‍The Complete Guide to Marketing Intelligence

min read
‍The Complete Guide to Marketing Intelligence

Marketing is a function that relies heavily on research for strategizing, decision-making, and goal-setting. And thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and machine learning, it’s becoming easier for businesses and their marketing teams to collect and analyze huge amounts of data at scale to inform those mission-critical activities. 

With a more expansive set of accurate and timely marketing intelligence that can be analyzed and made actionable super fast with help from AI, marketers have an unprecedented opportunity to use data more effectively, and in ways they may not have even considered before.

Introduction to Marketing Intelligence

This post is intended to be a high-level yet comprehensive marketing intelligence guide for businesses and their marketers. It defines what marketing intelligence is, why it is important, and how it works. It also discusses best practices, as well as challenges for implementation. It also touches on the future of marketing intelligence, and what that may look like for your business — and your competitors.   

What Is Marketing Intelligence?

Marketing intelligence refers to all the data that is related to a company’s marketing efforts as well as other relevant information that should be considered when developing effective marketing strategies. Gathering marketing intelligence allows marketers to develop a holistic view of a company’s marketing landscape. The information may include or relate to:

  • Competitor analysis, which includes assessments of the strengths, weaknesses, activities, investments, products and services, and more of current and potential competitors
  • Competitive intelligence, also known as CI, can be tactical (short-term) and strategic (longer term), and is designed to help businesses better understand where they sit in the competitive landscape and what risks, challenges, and opportunities they face
  • Demographics and behaviors related to existing customers and target audiences
  • Economic indicators and domestic and global market trends
  • Market research intelligence, such as from focus groups and customer surveys and questionnaires 
  • Insights from conversation intelligence solutions, which capture the voice of the customer and also help marketers tie conversions to digital campaigns

How Is Marketing Intelligence Different from Business Intelligence?

The simplest way to explain the difference between these two forms of intelligence is that marketing intelligence takes more of an outward view (e.g., competitor analysis, customer preferences) while business intelligence is more internally focused (e.g., financial results, business performance metrics). 

Of course, both data sets can be complementary for decision-making because they provide insights that can help a company differentiate itself in the marketplace and maintain its competitive advantage.

The Importance of Marketing Intelligence

As we’ve established, marketing intelligence, which includes competitive intelligence, is a critical tool for any business that wants to make informed marketing and business decisions. Without comprehensive, accurate, and timely marketing intelligence, companies can miss opportunities and even expose themselves to risk, because they lack relevant insight into their customers, competitors, and markets.

How Does Marketing Intelligence Work?

Marketing intelligence gathering provides actionable data from various sources including the market and products as well as customer and competitor analysis. This data helps to inform the company’s marketing strategy, allowing businesses to make sure their marketing efforts are on track and aligned with their overall business goals. 

4 Key Types of Marketing Intelligence

Now, let’s take a deeper dive into various forms of marketing intelligence research, some of which were already mentioned above. There are four major categories of marketing intelligence research, each with its own focal point. 

1. Market Research Intelligence

This category focuses on a company’s market, and it involves collecting and analyzing data about the target audience for a product or service. The type of data includes customer demographics, such as age, income and geographic location, as well as the behavior, preferences, and needs of target audiences. 

Market research intelligence is typically gathered through customer surveys and focus groups. Businesses can also deploy other research methods in partnership with consultants and other third-party vendors involved in the company’s marketing activities.

2. Customer Intelligence

Customers are a rich source of market intelligence research. Businesses routinely collect information about individual customers, including their purchasing behavior, buying preferences, buying habits, and feedback they provide through surveys or online reviews. All this data can be collated and analyzed as part of a marketing intelligence strategy.

3. Competitor Intelligence

Competitor intelligence is a key part of marketing intelligence. Competitors provide product and pricing information to the public, and this is rich fodder to be collected and utilized in competitive intelligence marketing strategies. Some competitors may also provide competitive intelligence about their marketing strategies and market share through public filings, industry articles, or online (such as on their website). 

4. Product Intelligence

Information about competing products or services — such as key features, quality and pricing — is easy to collect, either from marketing brochures, advertising, or financial data and analysis. Companies can also gather product intelligence from surveys and polls of target audiences, which helps them to understand how their offerings stack up against the competition in the marketplace.

Implementing Marketing Intelligence

Laying the foundation for a strong marketing intelligence program for your organization is straightforward if you follow these five key steps. 

Step 1: Identifying Objectives and Data Sources

Define the marketing objectives you want to achieve, such as increasing sales, improving customer retention, or expanding into new markets. Then, identify the data sources relevant to your objectives, such as customer data, market research reports, competitor information, and industry trends.

Step 2: Choose Data Collection Methods

Select the most appropriate data collection methods, such as surveys, focus groups, customer feedback forms, social media monitoring, web analytics, or market research reports. 

And don’t forget to include phone calls. They’re one of the most valuable sources of data for marketing intelligence because they capture the real voice of the customer. And with AI-powered technology such as Invoca’s conversation intelligence platform, which automatically records, transcribes, and analyzes 100% of calls, marketing teams can access granular data not readily available in other channels.

Step 3: Analyze Data

Use statistical and analytical tools to process and interpret the collected data, identify patterns and trends, and derive insights that can help to inform marketing decisions, from which audiences to target to what types of advertising to buy, where and when.

Use statistical and analytical tools to process and interpret the collected data, identify patterns and trends, and derive insights that can help to inform marketing decisions, from which audiences to target to what types of advertising to buy, where and when.

Step 4: Develop and Implement Recommendations

Implement the recommended marketing strategies, such as developing new products, launching targeted marketing campaigns, or improving customer service.

