INTRODUCTION Market Intelligence (MI), can be defined as “the process of acquiring and analyzing information in order to understand the market (both existing and potential customers); to determine the current and future needs and preferences, attitudes and behavior of the market; and to assess changes in the business environment that may affect the size and nature of the market in the future.” In other words market intelligence is the information, gathered and analyzed specifically for the purpose of accurate and confident decision making for determining market opportunity, market penetration strategy, and market development metrics.
There is an urgent need for making available market intelligence services to boost the trade and increase the participation of all importing and exporting organizations or firms in India and also other countries which require support about latest developments in trade. Thus these services are likely to bring more awareness among exporters and importers all over. Market intelligence plays a vital role in marketing of agricultural produce. If the information on commodity prices prevailing in various markets is made available, the farmers would be able to get better price for their produce by moving their produce to the market which pays higher price.
To provide market and customer orientation Identification of new opportunities To identify new trends in markets and competitors Early warning of competitor moves to enable counter measures Minimizing investment risks, to detect threats and early market trends To provide better customer interaction and to give intensified customer market view Information for better market selection & positioning and to understand and discover untapped or under-served potential To give quicker, more efficient and cost-effective information in order to avoid duplication of report acquisitions and expensive consultant work
It has been observed that despite India being second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, its share in world exports is very low. India is also lacking in appropriate technology and infrastructure which are very essential for further
enhancement in exports. Also exporters have to be made aware about quality standards, tariff duties, non-tariff protocols, global export opportunities and trends for strategic and timely entry into global markets. In view of above, Govt. of India Ministry of Agriculture (Trade Division) sanctioned a project to NAFED entitled “Market Intelligence study of some selected crops having export potential” with a view to have in depth position of export opportunities. The crops selected for the study were mango, grapes, pomegranate, litchi, pineapple, banana and aonla ( Emblica officinalis) among fruits; tomato, green chillies, okra and onion among vegetables; ginger and turmeric among spices; and sesame, soyameal and cotton among commercial crops and products. The main aim of this study was to establish a National Database for various horticultural crops, which have export potential for export to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), European Union (EU), Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia , South Korea , China , Japan , etc. In addition to this, the report provides compilation on quality standards, permissible residue limits for various pesticides and fungicides in crops being studied, information on packing requirements, present export trends, competing countries, opportunities existing for exports, present strengths, availability of infrastructure etc. This information will help in promoting export in the countries / markets of GCC, EU, ASEAN, Australia , etc.
For benefit of users to access information on every aspect of the Market Intelligence of various crops whether it is crop specific or country specific, an URL www.marketagri.com has been created. The website so created is dynamic, so that updation with respect to various crops and countries can be done on regular basis. Further, efforts have been made to make website user friendly with a view to provide users all information i.e. crop or country specific at one place. Besides, appropriate linkages have been provided to facilitate the user to access additional information from Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India, Ministry of Agriculture (Department of Agriculture and Cooperation), Govt. of India, Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), Agricultural Marketing Information Network (AGMARK), Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB), etc.
In our continued series of blogs written to help clearly distinguish between the various types of intelligence we've addressed Business Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence, and Market Intelligence. In this post we'll focus Marketing Intelligence (MI), which like the others, is also often confused. But first to a general definition: On Wikipedia MI is referred to as “the information relevant to a company’s markets, gathered and analyzed specifically for the purpose of accurate and confident decision-making in determining market opportunity, market penetration strategy, and market development metrics. MI is necessary when entering a foreign market. Marketing Intelligence determines the intelligence needed, collects it by searching environment and delivers it to marketing managers who need it.” Marketing Intelligence is not the same as Market Intelligence (MARKINT), which we wrote about in our previous post. Hence, Marketing Intelligence professionals often research information and use tools that take data from disparate data sources like web analytics, Business Intelligence, call center and sales data, which often arrive in separate reports. It's the role of Marketing Intelligence to put this data into a single environment. For these reasons, it is often mistakenly perceived to be (or be part of) Business Intelligence. It is also sometimes mistakenly perceived to be (or be part of) Competitive Intelligence because organizationally, Marketing Intelligence can be the name of the department that performs both the market intelligence and competitor analysis roles. There are many ways to implement data management and competitive intelligence software to a company's department functions. To learn how to minimize uncertainty with competitive intelligence technology, please download our latest white paper: How to Maximize Awareness and Minimize Uncertainty with clearCi. What do you think? How is MI/CI/CMI/BI organized at your company? Tags: competitive intelligence, planning & direction, market insights, market research, information collection, resources, definitions, market intelligence, business intelligence
Generating Useful Market Intelligence for Marketing and Sales
Strategic market intelligence can reap rich profits for companies that seek to understand their corporate customers’ needs and businesses better. From purchase driver mapping to sales gaps analysis, the ability to support and even boost revenue generation through strategic customer and competitor intelligence is critical for market intelligence teams. Here are some tips on how to plan and develop market intelligence that will be highly valued by marketing and sales teams.
