Competitive intelligence is a comprehensive process of gathering data, binding it to develop information, and using this information to generate intelligence. This intelligence is use in the decision-making process by business executives and stakeholders. It has allowed companies to generate value and advantage over one another.
Hence, in competition, businesses and companies are able to cover major gaps in the market making their institutions even stronger. It is a tool that has enabled businesses to transform by improving their methods and using new strategies which are more effective in achieving business goals and objectives.
Competitive intelligence has not only influenced decision making but also improves activities and practices in business. For example, having a command over relevant information and data gather through the process of competitive intelligence would improve sales pitch.
Competitive intelligence has also improved processes like Marketing. Marketing is the process through which businesses fulfill the needs and wants of customers. Of Course this process starts by doing your company’s internal analysis. Hence the company may identify their strengths and weaknesses.
Then using competitive intelligence analysis data is collected. So that company can identify opportunities and threats posing to the business. In order for a company to be able to identify opportunities and threats, they must conduct research in the market. This way businesses have an understanding of the market in relation to their own strengths and weaknesses.
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Understanding Market Research
Market research can be done using various methods. There are 2 types of research, quantitative and qualitative research in marketing.
Quantitative research as the name suggests is analyzing numerical data in order to generate information. When conducting quantitative research, phenomena like behavioral changes which cannot be measure are observe in relation to quantifiable variables. Then this data is collect and use to do quantitative analysis.
Quantitative analysis is conducted using tools like SPSS (statistical package for social sciences). Earlier statistical techniques were used in order to analyze data. This was however a long process and had greater margin of error as the calculations were done by humans. The advent of use of software in statistics has made quantitative analysis much easier.
Qualitative analysis is simply making sense of non-numerical data. Qualitative analysis is done by using focus groups, case study, open ended forms and interviews. This allows more focused and detailed analysis and unlike quantitative data analysis this has more context involved. Qualitative analysis has some advantages as it allows room for more observations relevant and useful for business and market understanding. Qualitative analysis allows researchers to understand more complex variables as in quantitative they are simply represented by a number.
Difference between Market Research and Market Intelligence
However, Market Intelligence is not the same as Market research. They may use similar techniques however market intelligence is much more comprehensive and detailed. If market research answers the question of what and when then market intelligence answers the question of how and why.
So, market intelligence provides detailed insights related to the market and competitors.
Marketing intelligence includes competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is simply the positive or unfair advantage that a business has over its competitor. Analyzing competitors’ tactics and their data allows businesses to develop an understanding about the limitations of their competitors. Once you are able to understand their limitations you can develop strategies to overcome their weaknesses and offer products that they cannot offer.
Marketing intelligence also includes product intelligence. Product intelligence is the process of gathering information to develop insights about product performance and its demand. When a business wants to launch a product, they must understand the demand of customers. The product must fulfill these demands in order to be successful. Product intelligence provides businesses the ability to identify and meet those demands in order to do business properly. Product intelligence uses interviews of consumers, secondary data, surveys and forms in order to develop insight about specific needs in the market.
Marketing intelligence also includes marketing understanding. Here marketing is the place where customers meet products and services provided by the business . Market intelligence uses data collected through various means in order to develop an understanding of the marketplace. Now you may develop insights to what marketing tactics are to be use in order to achieve maximum success. Businesses may develop new marketing channels, improve branding and develop new ways to reach the customer.
Marketing Intelligence also includes consumer understanding. Customer satisfaction is one of the major objectives of marketing as it ensures customer loyalty. Gaining customers is a difficult task hence business focus on retaining customers by providing them products and services that fulfill customer demands. However, how these products and services are execute is also a huge part of customer experience. Marketing Intelligence uses data to highlight customers preferences and use that to improve customer experience.
Types of Market Intelligence
There are several types of Marketing Intelligence. Some of them have been discuss above and some we will discuss now. Starting from Focus groups, these are groups of people select from a relevant sample. These groups are then allow to discuss relevant information while being observe. As these discussions progresses key points relate to market and objectives are highlight and used to develop intelligence.
Mail surveys are another method to gather information. This may be consider an old-fashioned practice. However, it is very useful in gathering information from a large group. Furthermore, it is a handy and easy to conduct method of gathering information.
Field trials are another method used to develop Marketing intelligence. They are practical tests of products and services in order to test their performance and are usually small scale and then the performance is studied. Field trials usually target a particular demographic or location. Field trials can also be disguise as promotional campaigns. Trial products and services can be present as limited time exclusive products to attract customers.
These are multiple methods of marketing intelligence. Marketing intelligence is a comprehensive and structured process. Hence it has been developing and improving with the latest technologies and software.