What is Marketing Intelligence?
August 09, 2021
Marketing is obviously one of the pillars of a successful business. Thus, creating viable and strong marketing plans is a top priority all over the industries. But how does one go about achieving it? Well, as for many crucial questions in modern business, the answer lies in data. Great strategies come from knowledge about the markets, meaning that they are well-informed by solid data. Marketing intelligence deals precisely with such knowledge that helps to improve all aspects of marketing in contemporary business. Let’s take a closer look at it.
Defining marketing intelligence
The definition of marketing intelligence is related to how we understand marketing in general. Today, marketing refers to a broad set of procedures that help to ensure that a company’s services and products get the necessary positive attention and interactions from consumers. Nowadays, as marketing jumps between the physical realm (i.e., brick and mortar business) and the digital realm (i.e., companies that can only be accessed online), it is becoming increasingly important that businesses begin to integrate their traditional marketing strategies with trending strategies, such as leveraging alternative data and utilizing AI-based tools.
Further, as the above mentioned continues it is vital that marketing intelligence stays on par with current trends surrounding big data and alternative data. Marketing intelligence, often used interchangeably with market intelligence, is an umbrella term defined as all of the information collected and analyzed by a business to retrieve valuable market insights that can help improve decision-making within marketing and consumer-facing business operations.
As such, market intelligence is built on a wide variety of data that informs companies on all aspects of market conditions, such as consumer sentiment, and provides similar business-relevant insights.
The structure of market intelligence
Marketing intelligence is composed of a few different yet related types of information that throw light on the current and foreseeable situation in the markets. The structure of marking intelligence can be explained as follows.
Intelligence on markets
Intelligence on the markets or market intelligence in a narrower sense is all the information about the conditions in a specific market and various market development metrics. When entering a new target market, it’s absolutely necessary as there is little chance of success without a good market penetration strategy. This set of data provides insights into the market trends and opportunities. When the company is already in the market, it reveals market opportunities by highlighting its market share.
Marketing intelligence builds heavily on the understanding of one’s target audience. Knowing who your typical and best clients are, what demographics they belong to, and what opinions they have about you are irreplaceable in giving an idea of how to market for new potential customers. Customer intelligence is also crucial to ensure a great customer experience and, therefore loyalty which is at least as important as marketing for the new potentials.
This is a branch of business intelligence that is especially important when strategizing marketing. Competitive intelligence is concerned with all the data about existing and potential competitors in particular markets and industries. Thus, this part of market intelligence allows knowing which companies offer the same or similar products and services and how they go about it. For example, a competitor’s strengths and weaknesses could show up in firmographic and technographic datasets and ultimately inform a company about competitors and how they are performing.
This type of intelligence is concerned with the products that dominate the markets a particular party is interested in. This information answers questions such as: What sort of products are they? What do people like about them? How do some products measure against others? Is there an already existing market for our product? These, along with many other questions, are answered by utilizing product intelligence data. Companies can then use these insights to clarify the advantages of their product as well as improve any shortcomings.
The importance of marketing intelligence
In the world of big data, it is hard to overstate how crucial high-quality business intelligence is for all branches of a company. Marketing is among the top departments that can benefit from data-based intelligence.
Recent studies have shown that companies using customer analytics are 23 times more likely to succeed in getting new customers. As e-commerce is on a steady rise and predicted to be so for years to come, the value of user-generated alternative data for businesses will only continue to grow.
All this comes down to the fact that marketing research is crucial for successful marketing. There is no more room for guessing in marketing; one has to have good data to reach the consumers quickly.
Methods for collecting market intelligence
There are many ways to gather the data that is needed for high-quality market intelligence. Below are some of the most usual and thus useful types and methods of collecting such data.
Surveys and questionnaires
Surveys involve a set of questions about a particular subject that can be answered in person or through a handful of platforms. Similarly, a questionnaire is such a series of questions asked online or in printed format.
This is the fastest and most cost-effective way to acquire marketing intelligence through surveys. As people spend more time online and usually prefer to give information in such a way, these online surveys are the surest way to get the needed insights without accidentally annoying the customers.
Calling people on the phone for customer intelligence is, of course, not as widespread as it once was, but still in practice. This type of surveying especially helps when gathering information about the senior citizen demographics, as many of them tend to use the internet less than later generations.
