Market intelligence is simply , data or information gathered from the market in which the business operates in order to make informed business decisions . This data allows the business to gain insights into what is currently happening in the market in terms of :trends , customer behaviors and preferences , emergence of new technologies , pricing strategies and any other supporting information that could help businesses by guiding them.
For example : A car company’s growth has been stagnant for quite some time . The senior management wants to understand the reasons for this state and identify areas where the company can improve to prevent any such hindrances in the future . In such a case , the company in question can gather market intelligence and seek answers to questions such as : Has the growth of all the other companies in the market been affected in the same manner ? if not , what are they doing differently ? , Why is It that customers aren’t interested in buying cars ? and How do the customers rate the company in terms of service , pricing , design , features , appeal etc. . Getting answers to such questions can allow the company to channelize their resources towards their weaknesses and rise from the current situation they are in.
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Business intelligence is an inward approach to gathering information . Organizations looking to measure their progress towards their objectives use business intelligence to update themselves on sales, revenue , employee performance , departmental contributions etc . This helps them assess how their business is performing and identifies weak points which can be improved to increase business efficiency .
On the other hand , market intelligence is an outward approach to data collection wherein it gathers information on organization’s functioning on a macro perspective by analyzing trends and practices prevalent in the industry . This makes companies aware about competition , product preferences and updated technology which acts as additional information for business decision making .
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Market intelligence has an important role to play as it consists of various forces which are beyond the company’s control but affect its functioning in numerous ways . It is ,thus, important for a business to be aware of all the external factors that can as an influence over its business’ functioning. Any good market intelligence complements the organization’s internal awareness and allows them to decide upon product launches , advertisement campaigns , pricing strategies , offers and incentives and many other important business decisions that can make or break businesses . This not only applies to big brands which control majority of the market share , but even small brands trying to make a name for themselves can be better equipped to handle situations through a complete analysis of the markets they wish to grow in .
Understanding customers: Customers are the blocks on which the brand makes a name for themselves . A brand can only succeed as long as the customers continue to support their endeavors and projects . Thus , it is important to keep the customers needs and demands at the forefront of every business decision . For this to happen , brands need an understanding of the customer preferences and choices . This information is supplied by gaining market intelligence which displays the products and services which are gathering consumer interest in the current scenario . Conducting an analysis of the market also help brands decide which market will they be catering to in terms of income group , age , usage etc and accordingly shape their products to suit the buyers requirements .
Comprehensive market analysis : Market intelligence covers all the functions relating to the business and evaluates how these functions are being performed by other brand within the industry . This allows brands to identify better practices prevailing in the market and can allow them to upgrade current methods and adapt themselves towards better standards . for example : Coca cola used business intelligence to automate sales and operations data that allowed them to save time and optimize employee skills. Coca cola was facing the problem of delay in access to real time sales which could lead to customer dissatisfaction. This was fixed due to their market intelligence that resulted in savings of 260 hours a year .
This feature of market analysis makes sure that company practices don’t go obsolete and that business inefficiency does not impact company performance .
Competitive analysis : Businesses need to stay updated in terms of their market position as against their competitors . Competitors include both new entrants as well as well established names in the industry which can harm the functioning of your business . Companies should be aware about other brand’s strategies and products to prepare themselves for any threats . Businesses also require this data to make important decisions regarding their own product launches , pricing , target market , incentives and offers as it puts them on a stronger footing and defies competition. It also provides the brand with a breakdown of market share , sales and revenue . For example : Apple stands at the number 1 position when it comes to smartphones in USA with 61.07% market share but is the second largest smartphone company , globally, with a market share of 26.91% following Samsung which has a market share of 29.14% .
Product analysis : Market intelligence reveals the ability of a brands product to suit what the customer is looking for . Basically , this tells the brand the customer’s likeliness to choose the brands product when customer is given the option to buy from a range of brands with different pricing and deals . The brands can interview or survey these customers to understand what made the customer buy or not buy the product offered by the brand , what they looked for or any expectation which wasn’t met by any of the displayed brands. This kind of information can act as valuable input for brands to improve their offerings by fine-tuning them to the customers requirements.
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Companies can choose from a wide variety of tools for gathering market intelligence depending on convenience , costs , reliability , manpower etc . Companies should analyze each of these aspects before choosing any tool and check the feasibility of implementing it . Furthermore , they should define the study /research purpose thoroughly and seek maximum opinions to avoid any mistakes .
This is a method of data collection that seeks to gather market intelligence by allowing respondents to answer pre-designed questions that allow companies to gather relevant data . These can be conducted online , in-person and via telephone . Online and telephonic surveys make it easier to gather data from a large number of people without restricting themselves to geographical boundaries which helps in eliminating sampling bias and makes the data collected more accurate . Voxco’s phone survey systems provide advanced design capabilities for suvey design along with enhanced call efficiency and current technology to ensure best output and greater control for the researcher.
