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Market Intelligence in the Digital Age: what it is and why invest in it

Data can provide a company with stronger decision-making, which impacts the future of any business.

Information is a very valuable commodity. As the old edict goes, knowledge is power. This is exactly the mindset within the area of market intelligence.

For a long time, entrepreneurs guided their actions and decisions based on instinct and experience. Have you ever thought how difficult it must be to predict trends, analyze scenarios in detail, and gain insights all without data?

Today, every company has an in-depth understanding of the market in which they operate. We have at our disposal a vast universe of information. The real key to strategic decision-making is knowing what to do with all that data. This is achieved, in large part, through market intelligence.

Read on to discover everything you need to know about market intelligence and its relationship with the digital world.

What is market intelligence?

Market intelligence is nothing more than a corporate strategy developed that consists of collecting and analyzing data to gain insights. This data will help build a broader view of possible future problems, anticipating solutions.

Many people tend to limit market intelligence to only competitor analysis. This type of information is called “competitive intelligence.”

Also known as Business Intelligence, market intelligence’s main advantage is getting to know your target audience in more detail. This is the most efficient way to gain an in-depth analysis of your target audience, allowing you to not only win over their wallets but their hearts as well; turning them into brand-promoting customers. 

In addition, it can help to identify the public’s perception of a particular product or service, understand how they view the brand, assess if pricing is coherent, analyze the product’s differentials, monitor the competition, and understand the segment in detail, ranging from problems and trends to players and influencers.

Here are some of the targets that market intelligence strives for:

  1. Market trends, 
  2. Customer relations, 
  3. Public behavior, 
  4. Competitive actions,
  5. Intersection with commercial intelligence.

Market intelligence is the foundation for digital transformation

For a long time, innovation in the market was unidirectional: products and services were developed from a provider’s point of view, and customers adapted to them. 

Today, within the context of digital transformation, the market’s focus has changed. The consumer is at the center of strategies, their needs and desires manifesting what is new in the market.

In this environment, market intelligence and data analysis strategies are even more effective, given the numerous possible applications.

Data: Four Steps to Smarter Business Decisions

At this point, you may be asking yourself: Exactly what data are we talking about?

We can separate existing data into basically two categories: 

  1. Primary data; 
  2. Secondary data. 

Primary data is obtained by methods applied directly by the interested party, such as through questionnaires, surveys, and interviews. 

Secondary data, on the other hand, are obtained through publications and studies previously carried out.

You can extract a variety of information from both forms of data that can help you make the right decision for your business.

1. Define KPIs

The first step in implementing market intelligence is to define key performance indicators or KPIs.

The company must identify data that will help solve business problems. Market research is another essential step in implementing market intelligence and defining the most important KPIs.

2. Organize data 

Even with the correct choice of KPIs, there is still no guarantee that the extracted information will be completely reliable. For this reason, a detailed analysis should be part of data processing and cleaning.

This also means that data must be properly segmented, organized, and filtered:: 

  1. Identify and eliminate duplicate data, 
  2. Standardize, validate, and retrieve information. 

This ensures accurate analysis, as only relevant insights will be considered.

3. Choose tools

After defining KPIs and organizing the data, it’s time to choose the right tools for the job. The good news is that there are a number of tools, a lot of which are free, that can provide the necessary information.

Believe me, choosing software that meets your needs is critical to implement market intelligence within your company. Even more so is calibrating these tools properly and training your employees on how to use them.

4. Draw a strategy

There is no point in collecting data and just leaving it in some organized spreadsheet. In other words: it is not enough to just have the numbers, they must be interpreted. It is also necessary to have a routine for monitoring and analyzing data. 

In this way, you will be able to identify rising and falling trends, seasonal influences, and other important information.

The analysis does not only depend on the chosen KPIs, but are influenced by other factors, including but not limited to:

  1. Company’s operating segment, 
  2. Consumer market, 
  3. Economic scenario,

It is important to adopt an analysis methodology that is compatible with your business segment.

Once the analysis is complete, it’s time to strategize. Based on the information obtained, the company can plan new market intelligence actions, such as:

  1. Correction of failures; 
  2. Predictive analytics; 
  3. Marketing and sales actions; 
  4. Implementation of new features; 
  5. Adaptation of operational processes.

Four tools to help you with your market intelligence

1. Google tools

When talking about data on the internet, it’s impossible not to mention the name of the information giant: Google.

The Data Studio tool is the company’s choice for the Business Intelligence market, working as a complete platform for data analysis and reporting.

In Google Analytics, a website analysis tool, you have access to valuable information that goes far beyond “number of hits per page”. It allows you to analyze the profile and behavior of users with a high level of detail. 

Google Ads Keyword Planner can identify trending words in Google’s search history, enabling a very complete analysis of your audience’s interests.

With Google Trends it is possible to analyze the frequency of these keywords over time. This function is extremely useful, especially if the performance of your business depends on some kind of seasonality. You can even compare different keywords and filter searches by country, state, and city.

2. Microsoft Power BI

One of the most acclaimed Business Intelligence tools, Power BI, is one of the many solutions offered by Microsoft. With the concept of self-service BI, the user creates reports, dashboards, and graphs as they wish.

Among the main features and differentials of Power BI are:

  1. Advanced data visualization;
  2. Real-time and user friendly insight capture;
  3. Freedom in creating campaigns and dashboards; 
  4. Cloud platform, with several integration options; 
  5. Simple and friendly interface.

3. Customer Relationship Management

CRMs or Customer Relationship Management tools provide important data for company market intelligence, especially in the sales and marketing sectors.

The different types of software are capable of detecting the performance of the sales sector and identifying the number of emails sent, messages read, and calls made.

Implementing this tool is a good way to identify the best sales strategy and optimize results.

4. Big Data

If you need to analyze large volumes of structured and unstructured data, Big Data has got you covered.

This method is ideal for large companies that need to perform predictive analytics in order to implement business-relevant actions and meet customer requirements. 

The most used language for this kind of analysis is Python and requires highly complex programming.

Why should your company invest in market intelligence?

As we have seen, market intelligence is an area that relies on gathering and analyzing information to guide strategic decision-making. It can be used in every area of the company, from marketing and sales to R&D. 

Investing in market intelligence is the differential for organizations that use scenario assessment to identify problems, solutions, and to ensure speed in defining actions. 

By anticipating trends, your company not only increases its competitiveness but also adapts more easily to changes and market innovation, increasing productivity and resilience.