There are four areas that market intelligence teams will need to make key decisions on, which will affect how effective their marketing and sales intelligence systems will eventually be. Choosing between the variables can make a critical difference to the team’s success or failure.
1. Choosing between strategic and tactical market intelligence
One of the most difficult tasks market intelligence leaders face when designing internal market intelligence objectives, roles, output and performance indicators, is striking the right balance between strategic and tactical market intelligence. Should more resources be invested in strategic brand management intelligence or pricing intelligence? Should the team focus on sizing the market or monitoring promotions? The balance depends on a number of factors:
CEO and management mindset. Management focus on short-term profits or long-term development will dictate the market intelligence that needs to be presented. Planning cycles. Shorter planning cycles tend to lead to a more tactical approach to market intelligence. The nature of the competition. Market intelligence tends to be more tactical in heavily competed markets where price or competitive bidding is under pressure. Business or consumer markets. In B2C markets, market intelligence tends to be more tactical. Corporate or local. If the main focus is on supporting corporate level management, market intelligence will tend to be more strategic in nature. A tactical approach is more appropriate for local sites. Marketing or sales. Market intelligence in support of marketing is typically more strategic.
One could also argue that generating revenues though more tactical market intelligence will allow organizations to justify the existence and value of their market intelligence programs. This typically leads to further funding through clear ROI to build more strategic contributions.
2. Choosing the methodologies that best suit the organization
There are multiple market intelligence techniques and methods; some will help you defend your customer proposals while others will help you attack and fend off your competitors’ sales tactics. Which one you use will depend largely on the nature of your business, your internal sales processes and the pain points therein. Ultimately, the key to success will be in understanding your customers better than your competitors’ as well as understanding your key competitors’ mindset, strategy and tactics. To achieve this, you can choose to use:
Voice of the customer (VOC). VOC can be a significant source of customer understanding that in turn, helps build trusted relationships with corporate clients. Creativity in building competitor profiles. For example, you can investigate the long term financial strength and sustainability of your competitors and use that to your advantage. Market penetration analysis. Try identifying segments that your competitors are focusing on and which you are not, and investigate why. Strict account planning. It helps to aggregate account level intelligence, identify account intelligence gaps and include positive and negative feedback on competitive products in the analysis. Win-loss analysis. This is an extremely important tool in strengthening your sales strategy for the future. Role-play or war gaming. This is useful in understanding your competitors’ mindsets. Marketing mix analysis. This is exceptionally useful in reviewing the competition at the product or offering level. Competitor channel or value chain analysis. Use the analysis to understand the mindset of your customers’ customers or your competitors’ margins. Propensity models. Such models help you assess customer churn rates and to take corrective action in time.
Knowing which is the right methodology for your organization requires an understanding of the pain points within marketing and sales. It also helps to brainstorm with your colleagues in the sales department on what they think are the winning factors of your company’s value proposition.
3. Choosing the tools that will make the output user friendly
A critical part of supporting a company’s marketing and sales efforts effectively is in providing market intelligence deliverables that are quick to access and quick to digest; in short, clear and filtered formats. Ideally, only one tool should to be used to provide market intelligence to the sales team. Otherwise, multiple internal systems should be integrated to create a perception of having one tool or access point. For example, customer relationship management tools and market intelligence deliverables can be made available through one access point. Technology tools alone will not solve all the challenges for market intelligence. Building accessible and easy-to-use tools however, can provide a competitive advantage to your sales organization, as long as feedback is directly and continuously gathered from the sales front.
