Understanding Market Intelligence

In a competitive, global world that is increasingly getting more and more complex, developing and implementing a plan or a strategy without understanding external market dynamics is like driving a car blindfolded. Yet so many companies, even though they spend a great deal of money gathering competitive data, are not interpreting it properly and are essentially “driving blind”, merely hoping their strategies will work when they’re implemented out in the wild.

Getting valuable competitive insight that you can actively use is directly with the way you collect data and the way you’ll interpret and implement it.

There are many sub-categories of Competitive Intelligence, such as Competitive Technical Intelligence, Economic Intelligence, Customer Intelligence etc., but Market Intelligence is the most challenging and the most rewarding of all.

Today, businesses operate in a world in which most information is publicly available, and ready for you to harvest it. Thanks to the development of the internet; information on market trends, suppliers, distributors, competitors, legislation and probably every other topic relevant to success is just a click away, easy to find, accurate and learn from.

However, it is well known that the most valuable information is that which you cannot find online, and a primary example of this is Market Intelligence, regarded by many as the most challenging type of information to acquire.


What Is Market Intelligence?

Source: Wikipedia

Market Intelligence can be used to assist with almost every decision a company faces. The purpose of most market intelligence research, however, is to help a company grow – to increase profit, revenue, or market share. Well executed market intelligence research which has been correctly interpreted, can have a huge ROI.


Although there are many specific use cases for Market Intelligence, here are the most common ones:



Making Market Intelligence Work For You

In order to gather information that will fit the above-mentioned use-cases, proper studies need to be conducted.


Market entry and market expansion studies can provide the necessary intelligence needed when entering a new market or expanding an existing market presence. Information is usually gathered from conversations with industry experts, intermediaries, buyers, and competitors.


Acquisition studies are crucial to conduct on an acquisition target and, as above, are usually conducted through interactions and conversations with those targets, their customers, their competitors, and experts in their field.


Competitor insight studies are probably the most expensive ones, and are conducted by analysing press clippings, pricing and competitive pricing research, interviews with competitors, customers and other market players. Another part has been added in the recent years, and this is online research (especially company websites).


If a company already has a market presence and is seeking to differentiate itself, studies such as customer satisfaction, corporate positioning and segmentation studies are suggested.

Even though it may be challenging to measure the ROI of Market Intelligence, it is clear that its potentially high price reflects its many benefits.

If you look at it from the perspective of market entry intelligence studies, which are a basis on which huge investments are often made (or avoided), you can understand why they are the highest priced ones. But whether you choose to do a study on your own, or decide to hire a professional, here is some advice to help you ensure your market intelligence ROI is as high as possible.


Clearly define the objectives at the beginning- Studies that are too broad in scope rarely obtain the detail necessary to fully understand and interpret the data.

Do the results make sense? If you have used a good supplier, the results will definitely pass the common sense test.

There’s a difference between what and how. If you would like to enter a market, you will need to know its fundamentals in order to define what to do (such as market size and growth, and the barriers and incentives to entry). How to do it is based on the detail: distributor profiles, promotional messages, talent availability - a good researcher will provide both the ‘what’ and the ‘how’

Choose a contractor that knows the job: Experience in the desired and/or closely related to the industries is needed, but don’t forget the knowledge of the target countries. Understanding how the specific requirements and interpretations in countries of interest can dramatically affect the progression and success of your project.

Use your own network

If you already have your own ecosystem of professionals which are acquainted with your target market, this is an untapped resource that many companies forget to benefit from. These people might be your employees working for the local market you wish to expand to, or independent experts that are a part of your ecosystem of professionals as well. They could report their observations and help integrate invaluable human experience with data analytics, which will enable faster time to market.

Understand the value each type of intelligence brings. Competitor insight is only one type of market intelligence, but although it may be considered as the most important one, other types of study can be just as beneficial.


Want to learn more? Consider becoming a member of SCIP, the Society of Competitive Intelligence where our Founder and Chairman just gave a keynote about using Intelligence for Social Good. Send us an email to contact@tallyfox.com and we'll send you a copy.



Thanks for putting together some information about market intelligence. I didn't realize that it can be used to assist with so many different issues and decisions that a company faces. When running a business, it seems like it would be very smart to work with someone who has extensive knowledge about your industry. I would think that is the best way to ensure your success as a company.

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