Market intelligence (MI) refers to data that uncovers information about a product’s market, which is then used to shape strategies around advertising, market penetration and new products. By devoting time and resources toward gathering and analyzing MI, some companies have been able to rise above their competitors. However, despite the many uses of market intelligence data, experts in the field today have access to more useful customer data than they can reasonably analyze. This is known as the Big Data Paradox.
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What Is Market Intelligence?
The Business Dictionary defines market intelligence as, “Primarily external data collected and analyzed by a business about markets that it anticipates participating in with the intention of using it in making decisions. Marketing intelligence can be used to assess market entry opportunities and to formulate market development plans and penetration strategies.”
Data can exist in text, video or voice form, and sources of raw data include e-commerce analytics, internet research, sales logs, social media and surveys.
Big Data value creation is a driver of MI that’s defined by Investopedia as, “the growth in the volume of structured and unstructured data, the speed at which it is created and collected, and the scope of how many data points are covered. Big data often comes from multiple sources, and arrives in multiple formats.”
If the U.S. health care industry utilized big data effectively, they could see an 8 percent decrease in health care expenditure and approximately $300 billion in created value. Big data can also help drivers via smart routing by potentially saving 20 billion hours on the road and $150 billion in fuel consumption.
Market research and intelligence can come from numerous sources, including target customers, agents, distributors, competitors and industry experts. MI can help determine customer categories, demographics, market growth predictions, market size calculations and many other business factors.
Product intelligence, competitor intelligence (CI), market understanding and customer understanding are the four cornerstones of MI.
Product intelligence refers to information obtained regarding a company’s own products, most often via an automated process. Competitor intelligence refers to legally obtained information regarding a competitor’s products. Market understanding refers to a company’s analysis of its product’s performance in the market. And customer understanding refers to information obtained about a product’s target customer.
Current Means of Collecting MI Data
MI is currently collected by individuals in various positions using a variety of tools and technologies. This often entails hiring a sales force to network, speak with customers, consult with customer advisory panels and hire external consultants.
Combining data sources, analytical skills, technology tools, a support system and access to top personnel in management positions is necessary for utilizing MI effectively.
There are numerous ways to gather MI data, including building an information database, forming customer advisory panels and engaging in networking opportunities.
However, companies should avoid making the following mistakes when utilizing MI data.
For instance, companies should avoid holding an “island mentality.” Ignoring the perspective of competitors could be a costly error, and gathering information about competitors is essential for determining the value of a company’s value proposition.
Companies should work to optimize their use of data. While managers tend to create reports that are filled with data, many neglect to question whether any information was filtered, missed or interpreted incorrectly. Establishing regular audits can ensure that decisions are made based on all available data.
Companies should also use common sense when making business decisions. Avoiding the previous two mistakes is possible if managers realize that MI is critical for the long-term success of their company.
The Road to Applying MI
According to a white paper published by the Global Intelligence Alliance (GIA), approximately 65 percent of all survey respondents and 76 percent of decision-making advisors within companies expect MI programs in their organizations to become more automated by this decade’s end.
MI can be used to understand market changes, explain data, avoid risks, facilitate workshops and make strategic decisions. Big data, information overflow, social media, co-creation, the Internet of Things and cognitive computing are all phenomena affecting MI.
Big data is used to create Customer Value Analytics (CVA), which allows marketers to provide consistent omnichannel customer experiences.
Information overflow encourages MI professionals to create filters for the purpose of managing collected data more efficiently.
Social media is a newer source of information. According to an article published by the Marketing Science Institute (MSI), “social media intelligence can help firms track brand health and market structure, and can even provide a leading indicator of shifts in consumer sentiment.”
Co-creation gives customers a role in product creation by offering honest feedback to business professionals at a lower cost than hiring market research firms.
The Internet of Things offers marketers access to smart data that can provide fairly accurate predictions of customers’ future behavior, based on their daily habits and current preferences.
Cognitive computing is defined by TechTarget as, “the simulation of human thought processes in a computerized model.” Cognitive computing advances automation by learning from previous activities and optimizing workflow.
Developing analytical skills, communication skills, consultative skills and networking skills are crucial for handling new innovations in market intelligence. A career in MI can offer MBAs many rewards and opportunities since remaining aware of technological developments is a requirement for excelling in this field.
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