4. Choosing the method/s to recruit and motivate internally
Critical market intelligence typically already exists within an organization, through the collective experience and observations of a company’s sales force. A company with an active intelligence culture can go a long way in the receipt and utilization of field intelligence. This however, requires continuous internal marketing. So one of the most important success factors for market intelligence is the ability to build strong relations with the sales force. You can do this if you can:
First align your market intelligence efforts with the company’s sales targets and customer relationship management objectives. Assess your sales process and identify pain points where better intelligence can make a difference. Use the right incentives and motivational factors for those in the field to start contributing intelligence and insights. Set up intelligence collection and sharing processes and tools that are both accessible and easy to use. Generate deliverables that give sales teams the critical information that will help them ‘seal the deal’. Demonstrate tangible benefits to the sales effort through insightful, timing and value-generating market intelligence. Celebrate and recognize success stories based on contributions from the field.
In addition, it is useful to identify other groups, such as legal, customer support, research and development or engineering, that are in position to provide field signals.
Market intelligence versus marketing research
Editor’s note: Ed Crowley is worldwide printer marketing manager for Lexmark International, a Lexington, Ky.-based printer manufacturer.
Many companies use the term “market intelligence” interchangeably with the term marketing research. A search of the Internet using the term market intelligence clearly demonstrates this trend, with the search returning page after page of marketing research companies advertising their market intelligence capabilities. So is market intelligence the same thing as market research? Absolutely not! Market research is a well-defined discipline with a long history of application in the business world. It takes many different forms, and its ultimate goal is
to enhance a firm’s understanding of the market and customer, but it is not market intelligence. Market intelligence is a much broader term that can be defined as an ongoing, holistic knowledge of all aspects of the marketplace. One way to visualize market intelligence is to picture a pyramid. Each face of the pyramid represents an aspect of market intelligence. The three faces of the pyramid are information, communication, and people/processes. Each of these faces is built upon a foundation of basic capabilities, with movement “up” the face of the pyramid representing increasing capabilities and proficiency. Market intelligence is the culmination of each of these areas at their highest levels.
The differences between marketing research and market intelligence are as follows:
Market intelligence is all-encompassing. Data gathering is just one aspect of market intelligence. It is a key building block for the information face of the pyramid, but it is not the only building block. Market intelligence analysis requires different skills versus marketing research. Market intelligence analysis requires a broad set of analytical skills including business analysis skills. It requires integrating a broad array of information, which extends beyond traditional marketing research data. The analyst must understand the market, key competitors, the financial dynamics of the industry, and the entire business value chain. Often, the best market intelligence analysts have a financial or product
management background, whereas many of the best marketing research analysts come from behavioral science or mathematical backgrounds. Market intelligence requires integration with all aspects of the business. Whereas marketing research is highly focused on customers, market analysis encompasses the entire view of the market and requires integration into the companies forecasting process, product development process, and other business systems.
The best way to discuss the difference between marketing research and market intelligence is to focus upon each face of the market intelligence pyramid. The information face of the market intelligence pyramid is built upon a foundation consisting of four basic areas: competitor information, product information, market information and customer information. This is depicted in Figure 2.
Product information refers to an understanding of the products in the marketplace, how they are priced, and what tactical marketing activities (promotions, advertising, etc.) are being used with these products. Competitor information refers to the understanding of competitors’ strategies, organizational structure, product investment portfolio, and future product plans. Market information encompasses a view of the market at a macro level including the current market size, market segments, market share trends, and the forecasted growth of the market and the respective market segments. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, customer information (the traditional focus of market research) involves fully understanding the customer preferences, drivers of customer behavior, brand loyalty, satisfaction rates and any other customer views that impact their behavior in relation to your firm’s products or services. It is important
to note that each of these areas of knowledge can be a unique discipline in and of itself. However, the real power of the information lies in combining all of these areas to create a complete view of the market, the market intelligence view (Figure 3).
