
  • Knowledge360: 8.3/10

G2 Quality of Support Comparison Ratings (as of this writing):

  • Meltwater: 8.1/10
  • Knowledge360: 9.8/10

We’re aware that the numbers don’t always tell the full story. So we also pulled some quotes from the reviews left by users of both Meltwater and Knowledge360. 

Meltwater User Experience Quotes:

“I appreciate that Meltwater has a clean and clear interface, and that the platform is comprehensive of many different aspects of digital marketing” - Administrator, Small Business <50 Employees on G2

“Meltwater's dashboard is great! It's understandable, easy to navigate and provides all the information we're tracking, all at a glance. You can then dive deeper into a specific area for more details and analysis” - Communications Director, Small Business <50 Employees on G2

“A fairly robust way of gathering all the news about our industry, company, and competitors all in one place. They need to make some enhancements as the UI seems dated, and at times difficult to navigate” - Computer Hardware Company, 51 - 200 Employees on Capterra

Knowledge360 User Experience Quotes:

“The K360 platform is easy-to-use for users without deep technical expertise and it provides great options to search and organize content” - Administrator in Electronic Manufacturing Company, >1000 Employees on G2

“K360 is customizable and feature rich. We are able to tailor to suit our needs” - VP, Defense & Space Company, 51 - 200 Employees on Capterra

“Easy to navigate and customize. Knowledge360 allows you to truly tailor your dashboards and views to information that is directly related and important to you” - Computer Software Company, <50 Employees on G2

The Bottom Line: both platforms are popular with users, who value the clean, intuitive interfaces available on Meltwater and Knowledge360. When it comes to customer support, Knowledge360 shades it, although Meltwater customers also enjoy highly-rated customer support compared to the industry average.

Meltwater vs. Knowledge360: Data Collection, Tagging, & Organization

With so much data available both inside and outside organizations, a key function of M/CI software platforms like Meltwater and Knowledge360 is their ability to automatically collect, tag, and organize data for their users. 

M/CI tools traditionally take one of two approaches to this: automated tagging built on Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology, or traditional taxonomy based systems that are managed manually. 

Related: Competitive Intelligence Tools: Traditional Taxonomies vs. Natural Language Processing

When selecting a tool, users should also consider the data sources that are important to them. Many platforms act as a framework into which users can plug their own data sources, whereas others come with a range of pre-built data integrations. No matter which approach an organization takes, it’s important to only include high-quality data sources. 

Data Collection & Tagging

Meltwater’s website lists the following technical capabilities:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Machine learning
  • Social listening
  • NLP

Knowledge360 employs similar technology, including:

  • Natural Language Processing for automated tagging
  • AI-powered processing to bring you only the most relevant information
  • Custom taxonomy manager
  • Machine learning

The reviews for both platforms praise the automated data collection and tagging capabilities:

“Working in the PR industry, I find Meltwater's monitoring service world class. It's effective, and efficient and the platform is easy to use with some basic training and instruction” - Meltwater Administrator in Media Production Company, <50 Employees on G2

“The ease with which I can find, tag and store relevant information is irreplaceable” - Knowledge360 Administrator in Insurance Company, >1000 Employees on G2

Data Sources

Meltwater incorates data from the following sources:

  • Social media platforms
  • Press releases
  • News articles
  • Review sites
  • Podcasts
  • Internal or third-party data

Meltwater’s API supports 1.3 trillion media documents from over 10 million content sources. Meltwater has the ability to support global organizations, with NLP technology that supports 17 different languages. 

Meltwater primarily focuses on social media and news content. The platform is not well suited to handling large volumes of numeric or scientific data. In comparison, Knowledge360 supports integrations with a wide variety of data-driven sources, industry regulators, and third party research organizations, including:

  • FACTSET
  • Crunchbase
  • SEC filings (EDGAR Database)
  • Live stock ticker feeds
  • Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS)
  • National Institutes of Health (clinicaltrails.gov)
  • US Patent and Trademark Office
  • Aggregated news from over 600,000 global sources

View a complete list of Knowledge360 Integrations & Data Sources here

The Bottom Line: Both platforms have advanced automated data collection and tagging capabilities. Meltwater’s data sources are geared towards monitoring brand sentiment, either internally or for competitors, and work well for global organizations with popular brands. Knowledge360 enables organizations to better understand their entire external environment, encompassing data from regulators, government agencies, and industry bodies.

