The Businesses of today's world, where information is more readily available than ever before, can grow or break based on their marketing decisions. With everything, ranging from information on market trends to information on product development, available at the click of a mouse on the internet, business owners and product managers need to make the best out of the available data in order to take informed decisions.

But, despite the growing trend, some of the most valuable information cannot be found easily on the internet. For example, Competitor intelligence - which is considered as the most difficult information to acquire without the help of an expert market intelligence consultant or various other tools.

In a world where general information is available in every nook and corner, an effective capability to acquire the required market intelligence becomes a necessity before taking decisions which would affect a business.

What is Market Intelligence?

A term which is mostly confusing for majority of the people, market intelligence involves collection of information or data and its analysis, which will impact a business's present and the future market environment. Wikipedia defines Market Intelligence as "The information relevant to a company’s market, gathered and analyzed specifically for the purpose of accurate and confident decision-making in determining market opportunity, market penetration strategy, and market development metrics".

When utilized to its prime, market intelligence can help a research and development team with:

  • Unbiased information about the existing technologies, products and its market attractiveness.
  • Better understanding of customer requirements and their development in the near future.
  • Faster warnings of the disruptive technologies or innovations in the market.
  • Improved understanding of the current and future marketing trends.

Why Market Intelligence?

Though the main purpose of market intelligence is to help a company grow by increasing its revenue, profit and market share, market intelligence can be used to aid more or less every marketing decision taken by the company. Centered on collecting relevant and real information to pursue growth opportunities and achieve your business goals, a good market intelligent strategy serves various other purposes as well to increase the ROI of a company.

  • An excellent Market Intelligence keeps your company ahead of the curve, thus gaining more advantage over competitors.
  • An ideal Market Intelligence can give the customers what they expect, thus expand the market share by attracting more customers.
  • It minimizes the risk of a wrong investment decision.
  • An exemplary market intelligence strategy plays a major role in establishing and maintaining an individual corporate identity.
  • It helps in expanding your presence by entering into newer and better markets.

How Does Market Intelligence Work?

To conduct a comprehensive and a functional market entry or a market expansion strategy, it requires a complete 360-degree view of the market. As a set of activities that provide a company with a view of the market using the sources of information available, market intelligence helps in understanding the happenings in the market, what the issues are, what are the competitors doing, what are the customers up to, and what is likely the market potential for new products or services.

On a broader perspective, market intelligence can be divided into two areas depending on the data source.

  • Market Intelligence based on external data
  • Market intelligence based on internal data

Market Intelligence Based On External Data

Market intelligence from external data is usually based on secondary information sources in the form of desk research or a continuous monitoring process. In other words, this means sourcing and analyzing the information published to build your knowledge about the market and try and provide the requisites for the customers reaching out for your services. A successful desk research allows you to track down the various sources of information and provide a complete analysis based on the data. For example: finding out who your competitors are and analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, strategies, market position against yours and potential channel partners.

To help internal market analysts, most of the companies make use of external resources in the form of analyst houses who play a major role in not just providing the data, but also in providing advice on the current market picture based on the trends and technologies, leading to a successful lead generation

Market Intelligence Based On Internal Data

Though market intelligence is majorly associated with collecting information externally, a better understanding can be obtained by integrating the external information with the existing data, such as customer database, test-marketing and web-anaytics. For instance, a complete database analysis which includes tracking recency along with frequency and value of purchases, may help you in understanding where you have the cross-sale and up-sale opportunities, to know more about the most profitable customers. Along with database information, other sources such as website traffic analysis, competitive intelligence, etc. also play a major role in helping you understand what customers are looking for, and why.

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