What is Market Intelligence? A summary of all the ins and outs
The term "Market Intelligence" has gained popularity and is bandied around a lot these days in business circles. But is it actually understood in depth? To understand market intelligence better, it is imperative to learn about its definition, advantages, and examples, as well as peripheral information surrounding it. In this blog, we are going to do just that, and help you understand what this term is all about. Let's go!
What Is Market Intelligence?
Market intelligence (MI), sometimes also known as "marketing intelligence", is external data collected by a company or companies, about a target market which they are either a part of, or wish to enter. But that's not all, marketing intelligence is used to accomplish several different marketing goals, which include making decisions regarding competitors, product(s), and consumer trends/behaviors. Decision-making in a company is a process that is nourished by the amount of relevant market information you have, and marketing intelligence does just that. It lets an organization gain a comprehensive understanding of its competitors, the state of its industry, market conditions, and the changing consumer landscape as a whole, thus granting them a desirable advantage in the market.
The Importance of Market Intelligence
Market intelligence is important as it gives your company a foundation to base all of its decisions. The analysis of the data collected is invaluable as it:
- Provides insights into a business's target audience, its growth potential, market opportunity, competitor analysis as well as other future goals.
- Divulges how you fare against your direct or indirect competitors.
- Helps you anticipate what lies ahead. It guides your business’s decision-making by cutting through the noise out there in the market.
- Expedites strategizing around the competitive landscape, the target market, customer trends, and specific buyer personas.
- Aids in the improvement of your company’s position by helping invest in the right projects and avoiding losses.
- Assists planning the launch of new products and/or services.
However, to get the best of your marketing intelligence efforts, it is important to set certain KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). These KPIs can themselves be divided into:
These include the analysis of things like total revenue (of your own company as well as that of your competitors), as well as product sales.
These include indicators that are difficult to quantify but allow your company to gauge the success of their business and marketing strategies, such as mail surveys, focus groups, customer feedback, response rate, assessments, and other such data.
The end-game of marketing intelligence is, of course, to proliferate your business, but it does so much more, constantly providing you with actionable industry insights that will help you sustain your position in the market once you get to the top.
Real-world Market Intelligence Examples
Gathering marketing intelligence is now a key strategic initiative in every notable company across the globe. It adds value to every business process, and in particular, empowers marketing teams to make better decisions. Contify is an artificial-intelligence-enabled, competitive, and market intelligence platform that has been used by a number of global organizations across industries to gain actionable insights on their market, competition etc.
Here are a few examples of how some prominent companies used this MI to improve their business and stay on top of their competitors’ moves. Have a look.
European eMobility Solutions Provider Enables Faster Decision-Making In Its Product Strategy
Business Challenge: The manual process of gathering market intelligence to drive insights was labor-intensive and prone to errors.
Solution: A customized solution to deliver actionable insights to the firm. This was done by identifying key impact drivers for the company as a first step, then delivering a real-time stream of strategic updates, and finally structuring intelligence newsletter reports.
Impact: Contify's solution gave the company 36% more time to generate insights, a 20% increase in the open rate for intelligence reports, and 2x faster strategic decision-making.
Delivering Personalized Market Intelligence to One of the World’s Largest mVAS Solutions Provider
Business Challenge: Weekly newsletter sent to the sales teams had too much clutter and noise, was not personalized, and thus its intelligence remained unutilized. An automated and personalized MI solution was required for the organization.
Solution: Contify's solution comprised of a custom taxonomy and custom tracking, covering competitors, customers, industries, offerings, solutions, and a set of industry keywords. Access to daily intelligence through the client’s sales enablement app was provided.
Impact: The open rate for the intelligence newsletter increased dramatically, and real-time personalized MI helps the sales team in triggering meaningful engaging conversations with their prospects
Market Intelligence Vs Market Research
Often both these terms are used interchangeably. However, while market intelligence and market research are closely related, they are not the same. Let's have a look at certain differences between the two.
According to Forbes, market research is undertaken to learn about your audience’s wants and needs and the financial trends in your industry. It is where you combine the data and uncover trends that tell you what customers want and how to provide it most effectively. This method allows organizations or businesses to discover their target market, collect and document opinions and make informed strategic decisions about their product or service. However, it focuses only on gaining clarity into certain aspects of the market without providing insights into any external factors.
On the other hand, market intelligence focuses on gathering and analyzing data relevant to a company’s external environment and is often part of the company’s strategic planning function. Market Intelligence is a much broader term than market research and is usually defined as a complete and continuing awareness of all facets of a marketplace.
Although an organization's marketing and strategic team will use both market intelligence and marketing research when developing their strategies, it is market research that deals specifically with your company, marketing strategy, and product line. Market intelligence is a wider knowledge of the market itself, not just your company's specific positioning.
