What is Crayon?
Crayon is a competitive intelligence company based in Boston that helps companies monitor and analyze various aspects of their competitors’ businesses, including:
- Go-to-market strategy
- Web presence and positioning, including website copy and branding
- Product packaging and pricing strategies
- News, events, and public relations
- Teams and human resources
- Content, media, and social media presence and strategies
- Customer reviews and support
- Partners and investors
- Sales enablement
Crayon collects content on a variety of companies from both online and offline sources and stores them in one place, easily accessible to users conducting competitive research. It uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) functionality, flagging critical information and displaying actionable insights from millions of sources, saving precious time on research and analysis.
Crayon also provides real-time data and historical analysis of your competitors, so that you can track their evolution. Moreover, you can integrate Crayon into your workflow, allowing team members to receive alerts, newsletters, and relevant data across Slack, Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and other internal tools.
Many industries—including retail, technology, finance, pharmaceutical, and software—use Crayon’s platform to keep up with market trends, drive better sales, and reduce customer churn. However, Crayon may not work for companies who have a large amount of competitors to track, or who need to frequently modify the competitors they are monitoring. It still uses human analysts to process data, so scalability is a challenge.
- Uses cutting-edge AI and ML capabilities to source useful data on competitors
- Integrates with multiple business software, including Slack and Microsoft Teams
- Automated and real-time alerts
- Can tag relevant items with more personalized competitor insights
- Collects info from both online and offline sources.
- Offers in-depth analytics and metrics
- Custom reports and battlecards
- Intuitive and easy-to-use platform
- Does not have an expert call library
- Does not offer SEC filings, earnings estimates, financial reports, and modeling
- Less scalable and modifiable than similar tools
- Lacks industry-specific reports or thought leadership
- Does not host content on its platform; it only provides links to URLs
- Lacks advanced search capabilities, such as keyword and synonym recognition, thematic search, proximity search, and sentiment analysis
- Utilizes human analysts which leads to slower workflow and research process
- No way to track peers’ R&D trends via the platform
There are alternatives to Crayon that offer more advanced competitive intelligence features and capabilities, which may be better suited for larger companies. Here are a few options:
Best for: conducting comprehensive competitive research and analysis with advanced AI features for added speed, accuracy, and scope—all in one place
AlphaSense is consistently ranked as an industry leader by TrustRadius and G2, and was recently recognized as one of the top 50 AI companies by Forbes.
Unlike Klue or other tools, AlphaSense is an all-in-one market intelligence platform that helps you make swifter, more confident decisions and access even deeper competitor insights, at scale.
Multiple corporate organizations use AlphaSense for competitive intelligence, market landscaping, and business strategy. Financial services professionals find AlphaSense useful for due diligence, earnings analysis, market monitoring, messaging research, idea generation, and deal sourcing.
To cut research time and increase efficiency, AlphaSense uses smart search and AI capabilities, turning your research process from reactive to proactive.
In addition, AlphaSense comes with two proprietary content sets:
- Stream in AlphaSense – Stream expert insights solutions include an Expert Transcript Library that hosts 26,000+ expert call transcripts with former and current executives, competitors, professionals, industry experts, and customers. This ever-expanding library also features Expert Call Services for custom calls. Stream guarantees compliance throughout the content development process, cutting out potential conflicts of interest and potential legal violations. AlphaSense retains a team of trained compliance reviewers who ensure client research safety.
- Wall Street Insights® – AlphaSense also features industry-leading insights from equity research collected from multiple sources. That includes 1,000+ sell-side and independent firms that cover multiple global industries, unique sector themes, and companies. These resources are indexed and searchable from the AlphaSense platform.
AlphaSense also comes with the following features that elevate your research and eliminate blind spots:
AlphaSense has a sentiment analysis feature built using natural language processing (NLP). When the platform detects a slight change in a text’s tone and subjective meaning, it highlights it using different color codes. These color changes help you identify if documents have negative, positive, or neutral sentiments.
Further, each search term gets a sentiment change score. Using this numerical score, you can track slight market sentiment changes over time. It also helps you catch subtle inflection points in language that moves markets and provides early indicators of shifting corporate performance.
AlphaSense also uses AI-based Smart Synonyms™ technology—a capability that studies keywords and intent behind your search engine queries. Using advanced algorithms, AlphaSense eliminates the noise from your search, including content with matching keywords that are irrelevant to search objectives.
AI search functionality finds the exact documents and snippets most relevant to your search, saving time and energy for more high-level tasks, like analysis.
