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GuidesMarket researchMarket intelligence: A quick guide

Market intelligence: A quick guide

Last updated

22 May 2023


Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Hugh Good

Businesses work with relevant data to ensure they’re making the best decisions. This practice is typically referred to as market intelligence.  

Market intelligence is an increasingly critical strategic initiative for many businesses looking to stay ahead of the competition in the rapidly changing business landscape. 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about market intelligence.

What is market intelligence?

Market intelligence includes the data collection process and using the data for decision-making. 

Companies can collect information from multiple sources, including: 

  • Online research

  • Web analytics

  • Social media interactions

  • Survey responses

  • Focus groups

  • Customer data

  • Employee information

  • Company sales

The company can analyze the collected data with market intelligence tools. Businesses armed with this data can make strategic decisions to forge their path to success. 

What does market intelligence include?

Market intelligence includes every piece of information from a market in which you are active or plan to be. It may consist of the following: 

  • Consumer trends

  • Competitor products

  • Market opportunities

  • Customer preferences

  • Data on potential new products or services

Why is market intelligence important?

Market intelligence gives a company a foundation for its decision-making processes.

It also helps a company anticipate future market trends. Data from the target market could hint at market forces and projection positions, allowing businesses to leverage this information to their advantage.

Market intelligence eliminates risks associated with investing in unprofitable projects. Collecting data on industry trends gives the business a holistic understanding of what works and what doesn’t. 

Market intelligence can also boost the efficiency of marketing efforts. 

Types of market intelligence

The four main types of market intelligence are:

  • Competitor intelligence: Information about the company's competitive environment

  • Product intelligence: Insights on how a product performs in the market

  • Customer understanding: Learning about your target customers' needs, paint points, and experiences when interacting with your product or service

  • Market understanding: Information on market trends, market size, and market share

Market intelligence vs. market research

While market intelligence and research help a company develop marketing strategies, they vary widely. 

Market research involves collecting and analyzing data about a specific target market to understand customer needs and wants. 

Market intelligence is the information an organization derives from the market they are in or want to operate in.

Market intelligence vs. business intelligence

Although people often use market intelligence and business intelligence as interchangeable terms, they are different. 

Business intelligence solely focuses on gathering data across business processes to optimize departmental efficiency. 

On the other hand, market intelligence collects external information about the market.

How do companies use market intelligence? 

Most businesses use market intelligence to analyze these four components:

Competitor intelligence

Key to the success of any business is its ability to stay ahead of the competition. 

Competitor intelligence involves comprehensively understanding the competitive landscape and evaluating tactics. Valuable information from market intelligence can allow a company to analyze a competitor's strengths and weaknesses and leverage them to their advantage. 

Additionally, a holistic view of the competitive environment gives the company insights into customer trends and purchase behaviors. It can optimize this data to meet demands and stay competitive.

Product intelligence

In increasingly competitive landscapes, tailoring user products is crucial to retaining customers and boosting repeat purchases. 

Product intelligence focuses on the performance of a product in the market. Learning how customers use a company's products can inform product development

For example, a company may produce eco-conscious products that prioritize sustainability if it recognizes a market need. 

A company may also use the collected data to adjust marketing campaigns or packaging. 

Market understanding

Gathering data on various markets will help a company identify what performs best. A market understanding also helps companies determine which markets they should venture into. 

Using these insights, a company can identify new areas for growth and develop strategies for expanding into those markets. 

With a proper understanding of the market, a company can craft a roadmap to increase its revenue and a brand message communicating its mission and value propositions. 

Customer understanding

Gathering market intelligence enables a company to understand its customers better. 

For instance, survey responses can reveal customers' buying patterns. 

Customer understanding involves a glimpse of their main challenges when interacting with a brand. Knowing when a customer is dissatisfied allows a company to take proactive retention measures and identify improvement areas. 

How to collect market intelligence 

You can use the following four strategies to collect market intelligence:

1. Your current customers

Customers are resourceful and can give vital feedback necessary for decision-making. Data from customers is highly reliable and accurate. 

In addition, data from your current customers will help you understand their preferences and any areas that need improvement.

2. Surveys

Sending surveys to customers is a valuable approach to gathering data. You can collect surveys online or by mail. Online surveys are economical and receive swift feedback. 

For a larger target audience, consider mail surveys. Sending surveys to a larger group will generate more reliable data. 

3. Website analytics

You can also use web analytics to analyze customer journeys on your website. 

Data from website analytics include: 

  • Page views

  • Conversion rates

  • Paths taken

  • Traffic sources

Using website analytics, a company can: 

  • Personalize the site for repeat customers

  • Identify high-traffic locations

  • Predict which customers are most likely to make purchases

4. An in-house specialist

Large firms have the luxury of being able to hire an in-house specialist who handles market intelligence and provides insightful market information. 

The sole responsibility of the in-house specialist is collecting information on the target market and analyzing the data with market intelligence software. 

They will also study market trends and recommend potential marketing strategies.


What is an example of market intelligence?

An example is data from competitors. This may include their products, services, and expansion strategies for untapped markets. 

What are the components of market intelligence?

The four components of market intelligence are competitor intelligence, product intelligence, customer understanding, and market understanding. 

Is market intelligence the same as customer intelligence?

Market intelligence is different from customer intelligence. 

Customer intelligence focuses on the people making purchase decisions, while market intelligence involves collecting data on the target market. 

Market intelligence provides insights into the target audience, competitive landscape, customer trends, and potential market opportunities. 

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