In an era of Big Data, business intelligence has sprouted up as being the solution to help companies understand the data they have, and put it to use in the most effective way possible. Alongside that are market intelligence initiatives that are often mistaken as insider research conducted by brigades of detectives, infiltrating companies like undercover spies.
Market intelligence is widely misunderstood, used by some, ignored by others, and at times synonymous with a good old-fashioned competitive analysis. Simply put, market intelligence is information gathered for the purpose of making business decisions. But as with Big Data, high volumes of data for data’s sake doesn’t have a lot of value in and of itself; it’s the analysis and interpretation of the information that’s most important.
Understanding a company’s markets, competitors, customers, decision-making cycle, and structure is an undertaking; multiply that by dozens of companies across the globe and it’s a complex ecosystem. Market intelligence is designed to help a company establish footing in a market, or increase its presence to help the company grow. It can be used to identify potential buyers, distributors or partners, keep an eye on the competition, and generate new business opportunities.
So how do you get started if you’re new to the field? Here are 3 easy steps that you can implement to get you on your way:
1. Tap into technology
Algorithms are not just a fad; they are a powerful technological tool that can help monitor key events, trends and criteria. An algorithm in data mining (or machine learning) is a set of heuristics and calculations that creates a model from data. To create a model, the algorithm first analyzes the data you provide, looking for specific types of patterns. In the end, an algorithm can automate complex processes that would be impossible to carry-out manually (unless you have any army at your disposition and an unlimited amount of time). Of course, developing a bespoke application of your own will take a certain level of investment (whether by recruiting in-house developers, or outsourcing your project to a third-party development company), but it can prove to be the most effective way to gain a 360° visibility into your data sets.
2. Combine research with telemarketing outreach
Algorithms and research can help create a great starting block from which to build, but not all information gathered online is accurate. We have found that upwards of 45% of online social media profiles contain outdated information, whether that be in regards to specific accounts or contacts themselves. By tapping into a team of outbound telemarketing experts to verify the data collected, you can go the extra mile (by engaging in a dialogue with key decision-makers) to qualify additional information that cannot be found online, such as: existing software solutions deployed, number of active users, upgrade/refresh cycles.
3. Analyze your findings
As stated above, data for data’s sake is pretty insignificant. It’s the analysis of your audit that will bring you the insight you need in order to make strategic business decisions and benefit from their application. By understanding the information you’ve uncovered and giving it meaning, you should be able to provide recommendations to key management within your organization. By making your data work for you (instead of you working for your data), you can help your business increase efficiency, be more competitive, and grow over time.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to create a market intelligence strategy that works. It may involve a certain degree of science, but it doesn’t have to become NASA either. By tapping into key discovery areas that focus on what’s essential to your business, you can simplify many of your processes related to your data collection and analysis.