What is marketing intelligence?
Marketing intelligence refers to the process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting data so a business can make informed decisions about their marketing strategies. To do this, data is collected from both internal and external sources, ranging from customer surveys and sales records, to market research and competitor analysis. The goal of marketing intelligence is to identify trends and gain insights that help marketers and business owners analyze their campaigns and effectively optimize them. It can also be used to calculate marketing ROI.
5 types of marketing intelligence
There are several types of marketing intelligence that can be collected and analyzed in order to inform a business’s marketing plan. These include:
1. Customer insights
This form of marketing intelligence focuses on understanding customer needs and buying habits. It includes user surveys, questionnaires, focus groups and interviews. Finding customer insights also involves buzz monitoring and social media listening.
2. Competitor analysis
Understanding what your competitors do is key in marketing intelligence. This includes tracking competitor marketing efforts, such as recent campaigns, current product offerings and marketing content, on top of analyzing customer feedback.
3. Industry analysis
Keeping up with industry trends and changes is essential. This includes studying the competitive landscape, conducting market research on consumer spending habits, and listening to what customers say about your industry online.
4. Digital analytics
Marketing intelligence includes using analytics to measure marketing performance and customer engagement when you run campaigns. From tracking website visitor behavior to understanding customer journeys and measuring ROI—there are many leading tools for this purpose, one of the most popular is Google Analytics.
5. Social media intelligence
Monitoring a brand’s social media channels can provide them with invaluable marketing insights. This type of marketing intelligence includes analyzing content performance, understanding customer sentiment and staying in-the-know of consumer trends on these platforms.
Best sources of marketing intelligence
To gain marketing intelligence insights, brands have many marketing channels for collecting, viewing and analyzing data. Some of the most popular and effective include:
Surveys: Surveys are a great way to gather detailed customer feedback and insights about your brand’s products, services or marketing campaigns.
Social media: Monitoring social media channels through social listening provides an understanding of customer sentiment, content performance and consumer trends. This intelligence can also be found with the aid of machine learning and natural language processing tools.
Customer support: Analyzing customer support inquiries can lead to valuable data such as understanding your audience’s pain points. Popular customer requests will also inform product improvements and new opportunities, as well as highlighting fresh ways to market.
Market research: Conducting market research using focus groups and interviews allows brands to learn more about their customer’s needs. It’s also a chance to uncover market trends and see how competitors in your industry respond to them.
Sales data: Sales data includes analyzing purchase patterns and understanding consumer behaviors. This can be looked at over short or long term periods of time and often takes seasonality into account.
Website analytics: Gathering website analytics is a great way to track visitor behavior, understand customer journeys and measure ROI. This helps businesses understand how online users interact with their brand through various platforms, such as a website.
Competitor analysis: Understanding how competitors run their marketing efforts and why customers prefer their brand can give you key marketing intelligence for developing your own strategy. From marketing campaigns and messaging, to pricing and new products—competitor analysis can result in more effective strategies on and offline.
Market intelligence vs market research
Marketing intelligence is the process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting marketing data to make informed marketing decisions overall. Market research, on the other hand, is the practice of using trends or customer insights in order to better understand your target audience’s preferences. While marketing intelligence relies heavily on data-driven insights from internal and external sources, market research focuses on direct customer feedback.
In a nutshell, marketing intelligence and market research are two distinct practices that work together to provide businesses with insights into their competitive landscape. Both are essential tools in strategic marketing development, since they provide valuable data-driven insights that help brands make better marketing decisions.
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Why is marketing intelligence important?
Marketing intelligence is a way for businesses to understand how effective their marketing strategy is and how it can be improved moving forward. In some cases it may lead a marketing team to pause and pivot a campaign, or even shift to a completely new approach.
Here are some of the main reasons why marketing intelligence is so important to growing a business:
Knowing more about a competitor’s marketing strategy can inspire brands to think of how to improve their own. There’s no bigger drive for creating a successful marketing campaign than seeing a healthy competitor getting theirs right.
Nothing improves marketing campaigns better than data-driven decisions. Based on the collection and analysis of marketing teams, real-time insights allow marketers and brands to re-optimize their content so it performs better against competitors.
The more details marketers and brands can gain from market intelligence, the more targeted their campaigns will be, leading to an increase in ROI.
Identify pain points
The use of customer surveys and other marketing intelligence methods enables marketers to better understand customer pain points. Once these are identified, brands can push marketing campaigns that resonate with those user needs.
Market intelligence can be a great source of insights and ideas for new products and features. These can come from customer pain points and feedback, or other competitor research.