90% of businesses report that their industry has become more competitive in the last three years, and 48% say it has become much more competitive. Large enterprises face the most competitors, but businesses of all sizes have seen an increase in the number of competitors year over year, with the average climbing from 25 competitors to 29, according to a recent study. This increasing competition can be attributed to the growing adoption of technology by almost every industry, as well as the disruptions and the ever-changing market dynamics brought about by it. As a result, organizations regularly need to collect, analyze and distribute data on their market, competitors and customers in order to maintain their competitive edge. Neglecting to do that will likely result in your organization missing key insights on your market and competitors, inability to make informed business decisions, not being able to meet customer expectations, missing business opportunities, business sales plummeting, and inevitably, loss of market share.
This is why market intelligence is essential in present times. It leads to better business decisions, helps your organization act faster than your competitors, and react more efficiently to dynamic customers’ needs, thus making your business more informed and competitively intelligent. In this article, let us understand what market intelligence is, how it can help your business, and why a market intelligence solution is the best way to gather market and competitive intelligence. Let’s go!
Market Intelligence – An Overview
Going by definition, Market Intelligence (MI) is the systematic collection, analysis and distribution of information about products, customers, competitors, and other external market factors, from multiple sources. The objective of market intelligence is to draw insights that provide only actionable information, i.e. information that contributes to your business’s competitive advantage. It lets an organization gain a comprehensive understanding of its competitors, the state of its industry, market conditions, and the changing consumer landscape as a whole, thus granting them a desirable advantage in the market.
Marketing intelligence is invaluable, as it gives your company a foundation to base all of its decisions. Although each organization uses market intelligence differently, here are some common benefits of market intelligence:
- Provides insights into a business’s target audience, its growth potential, market opportunity, competitor analysis as well as other future goals
- Divulges how you fare against your direct or indirect competitors
- Helps you anticipate what lies ahead. It guides your business’s decision-making by cutting through the noise out there in the market
- Expedites strategizing around the competitive landscape, the target market, customer trends, and specific buyer personas
- Aids in the improvement of your company’s position by helping invest in the right projects and avoiding losses
- Assists planning the launch of new products and/or services
Why Are Market Intelligence Solutions The Best Way To Gather Market Intelligence?
Although there are a number of ways organizations can collect market intelligence such as surveys, polls, focus groups, field trials, social media listening, manual research, and expert interviews, most of these methods are either cost-intensive, time-intensive, resource-intensive or all three. It is well-known that primary research methods require effort and money, and secondary research, when done manually, is often inefficient and prone to errors due to vast amounts of data available on the internet, most of which is noise. Thus, market intelligence solutions stand apart from these methods, due to its ability to automate collection of intelligence, aiding in easy visualization and analysis of this intelligence, and distributing this intelligence to various stakeholders in a format that they prefer.
Market intelligence solutions like Contify collect intelligence from publicly available sources, such as news, blogs, company websites, social media, internet forums, trade and industry reports, regulatory portals, information databases, press releases, review sites, etc. They also provide a centralized repository for intelligence which can be accessed by every department of an organization, and also as a collaboration and sharing tool. In addition, their platform has a disambiguation capability, i.e. the platform is able to identify the context of a search term in case:
- The company/person name is the same as some other thing e.g. apple, the fruit vs. Apple, the company.
- The company/person name is a pronoun e.g. radius
- The company/person name has many variations in press e.g. PWC or Price Water cooper house or price water cooperhouse or price water- cooperhouse.
- Similarly named companies producing junks.
How To Choose The Best Market Intelligence Solution For Your Organization
There are a number of different market intelligence platforms, tools and software in the market these days. Each has varying features, each touting itself to be the best. However, a comprehensive market intelligence solution should have features that help automate routine market and competitive intelligence tasks, streamline analyst workflows, and save time spent on manual research and information processing, while also enabling efficient distribution of personalized intelligence in different formats across the organization. Here is an example of the features a one stop market intelligence platform should have:
- Personalized News Feeds: A continuous stream of the latest updates on your target markets to help you discover intelligence relevant to your organization using smart filters.
- Intelligence Newsletters: Personalized alerts on competitors, suppliers, partners, customers, and industry topics.
- Intelligent Dashboards: To help graphically visualize information and spot trends, and import your data to create informative and engaging charts.
- Taxonomy Builder: To categorize and tag sourced intelligence based on how your business is organized.
- User Management: To grant or restrict access to modules and knowledge areas for your users and teams as you see fit.
- User Analytics: To understand and analyze the consumption of intelligence by tracking user metrics across the organization.
- Sourcing Manager: To add custom sources using a built-in sourcing module and manage all active sources in a single view.
- API Integrations: To integrate intelligence from your markets into your intranet portals, ERP, CRM, and KM systems.
- White-labelling: To customize the platform with your brand’s logo, color palette, and visual design language.
All of these features can be found in Contify, a cutting-edge market and competitive intelligence platform. If you’re looking for a distinct competitive advantage in the market, these are the features you should be after.
Market intelligence solutions have found their way into the daily operations of most large organizations (90% of Fortune 500 companies), and medium or small organizations are following suit. After all, in this highly-competitive business environment, it is important for an organization to be aware of all the external factors that can have an influence over its business’ functioning. Any good market intelligence solution complements the organization’s internal awareness and allows them to decide upon product launches, advertisement campaigns, pricing strategies, offers and incentives and other important strategic business decisions that can make or break a business. Thus, being without a market intelligence solution in this day and age is like coming unarmed to a gunfight. Your competitors have probably armed themselves, when will you?