Meltwater vs. Knowledge360: Search Features and Functionality 

When selecting an M/CI platform, competitive intelligence practitioners should actively consider the platform’s capacity to conduct in-depth searches. It’s important that stakeholders across the organization have the ability to use the M/CI tool to efficiently find key data and insights.

M/CI tools that make use of AI technology will often analyze a user’s previous searches and use these to surface new information that will be of interest to the user. This feature is invaluable in helping organizations uncover game changing new insights outside of their usual information sources.

Meltwater 

Meltwater’s media monitoring platforms support two major types of search: keyword-based and the more advanced Boolean search. 

When conducting a keyword-based search, users enter the keywords they’re interested in, add any words they’d like to exclude, and include a date range to better filter results. Users can save searches that they conduct on a regular basis. 

Meltwater also supports Boolean searches, which enables users to better refine search results and find exactly what they’re looking for. In a nutshell, Boolean searches allow users to combine keywords with moderators, such as ‘AND’ or ‘NOT’, which define a stricter search criteria. 

Related: Knowledge360 Insider: Tips for Building Boolean Searches

Meltwater users generally like the search features, although some do report experiencing problems with Boolean searches:

“We are able to give clients insight into what their competitors are doing by using the search streams to do competitive monitoring of media coverage” - User in Advocacy & Government Relations, <50 Employees on G2

“I have encountered some bugs occasionally, especially with the Boolean search field” - User in Higher Education, <50 Employees on G2

Knowledge360

Knowledge360 has innovative semantic search technologies and an entity-based system architecture. For users, this makes it easy to find exactly what they’re looking for. This technology also makes it relatively straightforward for users to discover hidden relationships in data and other related content that they weren’t explicitly searching for. 

The advanced search features in Knowledge360 are powered by Cipher’s proprietary algorithms, and search against metadata on both internal and external sources to find the most relevant information. Users can also conduct advanced Boolean searches and drill down through multiple layers of filters to zero in on highly relevant information. 

Knowledge360 incorporates a different set of sources to Meltwater, supporting the collection and indexing for both internal and external data from sources including:

  • Public websites including social media and news sources
  • Subscription databases
  • External industry reports
  • Internal information sources e.g. customer & competitor reports
  • Financial reports

The breadth of data sources available in Knowledge360 means that users can conduct advanced searches that enable them to dive deep into individual topics, filter relevant information, and quickly discover detailed insights. 

Knowledge360 users highly value the ability of Knowledge360 to surface relevant information proactively, rather than forcing users to seek it out:

“The K360 platform is easy-to-use for users without deep technical expertise and it provides great options to search and organize content” - Administrator in Electronics Manufacturing Company, >1000 Employees on G2

“Knowledge360 pulls in all of the news and updates on our competitors so I'm not searching through 20+ browser windows to get a sense of what's going on in the market. This is a huge time saver” - Administrator in Hospital & Health Care Company, >1000 Employees on G2

The Bottom Line: Meltwater is best suited to searching for media mentions, social media sentiment, and other media content. Knowledge360’s search features enable organizations to dive deeper and dig into the data that’s driving market trends so that they can make well-informed strategic decisions. 

Meltwater vs. Knowledge360: Collaboration Features

For any competitive intelligence effort to be successful, it’s vital that stakeholders across the organization have the tools to collaborate on projects and communicate seamlessly with each other.

As more and more organizations pivot toward hybrid or fully remote working, software platforms like Meltwater and Knowledge360 are playing an increasingly important role in defining how M/CI teams work together. These days, it’s difficult for M/CI teams to gather in a project room and pore over datasets together, and the ability to work asynchronously is becoming an increasing priority for organizations. 