Step 5: Monitor and Evaluate

Continuously monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing intelligence initiatives to make data-driven decisions — and refine your strategies continuously to keep pace with changing market dynamics, competitor activities, consumer preferences, and more.

Best Practices in Marketing Intelligence

To help ensure success in implementing your marketing intelligence strategy, you’ll want to embrace a few best practices. Start your marketing intelligence journey on the right foot by:

Establishing a Dedicated Team

Set up a dedicated team responsible for collecting, analyzing, and presenting marketing intelligence. The team should have the necessary skills, expertise, and resources to carry out these tasks effectively, including researching competitive intelligence.

Using the Right Tools and Technologies

It’s imperative to use the right tools and technologies to collect, store, and analyze marketing intelligence. For instance, don’t overlook the value of a social media listening solution to track customer sentiment toward your product. Social media is also a valuable source of competitive intelligence for marketing purposes.

Deploying the right technologies from the outset can also help you to make the most of all available data resources for market intelligence research more efficiently and cost-effectively. That includes data from phone calls: Invoca’s conversation intelligence platform uses call tracking of phone interactions with customers to capture actionable data, at scale, including insights that help to inform customer, product, and competitor intelligence.

Promoting Collaboration and Communication

Collaboration and communication across teams, including marketing, sales, and customer service, are essential activities to ensure that the insights gained from your market intelligence research are used effectively and consistently across the organization.

3 Challenges in Marketing Intelligence

Like anything that’s worth doing, and worth doing well, there are some challenges to overcome in implementing a successful marketing intelligence research strategy. Here’s a look at three common challenges that you can meet head-on with appropriate planning.

Challenge 1: Data Quality and Integration

Whether you want to use product intelligence or competitive intelligence in marketing intelligence research, or any other type of data, the saying “Garbage in, garbage out” applies to your data analysis. 

You’ll need to scrub data rigorously before analysis so it is free of duplicates and irrelevancies. But before you can even do that, you’ll need to bring together multiple data sources and data sets into one central location, or a repository. As this article explains, data integration is a crucial element in data management and essential to the prep work necessary for effective data analysis.

Challenge 2: Data Privacy and Security

Data privacy is a major consideration for global businesses that want to use customer data to inform their marketing strategies. Collecting and analyzing customer data must be conducted ethically and in compliance with the many and varied national and international data privacy and security regulations in place today. If a business runs afoul of any required regulations, it can be an expensive mistake.

Challenge 3: Cost and Time Constraints

Collecting, analyzing, and reporting on marketing intelligence can be resource-intensive, and it’s an especially onerous task for small businesses with limited resources. However, there are marketing intelligence tools that can help lighten the load, including relatively inexpensive cloud-based solutions.

Future Trends in Marketing Intelligence

Increasingly, marketing intelligence is moving to the cloud and powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies. These changes can speed up data collection and analysis and tie up fewer company resources, which can save time and reduce costs.

AI and Machine Learning

AI already offers many benefits to marketers, and one of the most important for marketing intelligence research is the ability to collect and analyze data at scale. Algorithms can manipulate data far faster than traditional software or humans. And, like humans (but unlike software), algorithms can continually improve their understanding of data through machine learning. 

Take Invoca’s AI-powered conversation intelligence platform as an example. It has transformed the process of tracking and recording phone conversations with customers. Before AI, marketers typically didn’t have visibility into the conversations that their campaigns were generating, and were unable to tap into the voice of the customer.

Using Invoca, marketing teams can automatically record 100% of customer calls, providing a much more robust and useful data set for analysis. Invoca’s AI can also transcribe call recordings in real time, providing an immediate text version that algorithms can search for keywords, such as “competitor” or “product,” and add relevant data to marketing intelligence in the cloud so that it is accessible to the entire marketing team and business leadership.  

Behavioral Analytics

Another area that will loom large in importance for marketing intelligence research in the future is behavioral analytics. With this analytics process, you are anlayzing not what your customers say, but what they do. This discipline supplements — and can validate or refute — data gleaned from other intelligence such as customer surveys and reviews. 

Behavioral analytics uses AI and cookies to track what customers actually do when they are online or using apps. It detects when products are left in shopping carts, what pages customers view on websites, why they canceled a subscription, or when they made a purchase. Behavioral analytics can also offer a deeper level of understanding of your customers’ behavior.    

Privacy and Data Security

Regulations relating to data collection, storage, and use are in a state of constant flux. It’s important for marketing teams engaged in a marketing intelligence strategy to keep up to date with changes in national and international data privacy and data security regulations.

There are various resources available for marketers to monitor international regulations such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and privacy laws adopted in several U.S. states.

Unlock Your Marketing Potential with Invoca

Marketing intelligence research is most useful when conducted at scale, and that is far easier to accomplish when you have robust tools and the latest technologies supporting your efforts. 

Technologies such as Invoca’s conversation intelligence platform can deliver granular data based on the voice of the customer to help guide your marketing strategies. Invoca’s automated call tracking, recording, transcribing, and analysis gives marketers access to a tremendous haul of data derived from every call made to the business’s contact center or store locations.

How Invoca Signal AI conversational analytics works.

When conversation intelligence is combined with data gleaned from other sources, such as digital interactions or competitive intelligence, marketing teams can tap into a wealth of marketing intelligence research to help them build winning market strategies that will engage their target audiences.

Hopefully, this marketing intelligence guide has been a good starting point for learning about what market intelligence research is and why it’s valuable. To enhance your knowledge further, be sure to check out our guide to conversation intelligence

Additional Reading

Want to learn more about how Invoca can help your marketing team capture valuable marketing intelligence data? Check out these resources:

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