Market intelligence is the gathering of information surrounding a brand’s markets.

This is collected and analyzed to drive better decision-making and to guide competitive strategy around market opportunity, penetration and development.

But what kind of competitive intelligence do you really need to make it work for you?

What is Market Intelligence & Competitive Intelligence?

Market intelligence draws on numerous external and internal sources of information to paint an accurate portrait of your existing or prospective market, customers, challenges and the growth potential for new products and services via your business strategy.

It answers questions and helps you gather information about where you should invest more resource and which markets or channels could work for you.

This information can be used by businesses in a number of ways including:

  •  Growing their presence in an existing market.
  •  Entering a new market.
  •  Minimizing the risk of an investment decision.
  •  Establishing a stronger (or new) brand.
  • Developing a new product.

Ultimately, while market intelligence may work in various ways for different companies, its purpose is to help a company grow, whether through increased revenue, profit or market share, as well as understanding the competitor market.

Tailoring Market Intelligence to Your Business

Your specific objectives will determine how you approach competitor analysis and market intelligence.

A brand looking to improve its NPS (Net Promoter Score), for example, might focus largely on gathering strategic market intelligence relating specifically to customer satisfaction.

This might include feedback from social media, or from existing and potential customers as well as consumer-facing staff such as customer service or in-store, but the analysis and use of audience profiling data is where it’s brought to life, so that marketing teams and decision-makers in the company can identify additional opportunities for growth.

By tapping into in-depth data that quantifies consumer needs, expectations and satisfaction levels in the wider market, you can fine-tune your competitive intelligence activities to your audience.

How Airbnb used Market Insights to Grow its UK Business

In 2011, when Airbnb wanted to open an office in London in order to grow its UK and Europe business, three years after launching in the United States, the online accommodation provider needed to make quick, accurate decisions to capitalize on the fast-moving market and harness the momentum it had built elsewhere.

Together with London & Partners, the teams gathered competitive environment information and market intelligence into London’s tourism landscape, visitor numbers and trends – made more pertinent by the imminence of the London 2012 Olympics.

Airbnb used this to set up their strategy, setting up a temporary London office in 2011 and moved to a permanent base in Tech City, London’s hi-tech cluster, in early 2012.

It grew its UK business by 748% and by summer 2012 it was listing more than 10,000 London properties.  

According to Christopher Lukezic, Director of Marketing and Communications EMEA, Airbnb, strong insight enabled the company to “make informed and sound decisions in regards to the UK market.”

Data insights and competitive intelligence continue to become a bigger part of both new business and corporate strategy across a wide range of brands and sectors.

Market Intelligence vs. Market Research

Market intelligence is synonymous with market research in that it relates to the gathering, recording, analysis and interpretation of actionable information about a company’s markets and the people within.

But some key differences separate the two.

Competitive intelligence is existing information and data widely available for brands to better understand the markets, competition and landscape surrounding their target audiences.

Marketing research, on the other hand, means taking a deeper look into the consumers at the core of this market, and the trends that set them apart.

As our Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Research explains, smart brands rely on accurate, up-to-date research analysis to guide their activity, helping them to reach the right audience, with the right message, at the right time.

Could Market Intelligence have Helped Blackberry?

The competitive advantages afforded by market intelligence are manifold, and the risks of not investing in such data can be huge – particularly in the fast-moving technology sector.

Take Blackberry for example – a brand that was selling 50 million phones a year in 2011, differentiated by the small QWERTY keyboards featured on its handsets.

With Apple and Android leading the touchscreen revolution, Blackberry failed to anticipate the shift in consumer behaviors, continuing to manufacture handsets with keyboards.

By the time it responded to the competitive landscape changes, it was too late.

Could better competitive market intelligence analysis have enabled the brand to stay in its competitive position, one step ahead of the fast-moving industry, anticipating and responding to this trend in the right way, at the right time?

Don’t just tick the box, live it.

Market intelligence is a powerful and necessary box for every business to tick, but it’s more than just a one-off task for gathering competitive information.

This should be an ongoing activity, one that’s continuously complemented with robust consumer insights, enabling businesses to keep their finger firmly on the pulse, and make the best decisions for their business moving forward, as well as get early warning on any issues overall in the market or competitive landscape.

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