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Using IMF (International Monetary Fund) for Competitor Analysis

John A. Booth

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August 4, 2020

IMF-database

IMF is the International Monetary Fund. The IMF is a sister organization to the World Bank and the largest lender of public funds worldwide. IMF is an agency of the United Nations, so its oversight is provided by the 186 member countries of the UN.

The IMF website hosts a huge quantity of data and is full of relevant and up-to-date details on governments, agencies and financial institutions. This data can help businesses like yours conduct competitive analysis.

For any business seeking to perform SWOT analysis, rank competitors, identify competitors’ strengths and identify competitor weakness, the IMF is an important data source.

This article will explore:

  1. How to use IMF
  2. Types of competitive intelligence info in the IMF database
  3. How your business can use IMF for competitive analysis
  4. IMF features and functions
  5. How much it costs to use IMF

Want a sneak peek into the best tool (in our humble opinion) for competitive analysis? Get a FREE demo of Knowledge360.

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How to Use IMF Data

IMF world economic outlook info is housed on the IMF world economic outlook database. To use the IMF database for competitive analysis, it’s important to understand how it works. There several large categories of data contained on the site:

  • Government policies (tracking tool and regular updates)
  • IMF in the news
  • Financing and debt relief

These can be used to perform various tasks related to competitor analysis, including:

  • Research and data
  • Monitoring IMF lending
  • Economic and financial surveillance
  • Technical assistance and training

The website has several interactive features that can support competitive analysis. Users can plot, see and compare data. There are large data sets that can be downloaded in bundles and sorted reports of financial data.

IMF Data

The IMF has many important data sources for competitive analysis. Users can access key issues, annual reports, factsheets and an enormous archive. The IMF does external audits and independent evaluations, both of which yield important data points as you analyze competitor strengths or strategies.

Through the research tab, businesses can view breaking news, read research reports and access flagship publications. There are also staff discussion notes, departmental papers, working papers, G-20 surveillance notes, IMF economic reviews, regional economic reports and more.

The “browse” function of the site allows users to sort information by researcher, fields of expertise and external publications. This does require some incoming knowledge of each of these areas, if you’re going to be efficient in finding what you’re looking for.

In addition to static or published materials, there are areas of data that are more frequently updated and should be viewed on a regular basis. These include:

  • Primary commodity prices
  • Global housing watch
  • Research events
  • Conferences and summits
  • News

As you can see, the volume of data and its scope of coverage is immense. A tool like Knowledge360 may be the secret sauce to actually gleaning meaningful data from the IMF for competitive research.

IMF for Competitor Analysis

Globalization has made world markets relevant for more businesses than ever. Leveraging a platform like the IMF for competitor analysis is an important play. The IMF has so much data that can help your team perform SWOT analysis and monitor competitors.

Every day, you can access new information on interest rates around the world, global debt, fiscal information and international news. All of the financial institutions and banks that are involved in lending at this level are reported about on the IMF website. These can be read on the blog or in newsletters. There is also an IMF podcast that has daily research and reports on economic trends. The IMF suggests that its data is highly relevant to people in a variety of fields, including business, civil society, journalism and legislation.

In the interest of competitive analysis, users can directly see financial frameworks, transactions, tax structures and the aforementioned interest rates, all of which impact any and every market for goods and services.

Decisions at a government level impact every part of the economy, from trade and important/export to housing and education. The best way to use the IMF for competitive analysis would be to activate software that can retrieve, collect and deliver the data to you.

The IMF offers a huge body of information that isn’t easily accessible, except through manual processes. Unless your team has the time to monitor the site daily, collect and compare news stories and reports and stay updated on all of the breaking news, you should activate software that can get to work on your behalf.

IMF Automations and Other Features

The IMF is really a giant database, full of great nuggets of information. There are a few upgrades that have made it slightly more accessible and easy to navigate. For example, the IMF Data Mapper now lets users plot country data for easy comparison. There are a few pre-made selections to compare and contrast, such as the fiscal monitor or global debt database. Otherwise, this does have to be configured each time.

Users can also sign up to receive IMF emails. These are not customized but do have the benefit of curating some of the most popular and important content housed on IMF and delivering it to your inbox.

IMF: Cost

The IMF is a free, open-source platform. The cost will be in your time. It does take some significant labor to regularly get meaningful, intelligent competitive analysis from the published materials on this platform.

An Alternative to IMF

The IMF is a great and potentially important resource to help your company gain a real competitive advantage. No company that conducts business in any major way should be in the dark about the data points it relies on. These are vital and key elements for finding an indirect competitor or direct competitor, analyzing those competitors, identifying changes in the market and implementing best practice strategies.

The information overload from the IMF is real. To save your team time (and money from man hours), you might consider a system like the Knowledge360 analysis tool. Our platform helps you build a competitive analysis template with dynamically updated dashboards, helping you identify target markets, corporate strategies and so much more. The IMF is one of the hundreds of sources from which we pull reliable and relevant data, delivering it in perfect time to your team.

You can choose to use many independent data sources, like the IMF, but combining many data sources in one tool is a huge force multiplier. It's easier to spot trends, it means fewer places to look for information, fewer subscriptions to manage, less moving of data and lower costs.

Trying to stop on top of too many data sources is the most common reason most competitive intelligence practices fail. In our experience, marketing and competitive intelligence initiatives often tend to be implemented reactively, rapidly become unmanageable, rarely deliver meaningful insights, and ultimately end because of the lack of meaningful results delivered at the end of a budget cycle.

That is, until the next surprise market event, merger or acquisition has executives calling for more intelligence and better insights. And then the cycle begins again.

Knowledge360 collects diverse data from every available platform for your competition analysis, including: Job Boards (Indeed, Glassdoor), Crunchbase, SEC Filings (EDGAR Database), FACTSET, Company Reviews (Glassdoor), National Institutes of Health (clinicaltrails.gov), Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), Live stock ticker feeds, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and more.

Get insight into the competitive analysis that can inform your SEO strategy and craft a robust and effective analysis framework. Find your target audience and keep an eye on competitors' strengths as you have access to aggregated news from over 600,000 global sources. Strengthen the competitive analysis framework with custom RSS feeds and Google Alerts for SEO competitive analysis. For most businesses, implementing Knowledge360 is the only way to reasonably get the right data, on time, from the best sources.

Use our Ultimate Guide to Competitive Intelligence Research and Data Sources to learn more about our comprehensive data streams and how they will empower your team to conduct competitive benchmarking and analysis, in addition to downloading a pre-built competitive analysis template.

Competitor analysis research guide

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John A. Booth
John A. Booth

John has more than 25 years of experience as an accomplished marketing and sales professional and is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the marketing function at Cipher. Prior to joining Cipher, John co-founded a national marketing agency providing companies with digital marketing and sales support, driving lead generation and increased sales for B2B and B2C clients.

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