These days, businesses are challenged with staying competitive and relevant in an ever-changing market. Competitive advantage becomes a fleeting possibility if organizations don’t consider market and competitive intelligence at every turn.
However, with all the technology available today, the click of a mouse can provide you with the information you require. Finding data about customers, competitors, legislation, and market trends is easier than ever before. But, why do you want to use market and competitive intelligence (MCI) in the first place?
In the book, Gardens of Intelligence, by Gabriel Anderbjörk and Jesper Martell, the advantage of market and competitive intelligence is summarized as follows:
“MCI is about systematically gathering, analyzing, and managing information about your business landscape. It helps drive decisions that improve your competitive advantage.”
As per the authors, it is important that MCI inform management of any upcoming changes in the competitive landscape and to provide them with information about opportunities. This helps the company stay ahead of competitors by anticipating market developments and taking appropriate action. MCI does this by keeping track of the actions of various actors in the market, including customers, partners, suppliers, competitors, and regulators.
Let’s start with the bigger picture. Market intelligence considers everything that happens in the market and has many benefits.
Market intelligence allows companies to get a high-level idea of everything that happens in an industry and the greater market. With the right intelligence platform in place, you should receive information about trends, what customers are doing, and what is necessary to pivot.
A major benefit of market intelligence is the ability to anticipate what could happen in the future. It allows you to identify opportunities, where your business can excel, and threats so that you can mitigate potential risks. Knowing what might happen in the future also allows you to make organizational moves (such as entering a new market segment) at the right time.
You also get to know more about the effects of events such as climate change, inflation, labor changes, and so on. Major local and global events (like the pandemic or wars) also impact businesses but knowing about these makes it easier to react appropriately.
When you generate a business idea, you already have some sense of who may benefit from it or who you would promote it to. Customers are essential to a business because, without them, there is no chance of success.
It’s possible that you don’t know your target customers well or that there are misconceptions about them. Market intelligence can give you a better picture of your target customers, their needs, and what they want from a specific product or service. It also offers upselling opportunities because you have this information.
Another benefit of market intelligence is that it will provide insights into the changing nature of customers’ needs which allows your business to pivot and make the necessary changes to remain relevant. Doing so ensures your organization maintains and improves its revenue and decreases the customer churn rate.
The benefits of competitive intelligence are considered in the next section, but it also forms part of market intelligence.
When curating intelligence, it’s inevitable that you will get information about your competitors’ strategies. You can then adapt your strategy so that it is better than your competitors which allows your business to capture a greater share of the market.
Every company wants to get the most out of its resources, but sometimes, there is poor resource utilization. Market intelligence assists with identifying how resources are used, uncovers areas where resources can be better utilized, and highlights where processes or systems are problematic.
Business leaders can use this information and make the necessary changes that ensure the organization operates efficiently.
Market intelligence informs every part of your business’s strategy, and part of that is where and how you invest your money. It’s always best to house all your internal and external information on an intelligence platform that allows the relevant people to access all the intelligence they need when making executive decisions.
In cases where an opportunity does arise, these individuals can use the intelligence available to determine whether they should invest in it and how much to invest. Similarly, intelligence platforms also provide insights into current expenditures and whether there is resource waste that requires correction.
As you check information, you will also get details about new regulations or laws that may be relevant to your business. Knowing about these changes allows you to react proactively so that your company doesn’t encounter downtime due to non-compliance.
Sometimes, regulators ask for feedback on proposed changes to regulations. With an intelligence platform, you can set up sources of information that tell you about these kinds of events so that you can contribute to the formation of new regulations.
When you receive market intelligence, it also contains details about your suppliers, partner organizations, charities, the wider community, and other stakeholders. The information you receive may tell you more about what is happening with them, and you can react accordingly.
There could be information about stock shortages, economic or environmental events affecting the industry, or charitable initiatives. Your business could choose to support stakeholders in some ways because you had relevant information available.
Now that you know all about the benefits of market intelligence, it’s time to consider the benefits of competitive intelligence.
Competitive intelligence forms part of market intelligence, but it’s more specific to competitors and the market you compete in directly. It includes elements such as competitor analysis, product evaluations, and understanding customers.
A major benefit of competitive intelligence is that you can set goals based on industry standards. It’s possible to set clear key performance indicators (KPIs) for all areas of your business.
Employees can feed performance information into the intelligence platform which allows decision-makers to monitor what’s happening in the organization. You can then compare your business performance with that of competitors, and make the necessary adjustments to improve performance.
You are getting to know your customers already, but your competitors are doing the same thing which is why it’s so important to determine how they are meeting the needs of customers.
An intelligence platform will inform you of what your competitors are doing, their current promotions, and customer sentiment. Checking the websites and social media pages of competitors also provides insights into their activities, products, and services. Evaluating these aspects carefully may reveal how your company compares to competitors and illuminate where you could improve.
The more you know about your competitors, the better you become at predicting what they might do next. Competitive intelligence helps in this regard, as you have competitor information at your fingertips. With these insights and predicted moves, you can plan your business strategy to keep the playing field level. Preferably, you should use competitor intelligence to overtake your competitors by offering better deals and service than your competitors.
Another benefit of competitive intelligence is the ability to improve and refine your current marketing strategy. Every business has its share of the market, and the bigger intention is always to capture a greater market share.
As you learn more about your competitors and customers, you start to adapt your business’s marketing strategy to appeal more to customers. Once you start doing this, you carve a niche for your brand and can meet customer needs better.
Similarly, talking to customers (both yours and your competitors’) gives you insight into what customers think about your brand compared to competitors. Capturing customer sentiment also makes it easier for you to adapt marketing strategies so that customers consider your business favorably.
Throughout this article, intelligence platforms have been mentioned several times. An intelligence platform, like Intelligence2day®, allows businesses to get the most out of internal and external information.
In most cases, intelligence platforms are part of a larger market and competitive intelligence program. Turning to Gardens of Intelligence again, it’s clear that such a program has nine deliverables:
It’s much easier to use this kind of platform than to find and sort through information manually. Intelligence platforms save time and money because they automatically pull information from various sources, curate it, and send this intelligence to relevant people.
It does take some time to set up an account, but this time investment is extremely small in comparison to the benefits a business gets from it. Over the long term, employees will learn to add information, customize the platform, and find information more easily which ensures they can make decisions that benefit the entire organization.
Market and competitive intelligence is a critical resource that provides guidance to decision-makers at all levels in an organization.
Intelligence platforms collect, analyze, and disseminate information about the industry, business units, customers, competitors, and much more which allows employees to get a holistic view of what can and cannot work.
When a business uses this intelligence optimally, they achieve a competitive advantage, improve efficiency, and work in ways that benefit the entire organization.
Do you want to know more about Intelligence2day®? Contact us today for assistance.