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If market intelligence feels like one of those buzzwords you should know the ins and outs of but don’t, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll run you through a definition of market intelligence, why it’s important, what it’s used for, and an example of how it helped a brand develop a leading product.

What is market intelligence?

Market intelligence is essentially the act of gathering information about a specific industry, analyzing that information, then using it to support decisions.

When collecting market intelligence, brands will look at things like market size, customer preferences, competitor analysis, and industry trends. To make things especially confusing, it’s also referred to as marketing intelligence and competitive intelligence. 

Why is market intelligence important? 

Without great data, you can’t make great decisions. Market intelligence arms you with the background – and granular detail – you need to help your product or brand land with the right people. 

What is market intelligence used for?

Forward-thinking brands will view market intelligence as a staple behind their strategies, using it to: 

1. Make better decisions

Brands can use market intelligence to decide if they should launch in a new country, how they should innovate their existing products – or decide which new ones to launch, or map out their pricing strategies.

2. Understand their audience

Market intelligence is a crucial part of getting to grips with your customers – from preferences to pain points, these insights will inform go-to-market messaging, help brands live up to their customers’ expectations, identify new partnership opportunities, and nail creative campaigns that really resonate with their target audience.

3. Competitor analysis

Every brand is guilty of checking up on what its competitors are doing, and while sometimes it’s better to focus on the path ahead of you, it can be a useful point of reference. Whether it’s used for benchmarking purposes or SWOT analysis, market intelligence can help guide your brand’s strategy and inform how you can differentiate yourself. 

4. Spotting trends

We know a thing or two about identifying market trends, and every brand ought to be following changing consumer habits like a hawk. For example, a growing number of consumers are going sober, and there’s been a 44% increase in Gen Zs who have quit drinking over the course of 2022. For drinks brands, that’s a key insight – one that might inspire a new line of bottled mocktails targeted toward consumers in their early 20s.

5. Reducing risk

Mixing things up can be risky business, especially when spurred on by a gut feeling. Now don’t get us wrong – a hunch can be a seriously good sign to do something. But it’s got to be guided by seriously good data, too. For example, if you think consumers are all about DIY home improvements right now because you’ve seen it trending on TikTok, consumer data might tell you otherwise.

In fact, since Q4 2021 there has been a 13% decrease in homeowners planning to renovate their homes. Rather than thinking you’re doing the right thing for your brand, why not know for sure? Market intelligence does just that. It’s a proactive approach to risk mitigation.

Essentially, market intelligence allows you to lean on more than just a hunch. It validates your strategic decisions, reduces your room for error, and lays the right foundation for targeted growth. 

What’s the difference between market intelligence and 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 market. But there’s a key difference that separates the two. Market intelligence is usually made up of existing information – and widely available data – to help brands better understand the competitive landscape in which they operate. 

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

Smart brands rely on both – constantly leaning on up-to-date research to guide their business decisions and reach the right audience with the right message, at the right time. But the two do have major crossover points, and market research is an incredibly important part of market intelligence. 

Here’s an example. If an international beverage company wanted to launch a new drink in a new country, it would first get a lay of the land with market intelligence. It might do some competitor analysis to understand who the most prominent brands are or carry out a market mapping exercise to spot a gap in the market. It might size up its total addressable market (TAM) to figure out how much money it could make by selling its products in that specific country. 

And then, once it’s got a really good picture nailed down, it would use market research – or audience insights – to color in the blanks. 

For CPG brands, the right market research allows you to step inside the minds of consumers in your new market, and understand what motivates local shoppers to keep coming back again and again.

In doing so, you’ll be able to:

  • Ace product development
  • Expand into new markets
  • Create more targeted ads
  • Secure that competitive edge
  • Drive consumer engagement

Market intelligence in the real world: shaping a leading product

Indie agency BCM wanted to help a key client craft a new product. The mission was to create a leadership course designed for C-suites. But as they got to work, they realised they were missing a key component – market intelligence. 

So, they ran a custom study with us. According to BCM, “The aim of this was to better understand the size of the market, its needs, desires and motivations – and to create a program that was really fit for purpose.”

The results were super insightful, and helped them develop a leading course based on what their target audience actually wanted – not what BCM thought they wanted.

When they boiled the results down, the custom study flagged that they were speaking to two separate cohorts – those that aspired to be C-suite professionals, and those who didn’t – but valued professional development. BCM was able to understand the motivations of the former group – such as how adventurous they are, the extent to which they prioritize their family, and how confident they feel about their abilities. 

The latter were actually a group to avoid, because their motivations lay outside of the purpose of the proposed QUTeX course.

The outcome? “It enabled us to get into the data fast, and dig deep to build the intelligence we needed. Crucially, the segments we found were distinctive and actionable.”

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