With real-time alerts, AlphaSense enables you to set up automated updates on the emerging trends, news, topics, markets, and companies you are most interested in. Automated monitoring takes regular snapshots of your chosen companies and topics and sends notifications, keeping you on top of critical competitor information, insights, and market changes.
Instant Company Insights
If you’re keeping tabs on a single company, AlphaSense offers Search Analytics and Company Tearsheets that provide updates on the companies currently on your radar, giving you an in-depth reach across industries, regions, document types, and more. Using company insights, you can also focus and ground your research into a particular competitor, discovering critical insights that can propel your market analysis to the next level.
- Vast content universe organized around the four key perspectives
- NLP, AI-based search technology, and sentiment analysis
- Proprietary content sets like Wall Street Insights® and the Stream expert transcript library
- Automated and customizable alerts
- All-in-one research platform
- User-friendly platform
- Collaboration and integration features
- Visualization tools are limited to financial data at this time
- Collaboration tools are limited to users with AlphaSense licenses
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Best for: sales enablement and tracking unlimited competitors
Another great alternative to Crayon is Klue, a competitive intelligence company based in Canada. Klue enables product marketers and other users to plan, collect, analyze and distribute competitive intelligence information across organizational departments.
Klue features an automated web crawler that keeps users updated on competitors’ product offerings, launches, pricing changes, and marketing strategies. Using AI, Klue verifies and curates insights from its research and provides intelligence into your competitor’s operations. However, unlike Crayon or AlphaSense, Klue’s AI suffers from potential noise in research and does not deliver real-time insights. It may also miss some priority insights entirely.
Klue draws data from the web, social media, product launches, press mentions and releases, and reviews. It also allows users to add research insights about their own company and competitors.
Klue can perform multiple competitive analysis tasks, including:
- Collecting competitor intelligence from multiple public sources
- Analyzing and delivering market research insights from their online platform using AI
- Using customizable dashboards to help you curate competitor insights, data cards, battlecards, landing pages, and tags
- Sharing critical files and information across your organization using internal tools
- Measuring the impact of competitive intelligence on your business.
- In-depth competitor tracking features
- Intuitive battlecard designs
- Supports data visualization and collaboration
- User-friendly and scalable platform
- Integrates with Slack, Salesforce, other CRMs, and professional software
- Offers high security for your company data
- Has a community forum
- Limited data sources—only public data
- No SEC filings, earnings estimates, or financial reports
- No on-premise data storage function
- No broker analysis
- No advanced search capabilities or sentiment analysis
- Steeper learning curve than other tools
- No expert call analysis
Best for: Search engine marketing, competitor keyword research, content marketing, and SEO
Semrush is a SaaS and content marketing tool enabling users to grow their online traffic organically using keyword research, analysis, and SEO techniques. It can help improve your rankings using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media management, content marketing, and ecommerce competitor analysis.
Digital marketers, SEO professionals, content creators, small businesses, and website owners often rely on Semrush to grow and improve their online presence. With Semrush, users can track and analyze their website’s search engine rankings. On the competitive intelligence side, they can use Semrush to monitor competitors’ online marketing activities, track their ranking, review keywords used, and identify new opportunities to improve their web presence.
Semrush comes with features that include:
- Search engine rankings
- Lead generation
- Keyword analysis and research
- Competitor analysis and monitoring
- Backlink analysis
- PPC advertising data and analysis
- Social media management and analysis
- Website traffic analysis
- Provides a wide range of digital marketing tools and services
- Offers detailed insights into competitors’ online marketing activities
- User-friendly interface with easy-to-use features
- Provides in-depth analysis of website traffic and rankings
- Offers customized reports and recommendations for optimization
- May be overwhelming for beginners due to the wide range of features
- Some features are only available on higher-tier plans
- Keyword data accuracy may vary
- No real-time data access
- Only sources data from search engines
- No expert calls available.
- No AI search or sentiment analysis
Best for: Competitive intelligence across multiple functions, including supplier, risk, media, and opportunity intelligence
Contify is another market and competitive intelligence platform for businesses and professionals. It helps you keep track of competitor strategies, as well as sales and marketing metrics. It also provides unique customer insights and market research from over 500,000 sources.
The Contify platform uses AI and NLP to collect and analyze data from company websites, regulatory portals, job boards, social media, and market research reports.
It can give you intelligence on your competitor’s business and financial performance, as well as track competitor business expansions, products, services, social media posts, operational and legal challenges, and job postings. Contify also monitors key market players, thought leadership blogs, case studies, and recent trends to help you steer your business in a profitable direction.
