Definition: Market Intelligence System is an array of procedures and sources that the management uses to gain knowledge pertaining to the happenings in the marketing environment. In short, it focuses on the systematic collection and processing of information from all the relevant sources to ascertain the changing trends in the marketing environment.
In this system, once the marketer gathers data from all the available sources, he processes it into meaningful information. After that, the manager uses this information to make critical business decisions. Also, it helps in the formulation of strategies to survive changes in the market. It depicts a broad picture of the company’s existing market.
In other words, it provides the managers with the happening data. That is to say; it gives knowledge about external happenings or the external environment.
What is Market Intelligence?
Market Intelligence refers to the information which the organization fetches from different sources within the market it operates in or looks forward to catering. This information is useful to the company’s market trends, competitors and customers. It acts as a guide for the team’s decisions.
This gives them an edge over competitors, informs them about the target audience, and evaluates insights into their various products.
Methods of Market Intelligence System
- Reading Newspaper, Books, Magazines and Trade Journals.
- Watching TV, Listening Radio, Checking Internet Sources.
- Interacting with customers, clients, dealers, distributors, suppliers, employees, etc.
- Buying relevant information from different professional sources.
- Assigning the task of marketing intelligence to professional agencies.
- Considering reviews on social media platforms, chats and forums.
Difference Between Market Intelligence and Marketing Intelligence
Market Intelligence is a wider concept than Marketing Intelligence (MI). This is because there are many factors, especially public ones, which are present in the market.
Marketing Intelligence System is among the subsystem of the Market Information System or MIS. It provides information about the external environment.
Steps for Implementing Market Intelligence System
Training and Motivation Programs for Sales Force
Several training modules are conducted to encourage the sales force. They are the ones who are in direct touch with ultimate customers. And so they can collect all the relevant information about the product along with the customer’s experience of using it.
One way to gain market intelligence is to motivate the salesforce to provide valuable feedback and suggestions. Moreover, they can also provide insights into the opportunities prevailing in the market. The management can use these insights in actionable plans.
Encouraging Distributors and Retailers to seek Market Intelligence
Companies can appoint a specialist to visit their own stores and showrooms. This specialist checks the customer experience with the product and services. Then they report the same to management.
Retailers or service provider sends their own men as mystery guest to play the role of a customer. They check the product or service quality and the effectiveness of employees in handling customer queries.
Keeping a check on the Competitors
For attaining sustenance in the market, companies keep an eye on the moves and actions of their competitors. Here, the internet acts as a major tool, as it has complete information about competitors:
- Range of Product or Services
- Customer Feedback
The company can avail of this data from the competitor’s website or applications. After that, they can use this data for a comparative study.
Companies can get information about the competitor’s activities from various parties. These parties can be suppliers, distributors, channel partners, dealers and so on. They are present in the market for a very long period and know the whereabouts of each player.
Setting up Customer Suggestion Panel
Using internal marketing intelligence, firms prepare a list of customers who often buy the products. Of these customers, they set up a panel. The panel provides expert advice to new customers about the product and its benefits.
This method is useful because people rely greatly on others’ experiences and try the product afterwards. You can find this in schools and colleges. They create a community of alumni who share their experiences on the quality of teaching. Also, they provide advice on the courses to opt-in to a particular educational institute.
Taking advantage of Government Data Resources
It is one of the most reliable means to gain market intelligence. Companies can use data from the population census. It gives information about the population density, trends, demographic characteristics and so forth. Further, the company can use this data to make judicious market plans.
Government bodies release data from time to time on:
- Literacy level
- Agricultural production and prices set by the government
This helps in gaining intelligence on the prevalent market trends.
Purchasing information from Outside Suppliers
Firms can also buy information from research agencies. These agencies specialities in the field of market research. After that, they can prepare reports about the other market players or rival firms.
The agencies give information about the competitor’s products and services. This information is very helpful in designing market plans.
Using Customer Feedback
The most common and easily available way to gain market intelligence is customer feedback. Customers usually write their reviews on various platforms about the products they have used. These platforms include:
- Social media platforms,
- E-commerce websites or
- Company’s own app or website.
Also companies can also take the feedback in person. They can do so by asking the customers to fill up a form after they have availed of the services. It is generally used in restaurants and salons. Its reliability is more as the customer writes the review/feedback himself.
Market Intelligence Sources
- Employees: About 70 to 80 per cent of intelligence can be gained with the help of employees. This is because they are the ones who deal with the suppliers, distributors and customers.
- Internet: With emerging digitalization, the internet has become the main source of collecting information. Companies can get information about:
Changes in government policy
- Printed Publications: Newspapers, magazines and trade publications also give updates about the recent changes in technology and new entrants. It also gives information about trade fairs, cultural and political events, etc.
- Intermediaries: The company can also get information from different parties it deals with. This may cover distributors, retailers and suppliers who have information on current developments.
- Industrial events: Trade fairs, union meetings and conferences also give information on the moves of the rivals. Trade shows are in itself an effective source of market intelligence.
- Research Companies: As said earlier, research companies provide ready-made data on various aspects of the market. Companies can buy and use this data for their own purpose like advertising, media usage, etc.
Once the data is collected from all possible sources, it is condensed into meaningful information. Then the company’s management uses it to design the marketing strategies.
A word from Business Jargons
Effective Market Intelligence helps the managers to take prompt actions such as:
- Reacting to competitors,
- Meeting the changing needs of the customers,
- Resolving the issues of suppliers and dealers.
The more information about the market environment is gathered, the more accurate business decision will be and will enhance the efficiency of business operations.