Asking for customer feedback in person can be carried out in high pedestrian traffic locations. Naturally, this is not as efficient as other ways of surveying and is more expensive, as more skilled personnel is needed to deal with potential customers in person. However, it has the advantage of showcasing the product in person and getting the first impression.
Polls are similar to surveys; however, they are usually composed of just one question. Since this makes it much easier and less time-consuming to complete, polls, especially online polls, have a much higher response rate than most of the other methods.
The interview may include product demonstrations as well as a comparison of reactions to different products or ideas. It is carried out one-on-one and may take approximately an hour, which provides an opportunity to receive observations and broad clarifications from the interviewee. This is a reliable way to get in-depth information, thus market intelligence that is received by personal interviews is extremely valuable. However, that also makes it the most time-consuming and expensive method of collecting market intelligence.
These are groups of people selected to represent particular kinds of consumers. Depending on the goals of intelligence gathering, focus groups can be made of one particular demographic representing a target audience or be as diverse as possible. The group may watch a presentation or receive an explanation of some ideas before the discussion, or they may simply be presented with a set of questions. Moderator is usually required to ask the questions as well as steer the discussion to ensure that it stays on topic. Focus groups can provide valuable information about consumer sentiment as well as direct insights that boost market intelligence.
This method refers to the limited and targeted release of a particular product to test the response of the clientele in real-time. For example, a soda company might place newly flavored soda in just selected shops to see how well it will sell before its potential wide release. The insights from field trials are improved when the sales are tracked, and customer feedback is gathered.
Sensors refer to all sorts of smart devices that are able to produce and collect data, from smartphones to satellites. They are an important alternative data source in regard to all kinds of business and investment intelligence. Marketing intelligence is no exception, as it can help track customer behavior after particular marketing campaigns, thus allowing to measure the campaign’s success rate.
Finally, as data is one of the most cherished commodities in modern business, naturally, there is a rising number of external sources for it. Thus, companies can find a trustworthy data broker and acquire high-quality external data sets to boost their market intelligence.
Five benefits of marketing intelligence
1. Improved marketing strategies
There are many advantages of conducting market research and investing in marketing intelligence, of which the most obvious is that it simply makes marketing strategies better. It’s hardly disputable that well-informed strategies based on facts and research are more likely to reach their goal than marketing blindly with little to no market understanding.
2. Higher sales conversion rates
Better marketing strategies make the job of the sales team, as well as the customer journey much easier. When equipped with stronger marketing intelligence and high-quality leads, salespeople are able to improve conversion rates significantly.
3. Increased customer retention
Strong market intelligence not only helps to find new customers but drastically improves customer retention. With reliable information about customer preferences, an organization can ensure a top-notch customer experience, which only leaves them wanting to continue more from the brand.
4. Competitive advantage
As marketing intelligence includes competitor analysis, it helps a firm better understand external and internal factors that make some organizations its competitors. Such competitive advantage leads to better business decisions and guarantees that the firm gets its fair market share.
5. A holistic view of the markets
Finally, marketing intelligence leads to a holistic view of the markets. Simply put, this means that after deriving such marketing insights, one can see how very different market events are tightly interconnected. This helps in determining market opportunity and improves the ability to forecast what is likely to come as well as reach one’s target market.
Present developments and future trends
As many current trends in marketing, crucial market intelligence trends are related to technological developments and big data. These developments include the growing role of digital marketing, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many aspects of business and private life to move to the digital world.
Part of this move is seen in the steady increase in the number of social media users. This points toward the likelihood of companies investing even more in social media intelligence. Combined with such sensors as smartphones and other smart devices, social media is expected to be an even more important source for market intelligence than it is today.
The turn towards the digital creates more ways to gather market intelligence and more opportunities for automation. This means that not only marketing but also marketing intelligence itself will be more automated in the future. Collecting and analyzing data will be dedicated to AI-based tools more and more as the capacity of these tools to deal with such tasks keeps growing.
Businesses will also keep investing in developing cloud technology as relocating marketing intelligence systems to the cloud can improve the efficiency and agility of the related procedures.
The business value of high-quality marketing intelligence is already more than obvious. And with the growing capacities of artificial intelligence and constantly increasing volumes of data created per day, it will soon be impossible to talk about marketing without referring to marketing intelligence. The trends are clearly pointing to the fact that business organizations realize and utilize the value of data more and more.
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