But collaboration features aren’t only important in defining how M/CI teams work together; they’re pivotal in how M/CI teams engage important decision makers across the organization. The best M/CI platforms support simple, powerful reporting, data visualization, and real-time reporting dashboards.

Meltwater

Meltwater supports a range of collaboration efforts and enables organizations to create real-time dashboards that track competitor activity and media mentions. These dashboards can be shared with executives in real-time, or can be downloaded and shared with executives offline in advance of major meetings.

Like other platforms, Meltwater also produces daily, weekly, and monthly newsletter reports which can be distributed across the organization. The content in these is fully customizable and can be used to update stakeholders on key activities or announcements from major competitors. 

Meltwater also has a sophisticated mobile application that makes it easy for users to track the competitive environment on the go. Content can be translated to a wide variety of languages, ensuring that competitive intelligence insights are available and accessible to stakeholders across global organizations. 

Reviews from Meltware customers broadly praise the collaboration features of the platform:

“I work for an organization that partners with another organization in the United Kingdom. The program is really beneficial because it helps two different organizations come together” - User in International Affairs, >50 Employees on G2

“You can set up the platform to send each team member the news and social alerts that are relevant to their role without them all having to use the platform themselves” - User in Marketing & Advertising, >50 Employees on G2

Knowledge360

Knowledge360 acts as an intelligence hub for the entire organization, allowing users across different functions to better share information and collaborate on important initiatives. 

Knowledge360 features a range of dashboards, reports, and alerts that can be custom-built for individual projects and needs. Dashboards are at the forefront of Knowledge360, and continuously update with real-time data, giving M/CI professionals a live view of their competitive environment. 

Reviewers highlight Knowledge360’s collaboration tools as a key benefit of the platform:

"Much more than the original Competitive Intelligence concept it was meant to be. We have adopted Knowledge360 as an internal web publishing platform to allow departments to communicate and share their information with the entire company" - Enterprise User in Marketing Research & Intelligence on G2

“We are able to better connect our global organization” - Manager, Strategy & Business Development, Medical Device Company, >10,000 Employees on Capterra

Knowledge360 also enables organizations to grant different levels of access to individual users depending on their role in the organization. Administrators can build, edit, and assign custom user roles and ensure sensitive data is protected.

Furthermore, Knowledge360 comes with pre-built integrations to many of the tools that organizations already make use of, including:

  • Slack
  • Google Drive
  • Sharepoint
  • Salesforce

 

Knowledge360 slots in seamlessly to the organizational tech stack and makes it easy for decision makers to incorporate competitive intelligence into their daily routines. 

The Bottom Line: Both platforms have strong collaboration features that enable organizations to widely share competitive intelligence insights. Meltwater has a mobile app and supports multiple languages, while Knowledge360 has the edge when it comes to integrations and administrator tools.

Choosing the Right Tool for Your Organization

When it comes to selecting the right platform, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your organization:

Meltwater: The Bottom Line

Meltwater is an ideal tool for social media and PR professionals tasked with tracking media coverage and mentions for brands and their competitors. The platform boasts a truly global reach, incorporating a mammoth amount of content. There are plenty of advanced technologies and tools that help users distill analysis into actionable dashboards, reports, and insights that can be widely shared with the organization.

Knowledge360: The Bottom Line

Knowledge360 is a great fit for strategy and competitive intelligence teams in large organizations that compete in highly regulated and/or competitive markets. The platform utilizes a wide range of data sources, employs sophisticated technology to uncover new insights, and makes it easy for users to share intelligence with key decision makers. 

If you’re still unsure of the best M/CI platform for your organization, consult our 2021 Buyer’s Guide for Market Intelligence and Competitive Intelligence Tools. This free guide provides a detailed overview of all the tools available today and will help you select the best match for your organization. 

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If you’re at a more advanced stage of your search, use our Competitive Intelligence Software Vendor Evaluation Tool to compare different vendors and determine the best fit for your organization.