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How a Waste Management Company Uses AI to Spy on Competitors
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By: Mike Kaput

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April 17th, 2018

How a Waste Management Company Uses AI to Spy on Competitors

Do you think AI isn't used by real brands to produce real results? Think again.

Budget Dumpster is a dumpster rental company that has been in business since 2009. Its business is simple: The company rents dumpsters to homeowners and contractors. And Budget Dumpster uses AI to beat bigger competitors with bigger budgets.

Yes, even a waste management company uses and benefits from AI.

You see, Budget Dumpster has tons of competitors across the country. They need to know what their competitors are doing online—and how they're doing it.

There's not just one type of competitor, either. Sometimes Budget Dumpster faces off against small local firms. But other times it goes toe-to-toe with big national brands.

Budget Dumpster's lean marketing team must fight a battle on multiple fronts. And sometimes the enemy has a superior force.

The company needed some way to level the playing field. They turned to artificial intelligence. Specifically, they adopted an AI-powered competitive intel tool called Crayon.

Crayon uses AI to help brands track, analyze, and act on the competition's moves. Crayon shows you how a competitor's online presence has changed, almost in real time. That means you can see how competitors have altered site messaging and positioning. It means you can see changes to key pages (think: hiring, pricing changes, etc.). And a lot more. (The data comes from more than seven million sources.)

“The tools we were using didn't have the breadth of intel we needed to understand what our competitors were doing, and the intel wasn't getting surfaced fast enough. We were missing opportunities to get ahead of our competitors and consuming precious resources chasing down intel,” says Budget Dumpster CMO Dominic Litten, as profiled in this case study on Crayon.

This is a common challenge we’ve seen marketers have that AI can solve:

AI excels at analyzing massive sets of data (i.e. the seven million sources analyzed by Crayon). Crayon doesn't just analyze the data. It surfaces the most important data. Humans can do some of this, but it takes a long time. Because this is AI, however, it can do this at scale.

The result is that Budget Dumpster can go head-to-head with big brands even with a lean marketing team.

In fact, the Budget Dumpster team was able to use the tool to solve their top challenge:

They were being too reactive. It wasn’t that their team didn’t hustle. They did. But they were just struggling to analyze all the available information. It takes hours to properly analyze a competitor's web presence if you're a human.

And because it's easy to change digital strategies on the fly, your human-analyzed intel might be out of date when you get it.

OK, so that’s all well and good. But what does this look like in practice?

In one scenario, Budget Dumpster used Crayon to brainstorm new marketing ideas. The company was able to essentially spy on competitors. They looked at how competitors created content and promoted it. From that info, they got new ideas for SEO moves, landing pages to create, and social media campaigns to run.

In another scenario, they analyzed their competition's content gaps. Then, they filled those gaps.

According to the case study, the company now saves an estimated $25,000 on competitive intel. But it's not only about saving money. It's about improving performance in ways humans just can't do without technology.

This is a key point for marketers looking to adopt AI:

It’s not just about automating tasks to save money. That’s part of it. But it’s much more than that. AI is able to enable functions that just aren’t possible or profitable using a human team alone.

In the case of Budget Dumpster, AI empowers a lean marketing team to operate its competitive intel activities at scale.

Machines do data collection and analysis. Humans hustle to execute strategy based on this competitive intel.

It's a match made in heaven.

Check out Crayon's free competitive intelligence report: https://www.crayon.co/success/free-report/

This post features one of the Marketing AI Institute’s benefactors, Crayon. For more information on our benefactor program, please contact us here.

Get free access to the Ultimate Beginner's Guide to AI in Marketing: https://www.marketingaiinstitute.com/beginners-guide-access

Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

About Mike Kaput

Mike Kaput is the Director of Marketing AI Institute and a senior consultant at PR 20/20. He writes and speaks about how marketers can understand, adopt, and pilot artificial intelligence to increase revenue and reduce costs. Full bio.

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