The scope of market research and market intelligence is quite different. Market research is company-specific and deals with topics like consumer preferences, customer perception, customer base, customer retention, trends, product features, styles, flavors, etc. Market intelligence includes the things mentioned above as well but is more about market share, money sources invested in the industry, competitors, market understanding, market analysis, market trends, customer spending, and suppliers.
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Market Intelligence
Market intelligence has many advantages that can help companies gain a holistic view of their markets and get ahead of the competition, but like everything else, it also has its limitations.
Let's have a look at both of these.
- 1. Bird's Eye-view of the Market
- Market intelligence helps organizations understand their markets inside-out by gathering real-time data. This in turn aids them in weaving their strategies and processes around that data, allowing them to stay competitive and meet market demands.
- 2. Customer Retention
- MI helps in the analysis of your consumers, building customer understanding. It gives you insights into the areas of improvements that are needed by the customers and thus helps you retain them and improve customer lifetime value.
- 3. Improvement In Sales
- Determining the right target audience, and more importantly determining whether your product will succeed with your target audience, is a problem most organizations struggle with. MI helps with this by determining market segmentation.
- 4.Competitive Advantage
- This is perhaps the strongest advantage there is of having MI on your side. It helps you watch over the competition, the upcoming trends, and gives a complete picture of the market, always keeping you one step (or several) ahead of your competition.
Although AI-enabled market intelligence tools like Contify mitigate a number of limitations, MI still isn't flawless. Here are some of its disadvantages:
- 1. Cost
- MI isn't exactly inexpensive. In fact, it can be too much for small and/or medium-sized enterprises. However, leveraging AI-enabled platforms which offer plug-and-play pricing can help mitigate this limitation.
- 2. Limited Use
- MI is a fairly nascent domain. To this day most of its consumers are affluent organizations, and as a result, the larger part of the global market is either oblivious of its existence, or they don't consider it necessary for their business.
- 3. Time-Consuming Implementation
- A lot of businesses are not patient enough to wait for even the initial time it takes to fully set up MI. It is advisable to partner with companies that provide Market Intelligence software, as they can help reduce setting-up time, owing to the years of expertise they have implementing MI.
- 4. Limited Compass
- Even though market intelligence can penetrate and get insights from a number of sources such as news, company websites, social media, reviews, discussion forums, job postings, regulatory portals, and the like, there are still limitations. MI can only conduct a limited search for proprietary information.
What Do Market Intelligence Tools Do?
Market intelligence tools like Contify help track news and other information on competitors, customers, and industry segments. They also enable organizations to get only contextually strategic, relevant and timely updates from their market and competitive landscape.
What Does Market Intelligence Include?
Marketing intelligence comprises several distinct categories of data such as competitive intelligence, product intelligence, market understanding as well as consumer understanding. Here are a few details on these categories.
1. Competitive Intelligence - Competitive intelligence is a form of MI that involves the collection and analysis of data from competitors to gain better insights. These insights are then used to develop business strategies. The marketing team as well as the strategy team too will then align their efforts to outdo your competitors.
2. Product Intelligence - Product intelligence is about product trends in the market, and how your product compares to those already available. It helps organizations better understand what the consumer actually requires, and then align products to help drive more conversions.
3. Market Understanding - As the name suggests, this consists of simply identifying the right target audience, the right media mix, touchpoints, and media channels to use, and where your products can fit into those elements. The more knowledge you have about your markets, the better your market understanding.
4. Consumer Understanding - Understanding one's customers is paramount, and can help effectively target new customers for less marketing spend while helping boost retention rates.
How Do You Get Market Intelligence?
Traditionally, to gather market intelligence companies conduct surveys, interviews, visit and monitor competitors' outlets or gather and buy data from different sources. Now, you can use MI tools like Contify, which gather curated and accurate market information by searching and analyzing over 200,000 online sources including news, company websites, social media, reviews, discussion forums, job postings, regulatory portals, and more. This will save your business a lot of time and effort.
What Does a Market Intelligence Analyst Do?
A market intelligence analyst is responsible for identifying and collecting appropriate customer, competitor, market, economic, financial, and/or operational data. They also perform financial, statistical, and qualitative data analysis of markets and competitors. Finally, they translate the compiled data into executable and effective MI reports.
Market intelligence is, no doubt, a very important factor in the success of any business. However, to invest in MI, whether traditional or in the form of MI software, requires an organization to weigh its pros and cons. While gathering market intelligence requires a lot of effort and cost to be put in initially, basing your company’s direction on strategies that lack accurate intelligence can be downright harmful to your business. Here's hoping that this article can provide you with insights on how to make a well-thought-out business decision.
Author: Shilpa Tandon