Attempting to grow your business without marketing intelligence is a lot like driving without directions.
Without a clear understanding of your industry or market, you’ll be ill-equipped to make informed business decisions.
Businesses are catching on to the importance of market intelligence. In fact, the global business intelligence market is predicted to expand from $23.1 billion in 2020 to $33.3 billion by 2025. Here’s what the term actually means — and why you ought to start using it.
What Is Market Intelligence?
Market intelligence is information gathered by a company about its market, customers, and competition in order to gain a holistic knowledge of the overall marketplace. Brands use market intelligence data to guide decision-making in all areas of their businesses, from product development to marketing campaigns to their entire go-to-market strategy.
Market intelligence involves two primary data types: external and internal data. External data is readily available information collected through research. Some examples include:
Press Releases And Mass Media: Read industry reports and news stories for information that might inform your business decision-making process.
Market Analyst Reports: Glean insights about your industry, competitors, and customer base from reports compiled by market analysts.
Social Listening: Monitor online conversations between customers and prospects to uncover important information related to your brand and industry. Whether you use a social listening tool or track important topics manually, this process can help gauge public perception of your brand and products.
Internal data refers to intelligence that a company generates and maintains on its own. This type of data is not meant or public consumption. Examples include:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Data: Leverage information in your internal customer or contact database, which pulls data from various marketing channels, such as email subscriptions or landing page signups.
Website Analytics: Analyze the traffic patterns to and from your website and social profiles to gain insight into your customers’ online behavior and interests.
Company Feedback: Find out what customers are telling sales reps and customer service employees to learn unique, firsthand information about your buyers and industry.
Each of these data types can be useful on their own, but market intelligence involves combining them to create a 360-degree view of your market.
Is Market Intelligence The Same Thing As Market Research?
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but there are key differences between them. Market research refers to the act of collecting and analyzing data to solve specific problems or business objectives, like conducting a survey to gauge customer perception of a specific product.
Market intelligence, on the other hand, is the ongoing process of data analysis for the purpose of maintaining a well-rounded understanding of the broader market. In short, market intelligence is not a one-off marketing tactic or campaign– it’s a tool or process that enables long-term business growth across all marketing channels and concentrations.
The Benefits of Market Intelligence Data
Marketers can use market intelligence to improve or scale a number of marketing activities. Let’s look at a few examples:
Market intelligence relays important information about common problems your customers face and the products that currently exist to address these problems. This type of information is critical when it comes to developing new or existing products.
With market intelligence, you can be confident that you’re making the right changes to your products and services.
When you overprice a product, you’ll lose customers to a less expensive competitor. But, when you set your price too low, you fail to maximize potential revenue.
You can leverage market intelligence to determine the optimal price point for the products and services you offer. Analyze average customer budgets and purchase size data, as well as the price points of similar products from competing businesses.
Market intelligence helps you assess competing businesses within your market. What are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses? What do they do differently?
Competitive analysis allows you to keep an eye on competitors and what actions you must take to gain a competitive advantage. In fact, 77% of businesses say holistic competitive intelligence is critical to successful marketing intelligence.
Entering New Markets
As your business grows, it’s smart to look beyond your existing market and plan to infiltrate new ones. You can leverage market intelligence to identify and study potential new markets.
4 Steps to Developing a Market Intelligence Program:
Now that we’ve outlined the benefits of market intelligence, let’s look at four key steps you must take to incorporate market intelligence into your business strategy:
1. Secure Executive Buy-In
Market intelligence is not a simple tactic that your business can implement on a whim.
Rather, it’s an ongoing strategy that requires your entire organization to embrace a data-driven culture and mindset. If your business’s key decision-makers aren’t on board, market intelligence will never be a business priority.
2. Prioritize Data Quality
Market intelligence involves collecting and processing a large amount of data. data is inaccurate or incomplete, it will do little to improve your marketing efforts.
Unfortunately, many B2B organizations make decisions based on low-quality or inaccurate data. And it should go without saying that poor data quality costs organizations a lot of money annually. In fact, data quality issues cost the U.S economy an estimated $3.1 trillion per year.
Before you attempt to incorporate market data into your day-to-day business practices, we recommend you evaluate your data collection processes. Examine the channels you use to collect and store data. Then identify any areas that need improvement.
Of course, collecting clean data does not ensure that it stays clean over time. Because B2B data decays so rapidly, you must prioritize data maintenance in order for this type of initiative to work. Your best bet is to work with a data maintenance tool or provider that can automate regular data hygiene processes. That way you can rest assured that your decisions are based on the most accurate and up-to-date information.
3. Gather Data From a Wide Variety of Sources
As we explained earlier, many forms of internal and external data make up market intelligence. If you restrict your efforts to one or two of these sources, your understanding of the market will be flawed and underdeveloped.
For example, the insights you glean from a market analyst’s report will be different from the information you get from interviewing your sales team. Neither source is superior to the other – they work in tandem to create a multi-dimensional view of your market and customers.
4. Invest in a Market Intelligence Tool, Service, or Platform
If you’ve gotten this far, you know that market intelligence can be complex. You may be thinking, “My business doesn’t have the manpower or resources to use market intelligence.”
We don’t blame you– very few organizations have the resources needed to manually implement large-scale marketing data initiatives. Fortunately, there are a number of specialized tools that can streamline the collection and analysis of market and competitive data.
Market Intelligence: It’s The Smart Thing To Do
On the surface, this level of data collection and analysis may seem like a hassle. But once you incorporate market intelligence into your daily business practices, you’ll begin to make faster decisions. And you’ll be confident that each of your decisions will lead your business in the right direction.
So ask yourself this question: if your competitors use market intelligence and your business doesn’t, who will come out on top?
This post was updated February 9th, 2021