Contify provides access to a wide range of data related to market and competitive intelligence, including:
- Global and regional industry trends
- Mergers and acquisitions analysis
- Significant market changes
- Regulatory changes
- Emerging threats and opportunities
- New technology and innovations
- Company and executive profiles
- Current and future business priorities
Contify comes with a variety of features that include: news tracking, market intelligence, competitor tracking, and customer insights.
Users can collaborate and share knowledge using the news API, which enables teams and co-workers to collaborate more effectively and make better data-driven decisions.
Contify serves businesses of all sizes and across various industries, including finance, healthcare, technology, and consumer goods. It can track multiple companies at once, making it particularly useful for companies looking to expand their market presence, launch new products, or stay ahead of the competition.
- Real-time updates and customizable alerts on industry developments, competitor activities, and customer behavior
- Uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to collect and analyze data from various sources
- Provides a centralized platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing
- Offers a user-friendly interface with easy-to-use features
- Offers intelligence on multiple functions, including regulations, innovations, M&A, Industry themes and patents
- Features smart translation feature for over 100+ languages
- Pricing ranges from $1000 to $10,000/month, making it a restrictive CI platform
- Some users have reported issues with data accuracy and customization options
- Lacks access to broker research
- Lacks AI-powered search including sentiment analysis
- No expert calls
Best for: Sales enablement and enablement intelligence
Seismic is a sales enablement platform that helps users in a customer-facing organization create, manage, and distribute content to their sales teams.
With the Seismic platform, businesses can enhance their sales process by providing relevant and personalized content to their sales teams. Moreover, businesses can also use it to gain insights and analyze their sales processes to determine the effectiveness of their sales strategies. Seismic is ideal for organizations with complex sales processes, distributed sales teams, or large sales volumes.
The key Seismic product is content management. It enables users to quickly create unique and personal sales content and customer experiences. Seismic also supports content automation, sales analytics, and sales coaching.
Using Enablement intelligence, Seismic increases your opportunity for revenue growth, helping you train sales reps faster and better while creating more engaging content. Seismic helps you strategize and plan your work while supporting auditing and reports on your performance.
Like other tools in this list, Seismic integrates with multiple office software, including Microsoft, Salesforce, WordPress, and CRMs, to promote collaboration across your organization.
Seismic provides access to a wide range of data related to sales enablement, including:
- Sales content usage and effectiveness metrics
- Sales team performance metrics
- Sales pipeline data and analytics
- Customer engagement and behavior data
- CRM and marketing automation data
- Content management and distribution
- Sales content automation and personalization
- Sales analytics and reporting
- Sales coaching and feedback
- Integration with popular CRM and marketing automation systems
- User-friendly interface with customizable dashboards and reports
- Content management features to organize and distribute sales content
- Sales content automation to personalize content for individual buyers
- Sales analytics to track content usage and effectiveness
- Sales coaching to provide feedback and training to sales teams
- Pricing may be higher compared to other sales enablement platforms
- Some users have reported issues with integration and customization options
- No sentiment analysis or broker reports
- Lacks AI smart search features
- No expert call database
How to Choose an Alternative to Crayon
Crayon is a competitive intelligence platform that offers in-depth insights into the market strategy of other businesses. But for some, Crayon lacks key features and data that are integral to improving performance and driving strategy.
If you are in the market for an alternative, consider the following criteria in your search:
- Data coverage: What kind of data do you need access to in order to gain a complete picture in your research? Some platforms will come with premium content sets like broker research and expert calls, while others may only come with lower-value public data. Consider what type and volume of data is necessary for your goals.
- Data quality: When choosing an alternative to Crayon, opt for one with accurate, up-to-date, and reliable data. User ratings and reviews from websites like G2 and TrustRadius can help you make better decisions here.
- Pricing: Consider your competitive analysis budget when choosing an alternative. Some tools are more expensive than others, although they serve identical functions. Choose a platform with flexible subscriptions or one that falls within your budgetary limitations.
- User interface and user experience: A market intelligence platform should streamline your workflow and enhance your research process. Make sure that the solution you select is truly benefiting you, whether by saving time, increasing confidence, widening the breadth of your research, or all of the above.
- Additional features: Consider what additional features, other than content sets, are paramount to your process and workflow. Might you benefit from advanced AI search features like synonym recognition and sentiment analysis. Or maybe you need automated monitoring, company tearsheets, or customer analytics? Make sure the platform you choose supports your unique business needs and makes your job easier.