Locally Sourced and OrganicPosted: June 10, 2014
June 10, 2014
Locally sourced and organic. From farm to table. Sustainable. These are the buzzwords for today’s foodies, identifying the best places to get great, fresh food.
But they also represent something quite different, sources of competitively sensitive information that are “not” technically on the Internet, but can be among the best places for certain types of raw data.
What do I mean?
I mean articles that appear in small, local newspapers where the text of the newspaper is not directly searchable through Google or Bing. To search the archives of these newspapers, you first have to determine that there is such a newspaper, and then go to the home pages. Once there you will find that you may be able to search some recent parts of the archives, but usually that access may not be available unless you are already a subscriber.
But their stories are locally sourced, and come from the source to your table. Their coverage of local businesses is often unmatched even in trade publications. (Note: some of the more detailed articles that you may read in trade publications often have their origin in such local newspapers.) That is because they are reporting on local events which are critical to their community, but which, to national publications, are not very interesting.
These articles, such as one that I just read, can be incredibly detailed. The one I’m thinking of, in a local weekly newspaper in the Midwest, actually was made up of three separate articles about the expansion of a local factory. One section included numerous pictures taken on a plant tour. A second section dealt with the revitalization of the plant, its customer base, its sales, and future expansion (read future local jobs). The third section was written by the managers of the plant (!) for the uninitiated: a description of the production processes of this particular plant. It was not general, but highly specific, including input details and production rates, current material volumes, etc. This one alone ran to over 12 column inches, and all three were over 36 column inches!
For competitors, this was truly “locally sourced” and could come direct to their “table”. And it certainly was sustainable, because this local newspaper will also carry advertisements for future hiring at this plant, giving its competitors, if they are looking here, additional insight not only into the costs of the plant, but also on its growth in customer base.
All in all, a delightful competitive intelligence feast.
Oh, I have not provided you with a citation to this article, since you cannot read it unless you are subscriber to this weekly newspaper. It is part of what some people have called the “hidden Internet”. I prefer to think of it as locally sourced, organic CI data.