In-person surveys on the other hand , add a personal touch to the data collection process and also allow researchers to study the expressions of the respondents which acts as an added benefit. Furthermore , any doubts or ambiguity related to the survey questions can be clarified which helps in improving the quality of data . Surveys are a great way of analyzing respondents from various backgrounds, age groups and income groups and gather their opinions on matters that are important for brand awareness .
Designing a questionnaire : This is the first and most important step for conducting an efficient survey .The key is to include maximum relevant questions without extending the length of the questionnaire . Questionnaires that are too long , often discourage respondents from completing . It is also essential for the researcher to choose an online software that offers them customizable tools to offer variety to respondents and improves response rates .Voxco’s engaging questionnaire functionality and easy to use questionnaire toolbox allows the interviewer to experiment with multiple options and decide upon what suits them best .
Distribution strategy : Researchers should identify various distribution channels to increase accessibility . Email invitations , website pop ups , social media and SMS invites are some of the ways to communicate to the respondents . . Researchers should also keep in mind the response generation rate of each of these mediums and prioritize them accordingly. Invites allow researchers to communicate the arrival of questionnaires within a certain time period and can generate quick responses. Real time participation monitoring should also take place to study the completion , drop outs and screen outs to evaluate efficiency of survey respondents and average time taken by respondents to complete the questionnaire.
For example : Apple uses an online community of Apple product users called the ‘Apple customer pulse panel ‘ to gain insights into matters and subjects related to Apple by supplying the members with a survey twice a month . This allows them to gain quick responses and compile results faster and act accordingly.
Compilation of results: Correct statistical and data analysis methods need to be used to make sense of the survey results by properly charting and evaluating collected data . Using appropriate software tools , companies should be able to access such analysis on a real time basis and update them as response rate goes up . Companies should list out key findings generated as a result of the survey which can be later used as input along with internal business information.
Personal interviews are a method of gathering market intelligence that allows researchers to gain in-depth knowledge about subjects relevant for the brand . This method can be used to gather individual point of views on aspects such as preferred features , appropriate price ranges , package appeal , usage habits , after sales experience etc . This also allows the researchers to add a personal touch to the whole process by understanding the respondents mindset . Moreover , the researchers can also ask respondents to elaborate on certain answers they feel have a greater relevance and can even put up follow up questions to gain additional insights . However , personal interviews carry the drawback of being cost ineffective and time consuming . interviewing respondents one by one may lead to a long drawn out process and requires hiring a professional . It can also lead to sampling bias as the respondents may not represent the target population due to their restricted numbers .
These are groups of people selected meticulously as per the researcher’s requirement to discuss and deliberate about the questions put forth by the researcher. Moderators usually put forth scenarios and arguments on which the selected respondents express their viewpoints . The discussions arising out of these focus groups helps in proving insights into customer behavior. Conducting these focus groups online through apps such as Zoom also offer the added benefit of conducting polls and offers researchers wider reach. For example : A brands seeks to understand household buying habits through focus groups tries to incorporate working men and women , teenagers , elders , housewives etc as respondents and look at how they decide to buy a certain brand and in what quantity. Housewives try to keep in mind the budgetary restrictions while trying to buy all items while teenagers tend to be more lavish with their spending. This types of information allows brands to identify their target market and accordingly alter their features to suit the markets they wish to serve .
Brands can conduct sample sales to understand market acceptance of their products before launching them . These products can be placed at certain outlets and customer behavior towards these products can be analyzed . This gives brands an idea of what the market approach to their products will be like . Customer queries before buying can be studied to understand the parameters that customers evaluate the product upon .
For example : Adidas and Costco conduct sample sales with the aim of gaining customer loyalty and increasing short term sales . This allows customers to engage in buying more than they planned to and sometimes leads to customers trying new things . This alone contributes to increased sales. This also assists in testing product before launching to test the market pulse and the need for any changes.
This perhaps , is the most important step in collecting market intelligence. Examining and presenting data allows the researcher to fram and summarize collected data in a manner that aids understanding . This summary is then used by stakeholders and senior management to evaluate and approve major decisions . Advanced analytical tools such linear regression, ordered logistic regression factor analysis, custom r scripts, hypothesis testing and many more are used to compile research data . These data analysis tools are decided upon after taking the data types into consideration: descriptive , quantitative , qualitative , parametrical , non-parametrical etc . Charting such results into scatter plots , bar diagrams ,donuts ,pie charts , gauge and more helps in deeper understanding and provides visual aid .It is very important to select the appropriate tool for evaluating research data and summarize it in a concise and concrete manner , otherwise , the whole research ideation and conduction process goes to waste .