Information about a business‘s customers, competition, growth potential and existing market, are all examples of the broad concept of market intelligence. Market intelligence is any existing information available, which helps a business to better understand the markets and landscape surrounding their target audiences. Such data can be extracted using various online tools, statistics and data scraping services.
Market intelligence can be utilized by a business in a number of ways including when:
- Entering a new market;
- Expanding market share;
- Meeting and responding to consumer expectations;
- Establishing a new brand;
- Developing a product; and
- Entering into an investment.
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Tools of the Trade
Keeping track of market intelligence data can become time-consuming and difficult for smaller companies. Online tools and data scraping services are therefore great options to assist you in the gathering, storing and analysing market intelligence data.
For example, advanced data scraping programs can be programmed to detect website changes, so you will know immediately when your competitors lower their prices or launch a new product. When employed correctly, web scraping can also extract key data that will help you make better marketing and financial decisions. With this real-time information you can modify your own pricing and business decisions, to reflect the current market. Taking up a marketing degree will also help you get updated of the latest strategies and trends in the market.
Faster reaction times to unforeseen complications helps maintain consistency in your supply chain, and increases reliability across your operations. If your business relies on operations or a suppliers inventory, the smallest disruptions can have devastating impacts on your business.
Your entire operation needs to be a well-oiled machine in order to achieve success. Market intelligence provides alerts to changes in your suppliers’ businesses in real-time, giving you an early warning of any disruptions that might require a fast reaction or an alternative solution. It can also expose weaknesses in your business setup, that may expose you to issues and disruptions in the future.
The Competitive Edge
The competitive advantages afforded by market intelligence are diverse. Competitive intelligence and analysis, have enable businesses to anticipate and respond to trends and market down-turns, while staying one step ahead of their competitors and the fast-paced industry.
Monitoring the strategies of your competitors, including their products, pricing and overall growth, are key processes involved in competitive market intelligence. It can also involve improving your SEO, by extracting data from competitive websites that have ranked higher in search engine results. These insights make gathering market intelligence the most crucial element of business prosperity, in a highly competitive environment.
Progressive companies are advancing supply chain planning using market intelligence. Market intelligence can provide early warnings and unique insights into events that are likely to occur, providing insights for assessing alternative suppliers and approaches. This is vital when developing a business interruption plan.
Risk management initiatives also utilize market intelligence when understanding events that may impact insurance, liability, contracts and compliance. Using market intelligence you can identify your business vulnerabilities and therefore plan and insure yourself accordingly.
When determining customer attitudes towards a new product or service, its best to go directly to the source. Social media provides companies with actionable insights into the mood of the market, customer details and suggestions for product or service improvements.
This form of market intelligence can also monitor your businesses online reputation, as part of your PR and communications strategies. This allows companies to be alert to negative comments or problems that are published on social media.
Market intelligence is an ongoing and constantly evolving activity. Developing actionable data in relation to consumer insights, the health of your business and the movements of you competitors; is key in enabling you to keep your finger firmly on the pulse, and make the best decisions available for your business.