Market intelligence yields an ongoing and comprehensive understanding of the market. Each of the four knowledge areas - competitor intelligence, product intelligence, market understanding, customer insight - interacts to form a complete understanding of the market. Each competitor’s strategies will impact their product actions, the overall trends of market growth and segment interaction will impact the strategies, and underlying all of this, the customer’s behaviors and attitudes will ultimately drive the market dynamics in terms of growth rates and product acceptance. This integration of all four
knowledge areas is the ultimate deliverable for market intelligence. Marketing research is a critical and significant source of information. However, it does not encompass all of the information areas which are covered by market intelligence. The scope of information covered is one of the key differences between marketing research and market intelligence. When examining the communication face of the market intelligence pyramid, the most important difference between market intelligence and marketing research is that good market intelligence involves a dialogue between the market intelligence analyst and the client/decision maker. Conversely, marketing research provides an assessment of a specific issue, or measures a specific market dynamic. While it clearly involves communication with the client/decision maker, it typically consists of limited interaction versus the full dialogue of market intelligence. The third and final face of the pyramid deals with people and processes. This can be the most defining difference between marketing research and market intelligence. By its very nature market intelligence is a process. One which constantly captures information from many difference sources, assesses it, and then uses the information during the ongoing business decision-making process. Marketing research is typically focused on answering specific questions, or tracking specific issues. While it can benefit from good processes, it is a finite “task” (or series of tasks). Market intelligence is a process, an ongoing interactive process. This process should be a closed-loop system with a feedback cycle from the executives to the market intelligence team. The executive’s feedback will guide the market intelligence team in future analyses by providing insight into the key issues the executives are facing. At the same time, the market intelligence teams are constantly capturing, monitoring, and synthesizing information that will ensure that the executive team is not surprised by market developments or competitive actions. In his book Business as War, Kenneth Allard makes a parallel between the business environment and the intense and ever-changing environment associated with a battlefield. In this battlefield environment the intelligence on your enemy’s activities is vital to winning, and it must constantly be monitored and updated due to the fluid nature of the battlefield. Obviously, the stakes are lower in business versus war. We are not fighting for our lives like the brave soldiers in the field of battle.
However, we are fighting for territory (market share and customers) against multiple enemies, all of whom have strategies focused on taking territory from our firms. Building a solid market intelligence system is vital to having the information necessary to compete and win in your business battleground. If your firm’s focus is only on marketing research, your view of the battlefield is limited and potentially threatens your position in the market. So what about all of these companies listed under the heading of “market intelligence” in our Web search? A quick examination of these companies’ Web pages reveals that most are offering a traditional set of marketing research survey services, as opposed to complete market intelligence services. While market intelligence is an oft-promised capability, frequently companies are simply delivering traditional marketing research services. So how does one develop a true market intelligence capability? It would take much more than the space in this article to address this question. At a very high level, it involves:
Having a vision for your market intelligence function. Do you want it to be world-class? What do you want your market intelligence function to excel in? How would you define success for your market intelligence team? Obtaining buy-in from your market intelligence team for your vision. This requires a clear articulation of what you are trying to accomplish, providing the team the opportunity to talk about the vision and to actually impact what the final vision is. Working as a team to craft a mission statement that clearly articulates the vision. Mapping your vision to a set of core competencies required to fulfill your vision. Identify the competencies that are unique and which represent significant added value by your team. Perform an audit of your market intelligence function in order to ensure your vision maps to your client’s needs, and to identify gaps between your market intelligence vision and your team’s current capabilities and deliverables. Build a plan to address and fill in the gaps, keeping in mind that this doesn’t happen overnight - it can easily be a two-to-three-year process. Increasing the focus on building your core market intelligence competencies by outsourcing those elements (i.e., competitive product cost tear-downs, etc.) which are not essential to the core. A great example of this is to utilize outside vendors and information distribution technologies to outsource the collection, summary and dissemination of market news data (competitor price changes, promotional activities, etc.). Another example is to use outside marketing research vendors for all noncore aspects of marketing research projects (including sourcing, fielding,
project management, and basic statistical and crosstabular analysis). Then your analysts can focus on structuring the initial research project based on their understanding of the business need, and then identifying what the research results mean in the context of the business issues and decisions at hand. Creating a process that bridges functional groups to capture information from many different business areas to provide the information foundation for a complete market intelligence picture. Ensuring the market intelligence staff has a consulting versus a project management focus (which of course, has implications for the skill sets of your market intelligence staff). This includes measuring the results of decisions made based upon your market intelligence and then fine-tuning future work in order to drive better results. Obtaining the mandate of and access to your executive team in order to integrate the results of market intelligence analysis into the business decision-making process, and to capture the feedback, which will drive future market intelligence inquiries and analysis.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. However, with the rigorous application of market intelligence discipline, techniques and principles, you can create a true market intelligence organization that will not only be an integral part of your business decision-making process, but which will also play a key role in shaping your firm’s strategic direction.